Sex on Wheels

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Sex  on  Wheels:  A  History  of  the  Automotive  Design  Industry    27  November  2011  

by  Jay  North                      

  The  year  is  1963;  in  the  distance  of  the  tranquil  agrarian   region  of  West  Michigan  a  great  mechanical  roar  tears  through   the  air.    Rapidly  coming  into  view  is  the  visage  of  a  wild-­‐eyed   American  youth  at  the  helm  of  a  brand  new  Chevrolet  Corvette   Sting  Ray.    Its  lighter  frame,  accompanied  by  the  tried  and  true   V8  engine,  gives  the  machine  what  it  takes  to  scream  down  the   country  road  at  dangerously  unruly  speeds.    The  vibrant  red  


paint  job,  the  seductive  new  body  type,  and  the  exuberantly   confident  young  man  behind  the  wheel  are  but  a  blur  to  those   standing  by.    For  the  majority  of  its  history  this  type  of  imagery   has  been  what  has  sold  automobiles.    This  was  the  world  of   American  automotive  design;  sex  on  wheels.      

  Undoubtedly,  there  was  a  universal  appreciation  for  an   effective  and  aesthetically  designed  vehicle.    People  wanted   their  cars  to  be  expressions  of  individuality,  as  well  as  a  sound   and  reliable  means  of  transportation.    Automotive  design  was   the  field  that  developed  and  strived  to  meet  this  public  desire.     The  world  of  automotive  styling  was  and  still  is  a  truly  cut-­‐ throat  business.    From  its  very  beginning,  the  industry  has   been  driven  by  style;  it  was  to  be  how  the  car  looked  that  sold   the  car.        

  An  examination  of  the  history  of  and  factors  at  play  in   automotive  styling  is  best  obtained  by  speaking  with  those  that   were  at  its  forefront.    David  R.  North  is  one  such  character.     David  North  grew  up  in  Billings,  Montana,  and  graduated  from   the  Art  Center  College  of  Design  in  Pasadena,  California.    He   was  the  Chief  Designer  for  General  Motors  (GM)  from  June   1959  until  September  1991,  leaving  his  mark  on  the  industry,   which  he  grew  to  know  intimately  inside  and  out.    

  Interviewing  North  brought  on  a  history  lesson  in  itself.     He  answered  the  question  of  where  auto  design  stemmed  from,   and  then  proceeded  to  provide  a  lengthy  discourse  on  

automotive  history  in  relation  to  its  design.    Setting  out,  he   emphasized  the  lack  of  differential  design  in  the  early  days  of   the  automobile.    When  the  car  first  came  to  be  in  the  1900’s,  it   was  not  a  major  means  of  transportation,  but  rather  a  new   status  symbol  for  the  elite.    This  came  to  change  as  the  roaring   20’s  whipped  through  America  and  its  culture.    Where  cars  had   once  been  the  playthings  of  the  rich,  Henry  Ford  and  his  Model   T  provided  the  avenue  for  the  common  man  to  become  mobile.     The  affordable  and  mechanically  simple  Model  T  made  itself  


accessible  to  the  greater  American  rural  populace,  whom  had   previously  been  unaffected  by  the  advances  in  automotive   history.      

North  was  also  careful  to  point  out  that  from  the  

automotive  industry  came  the  American  middle  class.    When   Henry  Ford  started  paying  his  workers  five  dollars  a  day,   where  all  that  was  needed  and  regularly  paid  before  was  a   dollar  a  day,  he  effectively  brought  about  a  wave  of  

discretionary  income,  and  opened  the  door  for  the  middle   class.  However,  these  Model  T’s  were  plain,  and  when  asked  of   different  colors,  Ford  is  known  to  have  said,  “You  can  have  it   any  color  you  want,  as  long  as  it’s  black.”    During  this  period   the  function  of  the  car  took  precedent  over  its  aesthetic  appeal,   yet  this  would  all  change  very  soon.  

  In  the  middle  of  the  1920’s,  there  was  a  clamor  in  the   automotive  world,  with  the  waves  coming  from  sunny   California.    Cadillac  found  an  increasing  number  of  orders   coming  from  the  state,  but  not  for  whole  cars,  only  the  chassis.   General  Motors  looked  in  the  matter,  and  found  the  orders  to   come  to  the  founder  of  CBS,  Don  Lee,  who  also  owned  a  large   dealership  in  the  region.    Through  Lee  the  majority  of  the   chassis  found  their  way  to  Earl’s  Body  Shop,  owned  and  

operated  by  Harley  Earl,  the  father  of  the  art  of  auto  styling.      


