Harley Earl - GM Designer Extraordinaire
Harley Earl, the larger than life, first head of styling for a major automobile manufacturer gave the world the joy of excess in color, chrome and steel. Recruited by GM in the late 20s to transform its drab autos and make them stand out from the offerings of its competitors, Earl transformed the industry and the American psyche. He invented the annual model change over, the concept car and put swagger and some Hollywood panache into a staid industry. While its hard to defend his buoyant designs as fine art, he captured the imagination of millions worldwide, especially in Post WWII America, who embraced the outlandish vehicles as proof that there will be a big and better tomorrow. He knew how to create and sell dreams. Which is what he learned from his neighbor, C. B. DeMille. S079
Mako Shark Corvette Concept Car
The Mako Shark was GM VP of Design, Bill Mitchell's vision for the follow up to the Corvette Stingray. Legend has it he was inspired by sharks he'd caught in the Bahamas. The design cues for this car can be seen in Corvettes that rolled out starting in 1968 model year.
GM Motorama-- 1954
GM tapped into the Post War worlds pent up demand for automobiles with lavish displays of its new cars and styling exercises its head of design dubbed Dream Cars. To get the public excited about its vehicles, GM took over New Yorks Waldorf Astoria and staged the Motoramas, a three-ring automotive circus complete with chorus lines, musical numbers, dazzling lights and over the top cars. These were not to miss events. But by 1956 a new dazzler had captured the publics imagination TV and the Motoramas faded away. The film ends with a note of irony, when the narrators states the reason GM is putting on this show is to insure the public of its, intentions to keep on being in the lead. Were all waiting to see how that worked out.
Aerovette -- Corvette Show Car
One of the most beautiful concept cars created by GM was the XP-822 later called the Aerovette. It sprang from the minds of famed GM engineer and race car driver Zora Arkus Duntov and his engineers who originally built two predecessors during 1969. John DeLorean, Chevrolet's general manager, felt the program was impractical and too expensive and canceled the car. But when he heard Fords plans to sell the DeTomaso Pantera through Lincoln-Mercury dealers, DeLorean ordered one XP-882 cleaned up for display at the 1970 New York Auto Show. Its designer, Charles Jordan, would later become the VP of design went to work on a new version for the 1973 Paris motor show. This time an XP-882 chassis was powered by an experimental four-rotor Wankel engine. The rotary engines looked promising but their poor fuel economy didnt bode well with an impending oil crisis on the horizon. The car would go through several more iterations before being put out to pasture.