REVISED AND UPDATED: Here’s a not-too-long historical video (around eight minutes) with the spotlight on a true auto industry pioneer: Harley Earl.
Earl, who at the time was only 34 years old, came to General Motors in 1927 from the automotive carriage trade in Los Angeles and invented the design studio as we know it. First assigned to style the new LaSalle, Earl so impressed GM President Alfred P. Sloan that he built the industry’s first real design department around him, the GM Art and Colour Section. Earl would head the division until 1958, taking a hand in the design tens of millions of cars.
We’ve all read the stories. Now here’s some film that helps bring the big man (he was over six-feet four) to life. And be sure to check out the clay modeling work that starts at around 2:40. There’s also some great period footage of GM production cars and the Buick Y-Job and LeSabre idea cars as well. Fascinating stuff, enjoy.