  Earl  had  been  acting  as  the  custom  car  provider  to  the   stars,  and  gotten  the  attention  of  General  Motors  in  the  

process.    He  was  a  tower  of  a  man;  North  spoke  of  him  in  good   humor  saying,  “He  was  nearly  seven  feet  tall!  But  when  you   look  up  to  the  guy  and  talk  to  him,  he  has  a  teeny  little  voice.”     Regardless  of  physical  stature  and  tone  of  voice,  the  man   possessed  the  strength  of  will  and  showmanship  it  took  to   press  his  designs  forward.    On  being  brought  to  Detroit  after   the  meeting  in  Hollywood,  Earl  was  given  the  task  of  designing   the  smaller  bodied  1927  Cadillac  LaSalle.    Never  much  of  a   designer  himself,  Earl  relied  on  those  who  worked  for  him  as   well  as  what  he  saw  in  the  world  around  him  when  designing   cars.    His  design  was  a  close  replica  of  the  European  built  

Hispano  Suiza,  but  went  over  just  as  fine  with  the  executives  of   GM.    Through  a  clever  exchange  of  words,  Earl  claimed  to  need   to  catch  the  train  back  to  California  to  go  back  to  work.    GM   quickly  countered,  just  as  Earl  had  hoped,  and  offered  him  a   much  more  permanent  position  working  as  the  head  of  a  new   department.    And  so,  General  Motors  Styling  came  to  be  in   1927.      

  However,  the  time  span  in  which  Earl  had  to  work  was   soon  to  be  cut  short.    From  these  booming  times,  the  auto   industry  as  well  as  the  rest  of  American  industry  fell  prey  to   the  world  wide  Great  Depression.    This  facilitated  a  very   significant  lull  in  vehicle  production,  but  did  not  bring  it  to  a   halt  altogether.    The  advent  of  the  Second  World  War  brought   about  the  absolute  stop  on  all  automotive  manufacture  and   design.    The  major  companies  involved  in  the  industry  had   become  militarized  in  their  output.    The  rebirth  of  the  car   industry  would  have  to  wait  until  the  close  of  the  war  and  the   return  of  America’s  fathers,  sons,  and  brothers.      

  The  fabled  golden  age  that  was  the  1950’s  was  recalled   with  utmost  admiration  by  North.    Though  these  were  in  fact   his  glory  days,  there  was  a  lot  going  on  to  be  proud  of  at  that  


time.    There  was  a  huge  influx  of  both  income  and  manpower   to  the  American  workforce  with  the  boys  back  home.    The   bomb  that  had  ended  the  war  ushered  in  the  “atomic  age’,   where  the  public  demand  for  items  that  were  the  latest  and   greatest  was  insatiable.    This  was  also  the  age  of  the  

automobile,  and  the  curious  youth  culture  that  accompanied  it.     Through  cars,  young  Americans  could  convey  a  public  self  

expression  everywhere  they  went.    Young  men  became  

particularly  emotionally  attached  to  their  cars  as  a  direct  result   of  this.    North  recalls,  “Back  then  guys  expressed  themselves   through  two  ways:  cars  and  sports.    If  you  were  good  at  sports   then  you  were  pretty  cool,  but  if  you  had  a  car,  then  you  really   had  it  going  on.”    People  began  to  desire  vehicles  that  had  a   voice  all  their  own;  the  cars  now  had  bright  two  and  three  tone   paint  jobs,  and  an  unimaginable  variety  of  fins  adorned  each   voice  of  self  expression  on  the  road.    North  looks  back  to  this   time  as  a  truly  great  period  in  his  lifetime.    Not  only  is  this   when  his  own  personal  career  took  flight,  but  this  was  a  time   when  money  was  still  in  abundant  and  legitimate  supply,  and   rock  and  roll  was  turning  things  upside  down  all  through  the   night.      

  It  was  during  this  time  that  North  joined  the  General   Motors  Corporation.    Looking  back  on  the  experience,  he   equated  it  to  what  the  modern  day  image  of  the  Google  

workplace  has  become;    “it  was  the  place  everyone  wanted  to   be.”    North  was  fortunate  enough  to  find  his  way  into  

management  soon  after  joining  the  company,  and  avoided  the   average  span  of  two  to  three  years  that  most  automotive  

designers  are  at  regular  work.  Working  through  the  sixties,   North  claimed  that  the  best  cars  came  from  this  period.    At  this   time,  the  styling  department  effectively  had  a  blank  check.    The   cars  were  now  being  sold  largely  in  part  to  the  aesthetic  

appeal,  which  pushed  the  world  of  automotive  design  to  a   breakneck  pace.    This  prosperity  was  not  to  be  ongoing,  and  


with  the  1970’s  came  a  great  snag  in  the  development  of  the   automobile.      

