GM Reveals Early Sketches From The Father Of The Corvette

Design / 11 Comments

Harley Earl's vintage scrapbook is a treasure trove of automotive design.

Harley Earl, former Vice President of Design at General Motors, is regarded as instrumental in the development of the original Corvette, a car that has since become an icon for the Chevrolet brand. While today's mid-engine Corvette Stingray C8 Coupe is a very different machine, demand hasn't waned for the sports car which is selling up a storm. GM Design is known for its insightful posts into the company's long history and decided to share some wonderful classic car sketches kept by Harvey in his scrapbooks. Most recently, the company shared some beautiful GM designs that never made it to the production stage.

The collection of five sketches shared here are said to be some of the earliest examples of artworks from the GM Design Archive & Special Collections. These designs from the 1930s and 1940s came long before car designs and proportioning could be quickly manipulated on a computer screen. Instead, designers were armed with nothing more than a piece of paper, a few pencils, and their imaginations. The sketches reflect the outlandish yet emotive design trends of the period - long hoods, plenty of chrome, and swooping, prominent wheel arches were the order of the day. The detailing of the sketches themselves are also fantastic.


While these stunning Art Deco sketches weren't necessarily drawn by Harley Earl himself, the designers who penned them worked under him so these drawings can be seen as Earl's idea of contemporary design at the time. One of the many beautiful sketches featured here is a Cadillac Series 62 completed by Arthur "Art" Ross. More than anything, these sketches came long before cars started being described as "clinical". None of these designs are short on character and while they may not conform to modern safety standards, they represent a truly treasured era of automotive design.


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