Not many of us realize that when we applaud the high-style that went into so much of the design of 1950s American cars, we are actually praising the fertile mind of Harley J. Earl (1893 – April 10, 1969):
Earl, who served as the Vice-President of Design at General Motors, conceived of so many design elements that are associated with that period, such as wrap-around windshields, tail-fins and two-tone paint styling. In the attached article, written when he was at the top of his game, Harley Earl tells his readers what is involved in automobile design:
"Shakespeare has told us 'neither a borrower nor a lender be'. An automobile stylist must be both. He must borrow his ideas from the creatures and creations of nature which are all about him..."
Facts about American car ownership in the 1920s can be read here...