The following 1954 Saturday Evening Post magazine article (snippet below) written by Harley Earl goes a long way explaining where the modern roots and traditions of the car design profession began along with keeping his area of expertise anonymous:
Most Americans are at least a little excited over the appearance of new-model automobiles each year. This is where I must leave you. I cannot get aboard because, considering the share of all cars my company produces, the odds are almost even that your new car is one I designed myself and put out of my life at least twenty-seven months ago. Because of my job, I have to live two or three years apart from a great American interest. I can’t talk to the neighbors about their new cars with anything like their fresh enthusiasm, and while this gives my work a somewhat lonesome touch, I will not say it's tragic. Let me say quickly that when I refer to myself I am merely using a short cut to talk about my team.
There are 650 of us, and collectively we are known as the Styling Section of General Motors. I happen to the founder of the section and the responsible head, but we all contribute to the future appearance of GM automobiles, and it hasn’t been too long ago that we settled what your 1957 car will look like. We work informally and, of course, secretly. Since our job is to generate and present design ideas, we have methods of keeping new ideas popping and stirring. To help keep us young, we introduce a freshman squad every year, mostly from two design schools on the East and West coasts. We have contests and idea races, and our divisions within the team even have sessions where employees are traded like baseball players. There is inevitably a bit of mystery about our work, and my own little hatchery for future plans is a hidden room with no telephone, the windows blacked out and a misleading name on the door.
I attended Stanford University and studied engineering.