They date as far back as the 1930s…
Periodically, the GM Design team will share some interesting historical items on social media, giving us a break from horrifying possibilities for the future Chevy Camaro. A prime example is a set of design sketches from the 1930s and 1940s which had been collected by the former vice president of design Harley Earl, who kept these and other sketches in scrapbooks which he stored in his office. That was a smart thing to do, because preserving the sketches that way has ensured they can be enjoyed by future generations instead of having been lost forever.
These designs are far better than what some current GM designers have been dreaming up for the next Camaro. See the difference here.
These sketches show how forward-thinking GM was back when it was becoming the formidable power in the automotive industry. Simple, Art Deco-inspired designs with strong, athletic lines made the cars in the sketches appear larger than life. In one of the renderings by none other than George Lawson, who designed the original Tucker Torpedo, a woman drives a convertible on a runway as a plane flies low overhead and she extends her right hand upwards as if to touch the flying machine. The auto giant was Icarus flying toward the sun on its new wings, seemingly unstoppable in its market ascent.
Most notable among the sketches is the first-gen Cadillac Series 62, a legendary automobile, which was drawn by none other than Art Ross in 1937. His line drawing perfectly captures the kinetic motion of the large, gracefully-styled car as it speeds down the road and toward the viewer. Ross had a hand in the final design of the Series 62, working alongside Bill Mitchell.
Of course, Ross went on to help design many iconic classic Cadillacs and Buicks. Among the designs credited to the man as the Cadillac Fleetwood and LaSalle, as well as the Buick Y-Job, which is considered the first concept car produced by General Motors.
Some of the earliest examples included in the GM Design Archive & Special Collections come from Earl’s scrapbooks. We hope the GM Design team shares more of these early vehicle design drawings as they’re invaluable historical artifacts we know enthusiasts will appreciate.