This one takes us allll the way back to the start. Genesis. The OG. Concept Car thee Firste. It's the Buick Y-Job! -
It was created by Harley J. Earl, GM's first head of design and the man who pioneered clay model sculpting in car design. He was also responsible for the tail fins that would adorn many, many cars over the following decades. Talk about leaving a mark! -
The 'Y' in Y-Job came from the world of aeronautics. All the most advanced prototype planes got a Y designation so Buick's groundbreaking concept car did too. -
It featured headlights hidden behind powered covers, electric windows, and wraparound bumpers all the way back in 1938. Its design cues would be used by Buick well into the 50s and the vertical grille is still in use today. -
Power came from a 5.2 litre straight 8 and like the Stratos Zero it was a fully functional vehicle. Unlike the Zero it was actually practical and was used by Earl as his daily driver until the early 50s. By the early 90s it had made its way to the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit where it was restored and then given back to the GM Design Center where it lives to this day. It's a fitting retirerement for the world's very first concept car. -
99% of the photos you see here are originals, but sometimes it’s nice to show something else - and today we’re time travelling to NYC circa 1940. Photog Stanley Mixon took this shot on Washington street for the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). Much of this block would soon be wiped out by the Manhattan approach for Ole Singstad’s Battery Tunnel, and HABS, part of the @nationalparkservice, was an early part of the historic preservation movement. Lucky for us, Mixon also captured this amazing vehicle - a 1932 Chevrolet Landau Phaeton - Just 1,602 of the $650 cars were built.
1932 is a year heavily associated with the new Ford V8, but Chevy was actually the most popular car in America in 1932. Under the leadership of Danish-born William “Big Bill” Knudsen, Chevrolet had gone from near death in 1921 to topping Ford in sales in 1927-28, then again in 1931-34. Knudsen was originally a Ford man. He arrived at Ellis Island in February, 1900, he worked for a parts manufacturer in Buffalo which was bought by Ford in 1911. He rose quickly at Ford. A production and process wizard, he helped design Ford’s Rouge works - but he clashed with Henry Ford over production strategy, the Model T’s archaic design, and Ford’s personal views; and departed in early 1921 - landing at GM.
He was appointed to fix Chevrolet by Pierre DuPont after a year in which Chevy lost $9M. Despite having to write off Charles Kettering’s disastrous “Copper cooled” Chevy in 1923, Knudsen took the division from strength to strength. By 1930, he’d enlisted Harley Earl’s “Art & Colour” to make the Chevies more stylish. With rumors of a V8 Ford coming in ‘32, Earl and his team purposefully used cues from the ‘31-’32 Cadillacs to style the Chevy. In mid-1931, Fisher body had also begun building the Landau Phaeton, a four-place proper convertible with detachable B-pillars and retracting windows - a coach convertible usually seen on cars like Cadillacs.
The $650 Landau Phaeton couldn’t quite match the Ford V8 for speed, but it was introduced months earlier and like all Chevys, was powered by the durable and smooth 60-hp Stovebolt Six. The slow-selling variant didn’t survive Chevy’s 1933 restyle.
#UnDiaComoHoy hace 110 años nacía en #AnnHarbour , #Michigan , el diseñador norteamericano Virgil #Exner , reconocido por su trabajo para compañías como #Chrysler y #Studebaker .
Alumno destacado de #HarleyEarl , trabajó para #GeneralMotors , llegando a ser jefe de diseño de #Pontiac antes de la II Guerra Mundial. Una vez cesado el conflicto, entró a trabajar a #Studebaker , donde fue el creador del #Champion#Starlight de 1947.
Desde 1949 trabajó para algunos prototipos de diseño de Chrysler, en asocio con Carrozzeria #Ghia (fue uno de los creadores del #Volkswagen#KarmannGhia ). Cuando llegó a la jefatura de diseño de Chrysler en 1955 dio un giro rotundo al lenguaje de diseño de esta empresa e incorporó el Forward Look, basado en la aeronáutica y con notables cambios que aumentaron las ventas de manera significativa en las marcas #Dodge , Chrysler, #Plymouth y #DeSoto , convirtiendo estas carrocerías en una tendencia que permanecería vigente hasta 1961 y catapultando a Exner como una leyenda del diseño automotriz de los años 50, especialmente por los modelos Chrysler 300, #NewYorker e #Imperial , los #PlymouthSavoy , #Belvedere y #Fury y el Dodge #Coronet , .
Exner dejó a Chrysler en 1963 cuando se le pidió que redujera el tamaño de los automóviles y las proporciones del diseño, continuó asesorando a diversas marcas desde su oficina propia y participó en la resurrección de #Stutz con el #Blackhawk .
Virgil Exner falleció el 22 de diciembre de 1973 a los 64 años víctima de una insuficiencia cardíaca.
