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Grosse Pointe Historical Society

Gala Party Link

 For One Night Only, Styling Czar Harley Earl Returns

Harley's boys even drove these motoramic masterpieces.

Harley's boys even drove these motoramic masterpieces.

DETROIT – At this year’s gala hosted by the Grosse Pointe Historical Society (GPHS) on June 18, 2015, the legend of Harley Earl will return to the historic home, where he and his family lived, in the very heart of the Pointes on Touraine Road. The GPHS has invited Harley’s grandson, auto consultant, Richard Earl to display his traveling photo exhibit titled, Automotive Hollywood: A Tribute to Harley J. Earl  and do a presentation. This will include rare family photos from the 1950s within the home’s driveway showing Harley, his wife and kids all enjoying GM’s very first concept cars, the Y-Job and Le Sabre, that today are heralded as “national design treasures,” but back then were simply known as designer-Earl’s daily drivers.

James Conway of the GPHS says, “Motown has some of America’s most phenomenal design history and for the last two decades Richard has been sharing this story with information and a perspective no one else has—creating an emotional connection between Detroit’s auto design history and car consumers.” In 2003, the U.S. AutoScene did an article on his efforts to humanize this history, “So enter Richard Earl, ironically the only Earl descendant to pursue an auto-related career since his grandfather’s death in 1969.”

 Currently working on a series of articles to educate more people on the remarkable similarities between the leaders of the largest company in the world today, Apple Inc., and the leaders of GM sixty years ago, CNN liked Richard’s story idea on this topic so much they ran, Steve Jobs and the king of stylish cars within their “Best of America” section and this general interest piece logged over a million page-views soon after its release in February. His first article, Harley Earl’s Influence on Steve Jobs debuted at a leading tech website.

 A quick visit to Richard’s official HarleyJEarl.com website gives a taste of the collection of historic material he’s gathered through years of research and interviews. This site’s Mission page focuses on GM’s greatest leaders and how they can be rediscovered as inspiration to ignite our nation’s auto industry and the city of Detroit to return to cutting-edge design and become innovation leaders once again.

The Earl automotive story didn’t begin with Harley, but rather with his father, Jacob W. Earl, a late 19th Century coach builder, who started the family’s auto heritage seven years before Henry Ford built his first car in 1896 (see a four-part online series on the Earl’s “California Years” at theoldmotor.com). No wonder Richard is so passionate, he’s part of what could be, America’s oldest continuous auto legacy dating back to 1889,” or as he likes to say, “It’s a story 126 years in the making!”

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To contact Richard requesting historical photos or additional information, please email: hjestory@gmail.com