The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

Designs from the past – the American muscle car

Muscle car 2
Through November 10, there is a unique exhibit at the Louisville, Kentucky Visual Art Association, focusing on the design process of Detroit’s muscle cars of the 1960’s. On display are 91 rarely seen renderings, sketches and models on loan from 25 of the actual Detroit designers.
Muscle car 13

Muscle car 3

Bill Porter, a 76 year-old Louisville native, was was chief of GM’s Advanced Design Studio in the early 1960s and designed the 1968 Pontiac GTO prototype.

In addition to being a pleasant bit of nostalgia, it is a look back to a time when American car design was controlled by artists. Before the days of sophisticated market research, GM executives encouraged creativity, Porter said.

“They intensely encouraged originality,” he said. “The idea of a designer looking to his audience for leadership ran totally counter to their view.”

These are ghostly reminders of a day long gone, when you could know the make, year, and model of an American car from a distance, just by its shape. A day when cars didn’t all look the same.



Written by Tom Fox

09/12/2007 at 5:31 pm

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