1893 : Harley Earl, American Automobile Designer and Executive, Born

When:
November 22, 2020 all-day
2020-11-22T00:00:00-05:00
2020-11-23T00:00:00-05:00

12-april 10-harley earl

General Motors designer Harley Earl sits inside the Buick Y-Job, the industry’s first concept car.

Harley J. Earl (November 22, 1893 – April 10, 1969) was an American automotive designer and business executive. He was the initial designated head of design at General Motors, later becoming vice president, the first top executive ever appointed in design of a major corporation in American history. He was an industrial designer and a pioneer of modern transportation design. A coachbuilder by trade, Earl pioneered the use of freeform sketching and hand sculpted clay models as automotive design techniques. He subsequently introduced the “concept car” as both a tool for the design process and a clever marketing device.

Earl’s Buick Y-Job was the first concept car. He started “Project Opel”, which eventually became the Chevrolet Corvette, and he authorized the introduction of the tailfin to automotive styling. During World War II, he was an active contributor to the Allies’ research and development program in advancing the effectiveness of camouflage.

He is also remembered as the first styling chief in the United States automobile industry, the originator of clay modeling of automotive designs, the wraparound windshield, the hardtop sedan, and factory two-tone paint, and tailfins. He said in 1954, “My primary purpose for twenty-eight years has been to lengthen and lower the American automobile, at times in reality and always at least in appearance.” The extremely low and long American cars of the 1960s and 1970s show the extent to which Earl influenced an entire industry and culture.

He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1986.

One of his concept car designs, the turbine-powered Firebird I, is reproduced in miniature on the Harley J. Earl Trophy, which goes to the winner of the season-opening Daytona 500 NASCAR race.

Conceived the CorvetteInt

Introduced the idea of tailfins on cars

 

Source : Harley Earl Wikipedia Entry.

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