General Motors Styling 1927-1958: Genesis of the World's Largest Design Studios

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9780970919519: General Motors Styling 1927-1958: Genesis of the World's Largest Design Studios
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GM Styling 1927-1958 walks through the "Harley Earl era" of automotive styling, with research and interviews that extend beyond Olds, Pontiac, Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac, and into the dream cars and Motoramas of the '50s. Behind studio doors readers learn about the politics and inner workings of Earl's Art & Colour Section--later to become GM Styling--and how the diverse melting pot of talent orchestrated standard-setting products and techniques. The group of men and women would become the model for automotive design from that day forward. More than 30 full-color artist renderings are revealed, some for the first time to the public, from the drafting tables of the stylists. Telling historical photography also complements the story of the personalities and their milestone cars, including: the 1927 LaSalle where it all began; the 1938 Buick Y-Job that sparked a line of dream cars; Bill Mitchell's first major contribution, the 1938 Cadillac 60 Special; the 1953 Corvette; and other dream cars including the 1951 Buick Le Sabre, the 1955 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, and Firebirds I, II and III. An in-depth chapter on the birth of the Tech Center, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006, covers its conception and construction, much of it gleaned from the talented Earl and his stylists. The story of Harley Earl has been told before. So has the history of GM and most of its cars. But this book takes readers inside the studios as if stepping back in time and in the thick of the highly competitive and electrifyingly creative hub of American car design at its zenith.

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About the Author:

Tracy Powell has won numerous awards for his writing and editing. As managing editor of the venerable Automobile Quarterly, his work has included project leads on books including Buick: A Complete History; Cadillac: Standard of the World; AFAS: A Celebration of Automotive Art; and SSR: An American Original. He received his bachelor's in Journalism from Indiana University, and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Society of Automotive Historians.

Review:

"Tracy Powell does a wonderful job of capturing those heady, early days of the GM Art & Colour [and Styling] Section. Harley Earl's Art & Colour Section was not just significant to General Motors, but to the entire auto business, for it was there that these skillful men established the industry's first true in-house design studio and it became an incubator for future design talent. ... Those were no doubt exciting times for those young designers and engineers and Tracy Powell, through his research and storytelling, allows us the chance to share in that excitement." --Jeffrey Leestma, President, Automotive Hall of Fame

"I love your book. It's wonderful to have the whole story in one volume. And your anecdotal approach is super ... both enlightening and fun to read." --Beverly Rae Kimes, noted automotive historian and author

"As Tracy Powell has so eloquently shown us, the early years of the Harley Earl era were years of building: building credibility, building confidence, building an organization, and perhaps most important of all, building a remarkable assemblage of design talent. It is doubtful that the Pharaoh's workshops could boast the equal of the amazing creative engine that Mistearl succeeded in setting in motion. This book has chronicled the development of that powerhouse and touched on the early career of Earl s successor, William L. (Bill) Mitchell." --Bill Porter, retired senior GM designer

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Tracy Powell
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