Origins of the Car Design Profession

He (Harley Earl) left behind a legacy in the automobile design industry that can never be superseded: he created that industry.

This website's mission is to preserve and extend America's car design legacy for new generations. Why? The above quote by Detroit area automotive writer, Anthony Yanik, only scratches the surface of how Harley Earl was, is, and will always remain America's most influential Car Designer. 

  TheOldMotor.com  article on the early years. 

TheOldMotor.com article on the early years. 

1889 to 2018 marks the 129th anniversary of Harley's father, Jacob W. Earl, establishing the Earl Carriage Works in downtown Los Angeles, Ca. The winning tradition and heritage behind America's iconic automobile design legacy begins with the back story of Harley Earl, the son of a late 19th century coach builder turned auto maker.

 There's a trove of scholarly evidence and unbiased reports, like these shown here, supporting this story-line. 

There's a trove of scholarly evidence and unbiased reports, like these shown here, supporting this story-line. 

car design pioneer
 1955 magazine issue dedicated to  Design in Detroit , tells it like it was,  "In many senses, Detroit is also the design center of the U.S.A."   

1955 magazine issue dedicated to Design in Detroit, tells it like it was, "In many senses, Detroit is also the design center of the U.S.A."  

 Historical GM Design photo demonstrates the DNA of Harley Earl. Every car maker in the global automotive economy today follows this exact technological template (pre-engineering a car or truck ahead of time) in full-size clay model mode within a state-of-the-art automobile design department.

Historical GM Design photo demonstrates the DNA of Harley Earl. Every car maker in the global automotive economy today follows this exact technological template (pre-engineering a car or truck ahead of time) in full-size clay model mode within a state-of-the-art automobile design department.

 The instructors on left with HJE at the Art Center College in Hollywood are Strother MacMinn, Joe Thompson and George Jergenson. These three were the first to teach this new profession at Art Center College and all learned the profession inside GM Styling under Harley. On right, instructor Alex Tremulis with Art Center students; Tremulis also cut his teeth the exact same way in GM's first design dept. during the mid-30s.

The instructors on left with HJE at the Art Center College in Hollywood are Strother MacMinn, Joe Thompson and George Jergenson. These three were the first to teach this new profession at Art Center College and all learned the profession inside GM Styling under Harley. On right, instructor Alex Tremulis with Art Center students; Tremulis also cut his teeth the exact same way in GM's first design dept. during the mid-30s.

For car designers, the present is already the past — HJE