It took Joar Kristiansen of Askim, Norway four years, 2 400 hours, and 12 000 Kroners to complete his version of #HarleyEarl 's LeSabre concept car. The build was completed in 1957, and it became a crowd-pleaser everywhere Joar took it. As a little kid, Lars Karlson of Strömstad, Sweden was very fascinated with Harley Earl's futuristic GM LeSabre as well. "I read every bit of info about the car I could come across," he told us last year. "and that wasn't too much, but I had seen the car in a big book that my uncle had. I believe it was a book published by Teknikens Värd. I thought it was the most incredible car in the world, at least when it came to its design." Lars had relatives living in Oslo, and in 1965, when he was 12 years old, he spotted the rear end of a familiar car between some houses as they were driving back home to Sweden. "A rear end of a car that I never thought I would be able to see in real life." Lars remembered that the roof, and most of the front, was covered by a tarp, but he recognized the fins and taillights immediately. "I yelled out. Commanding my dad to stop the car. He did, and I was able to study the creation. If it wasn't for the tarp, I probably would have been able to understand that it was a clone, but right there and then I really wanted it to be the real thing, and I just couldn't believe that it stood there right in front of me." 53 years later Lars came across a story about Joar's LeSabre in the Kustomrama Korner in Gasoline Magazine. "The story really proved that I wasn't dreaming or hallucinating that day in 1965," he told us. How cool ain't that? I can't imagine how Lars felt after finally solving this puzzle after 53 years! Click on the link in our bio for more info and photos of Joar Kristiansen's LeSabre on #Kustomrama#KeepingHistoryAlive#LeSabreLookalike
Second generation (1980–1985 )1983 CADILLAC SEVILLE .
While the first-generation #Seville had proved quite successful, it failed in its primary mission of winning over younger import buyers. Marketing research indicated that the car was most popular with older women who wanted a #Cadillac in a smaller, more #maneuverable size.For the 1980 model year, the Seville's K-body platform became front-wheel drive, based on the E-body of the #Eldorado , #BuickRiviera and #Oldsmobile#Toronado . Length and wheelbase were similar, with the car losing .3" in wheelbase and gaining .8" overall. The new model featured independent rear suspension and was the first American car to have a standard diesel engine, which had carried over from the previous generation. Cadillac's new 368 cu in (6.0 L) L62 V8 with Digital Fuel Injection was a no-cost option except in California, where the fuel-injected #Oldsmobile350 remained available, also as a no-cost option.
The razor-edged bustle-back rear styling drew inspiration from English coachbuilder's #Hooper & Co. " #EmpressLine " designs from the early #1950s ; themselves a #dramatic , #modernized take on the mid-' #30s style of trunk/body integration. In addition, long hood/short deck proportions were in the later half of a revival that had manifested on large, exclusive luxury cars from the #1960s onwards, as in halo personal luxury cars such as the Buick Riviera, Oldsmobile Toronado, and reconfigured #CadillacEldorado . The Seville's "statement" styling was one of the last vehicles designed by #GM 's #BillMitchell , appointed by #HarleyEarl in 1936 as the Chief Designer in the then newly created Cadillac design studio,was swiftly imitated by the 1982–1987 #LincolnContinental sedan, and the 1981–1983 Imperial coupe. Sales were strong at first, but disastrous flirtation with diesel engines and the ill-fated V-8-6-4 variable displacement #gasoline engine, coupled with poor quality control, began to erode Seville's standing in the marketplace.
There were several cars in the little town Askim in Norway back in the 1950s that had been built into sports cars when Joar Kristiansen decided to build his own version of #HarleyEarl 's LeSabre concept car. #TrygveWestbye built a couple of them, and he might have been the first one building one as well. In additional to Harley Earl, Trygve was a huge inspiration for Joar when he built the LeSabre, and he became a technical consultant for Joar during the build. After visiting Trygve several times while he was building his cars, there where never any doubt about the choice of engine; "It had to be a Ford V8!" This photo shows one of Trygve's cars, a neat little sports car known as the Thunderbird. Click on the link in our bio for more info and photos of Joar's LeSabre on #Kustomrama#KeepingHistoryAlive#AskimCustom#NorwayCustom
Meanwhile in the future 😉 The GM Firebird III concept car designed by Harley Earl and debuted at the 1959 Motorama exhibition. The vehicle was more of a showcase of automotive technology rather than being prescient of future car design. Photo: GM Archives #mcmdaily#harleyearl#firebirdiii#generalmotors#conceptcars#usa 🇺🇸 mcmdaily.com
From the era of the ‘Dream Car’ the 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special concept. Debuting at the 1954 GM Motorama the car was styled by Harley Earl and built by Homer LaGassey and Paul Gilland. And while never intended for production it was just realistic enough to capture the public’s imagination. Photos: Barrett-Jackson #mcmdaily#harleyearl#conceptcars#dreamcars#gmmotorama#usa 🇺🇸 mcmdaily.com