A Work of Stunning Artistic Achievement

A year before the Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild (FBCG) launched in 1930, a Detroit News newspaper article covering the burgeoning "Industrial Art" arena quoted Mr. Earl's positive vision on educating future generations of American car builders, "It is indeed a queer thing," said Mr. Earl "that while the motor industry is one of the most powerful in the country, no important course are being given in the schools in automobile design. Such a course should depend upon the closest cooperation between the students and the automobile industry." And the 1967 NYTimes article, directly below, clearly demonstrates how this new industrial arts movement became a national yearly phenomenon.

"Aimed at youths," this art & engineering program was an inspirational beacon of light. So, why did GM’s leaders of entirely close down the FBCG in 1968?

"Aimed at youths," this art & engineering program was an inspirational beacon of light. So, why did GM’s leaders of entirely close down the FBCG in 1968?

FBCG boys on tour of GM Styling with HJE in 1951.

FBCG boys on tour of GM Styling with HJE in 1951.

The miracle of the mid 20th century industrialized art world is directly linked to Mr. Earl's becoming America's Car Design Pioneer, and, the FBCG and the Detroit Institute of Styling (both geared to develop highly paid auto stylists, i.e., car designers, see below) were offshoots of this new business calling. 

Harley taught General Motors how to get its "modern" game on by creating the first car design department, ever. What he introduced inside GM and Detroit quickly allowed him a seat at the company’s high stakes table of the “determination of policy” for his new conscious business area, i.e., Car Design, was elevated high up inside GM’s hierarchy of top shareholders and leaders. Hence, from its inception Art & Colour, Styling or Car Design gave GM a huge edge to start unlocking a more-sophisticated universe of engineering and auto making to gain market share. Starting in the late 1920s and early 1930s, positive results proved dramatic.


An American Original

Historical picture, above, by GM Photographic demonstrate just one important facet of Harley Earl's new three dimensional world of car architecture. His 3D DNA radically went on to revolutionize the global auto building economy As a matter of fact, every worldwide car maker today follows this exact technological business pattern (pre-engineering a car or truck ahead of time) in full-size clay model mode within a state-of-the-art car design department. 

The operating system of Car Design is afar from "low tech" and just look at GM's state-of-the-art design studios, pic directly above, from 1964. What you see in this picture is "exactly" what every car company in the world today is still using to birth all their major car and truck designs. Harley’s technological hatchery has held the test of time and computers are still way behind and/or no where near superseding this advanced building template and/or methodology. 

Before coming to GM, H.J. Earl had already perfected using all new tools (some of which are seen in the above photo) and had created an entirely new hybrid engineering Car Design language. Furthermore, the entire "glossary of terms" still used by all car designers, around the world today, is built on top of the ones HJE originally created long ago. 

Why did Harley's invention of creating this formalized business pattern entail such an incredible forward vision, hence becoming such a titanic achievement today? Because since the end of WW Two, every car and truck -- worldwide -- has come to life using this pioneer's advanced building technology. Yes, it's truly an astounding figure for over a 1 billion cars and trucks stem from the original clay modeling process this California engineer Harley Earl invented. The following quote of his sums up a big part behind why the story still remains a mystery to this very day, “Secrecy is a necessary part of the process.”

Google "full size clay models of cars" and you'll discover how every major global auto maker follows Harley Earl's advanced pattern of building modern automobiles. Over the entire span of the automobile industry, Car Design technology has played the most significant role of turning the automobile into a more artful product. America scored a huge victory having this Car/Auto Design department first unfold inside General Motors long ago!