US post-WWII automotive design reached a creative peak in the late 1950’s – early 1960’s. Tail fins, chrome, bright colors and innovative use of stamped sheet metal were used to give form to interesting, unique and compelling automobiles which remain desirable, collectable objects of affection. Leading General Motor’s design trends was Harley Earl who had created the GM Art and Color Section which in the late 30’s became the Design and Styling Department. This group created all new GM models and was responsible for interior and exterior design, materials and appearance.
The result of this centralized approach was a coherent if slightly over the top expression that captured US post-war sentiment. These Harley Earl designs reached their apogee in the late 50’s and early 60’. Bill Mitchell, Earl’s hand-picked successor, applied a more subdued and clean design esthetic to GM automobiles produced after the 1962 model year.
This blog features not the whole design but disparate design elements which I feel stand on their own and make a strong statement about a distinctly optimistic and expressive period in time. These pictures were taken in less than 60-minutes at a private collection I was privileged to visit. This shoot was the unplanned and entirely by chance. Hope that you enjoy this expression of late 50’s and early 60’s automotive design.
All images were taken with Fuji X100s with 23mm f2.0 lens in RAW format; processed in Adobe Lightroom 8.3