The Designer's Story: Harley Earl
The old saying goes, "nothing exceeds like excess" and nothing could be more true than the ‘Harley Earl’ era of American Auto. In my experience, when you speak to car enthusiasts worldwide, there’s one era that unites everyone in admiration: 1950s auto Americana. It’s the shapes, the fins, the chrome, and the ideals that the American way of life stood for; also the obsession with aerodynamics without actually having much in the way of hard science behind it. These cars became objects that embodied the American Dream in the post-war boom of affluence and indeed, signified to the world that in America, anything seemed possible, with many of these iconic designs developed by Mr. Harley Earl.
Harley is widely considered to be the father of modern automotive design and under his guidance, GM was the first American carmaker to open an ‘Art and Color Section’ (a dedicated, in-house design studio). He didn’t just influence GM’s design language from the 1930s through to the 1950s, but also structured a formal process of design that would eventually be adopted by all American and many foreign carmakers.