  North  claims  two  things  brought  about  the  less  desirable   vehicles  of  the  seventies:  the  gas  scare  and  the  passage  of  the   1966  National  Traffic  and  Motor  Vehicle  Safety  Act.    Similar  to   today,  there  was  constant  complaint  that  gas  was  too  high,  but   more  notably  people  were  genuinely  afraid  there  would  just  be   no  gas  whatsoever.    The  National  Traffic  and  Motor  Vehicle   Safety  Act  was  brought  into  existence  by  long  time  political   activist  Ralph  Nader  through  a  joint  effort  by  the  insurance   companies  and  the  federal  government.      

  Ralph  Nader  was  known  for  his  dogged  persistence,  and   dedication  to  his  task  at  hand.    He  gained  his  notoriety  at  first   with  his  book  Unsafe  at  Any  Speed,  which  called  General  Motors   to  address  the  safety  of  the  Corvair  model.    After  pushing  the   National  Traffic  and  Motor  Safety  Act  through  Congress,  Nader   founded  the  Center  for  Auto  Safety  (CAS)  in  1970  to  act  as  a   countermeasure  for  consumers  against  powerful  automotive   industry  lobbyists.    The  center  cites  itself  as  “representing  the   interests  of  consumers  before  federal  regulatory  agencies  on   auto  safety,  reliability,  quality,  and  efficiency  as  well  as  

highway  safety  and  environmental  issues.”  The  center   continues  Nader’s  crusade  for  the  consumer’s  behalf,  and   currently  is  incessant  in  its  cries  for  the  auto  industry  to  meet   current  safety  requirements.      




  Though  North  recalled  the  act  as  being  responsible  for   hard  times  in  the  auto  industry,  he  did  admit  to  there  being   mistakes  made.    One  particular  memory  was  the  blunder  of  the   Nash  car  company,  and  its  decision  to  cover  the  front  wheels  in   addition  to  using  narrower  treaded  tires.    This  made  the  

vehicle  near  impossible  to  control  as  the  wheels  made  contact   with  the  covers  around  them  on  a  regular  basis.    Another  was   that  of  hearing  tales  of  cars  being  at  the  mercy  of  the  

crosswinds  as  they  would  catch  the  unsafely  oversized  fins  of  a   car.    But  the  incident  that  stuck  with  him  for  the  rest  of  his   career  was  being  taken  to  the  hospital  to  see  firsthand  the   morbid  pedestrian  injuries  suffered  by  those  who  were   unfortunate  enough  to  come  into  close  contact  with  the  

popular  pointed  fins  of  the  time.    This  imagery  stuck  with  him   throughout  the  rest  of  his  career,  and  cemented  even  more  the   old  design  maxim  he  had  learned  in  school,  “form  follows  


  This  theory  of  design  came  to  dominate  not  just  

automotive,  but  nearly  all  pursuits  of  industrial  design.    In  the   recent  article  “Object  Design:  Twelve  Concepts  to  Know,  


The  statement  “form  follows  function’  by  Louis  H.   Sullivan  emphasizes  the  functional  nature  of  design   (Hauffe,  1996).    This  concept  has  had  a  wide  range   of  influence  on  design,  including  Bauhaus,  German   Werkbund,  and  other  design  philosophies.    Design  is   not  just  aesthetics,  nor  a  decorative  cover  for  the   mechanical  or  electronic  components  of  objects.   Rather,  design  is  a  process  of  analyzing  the  

relationship  of  form  to  function,  and  function  to   form—each  informing  the  other.    This  concept   continues  to  have  a  significant  impact  on  modern   and  contemporary  industrial  design.      


By  this  definition,  all  things  of  industrial  design  are  held  in   accord.    This  standard  is  what  guided  designers  such  as  North   in  their  pursuit  of  what  the  style  was  to  be.    The  relationship  of   form  and  function  is  what  made  sense  of  design.      

  After  the  National  Traffic  and  Motor  Vehicle  Safety  Act   was  passed,  and  for  a  good  while  afterwards,  GM  became  the   proverbial  whipping  boy  for  the  politicians  of  the  day.    In   addition  to  adjusting  to  the  newly  instated  safety  regulations,   an  early  “green”  initiative  was  placed  on  the  automotive  

industry.    Cars  were  to  be  better  on  gas  mileage,  and   manufacturers  were  also  responsible  for  investigating  

alternative  fuels  to  power  their  machines.  This  was  all  done  in   an  attempt  to  address  the  gas  shortage  crisis.    The  question  of   gas  mileage  was  readily  solved  through  the  application  of   aerodynamics  to  automobiles.    However,  according  to  North,   the  expectation  of  utilizing  alternative  fuels  at  this  time  was   unrealistic,  and  was  by  no  surprise  a  failed  endeavor.    He  

provides  to  examples  of  the  effects  on  Cadillac  and  Oldsmobile.         To  address  this  issue,  Cadillac  developed  an  oscillating   engine  that  would  reach  a  certain  rpm  then  cut  from  eight  to   four  cylinders  powering  the  engine.    This  function  undermined  


the  integrity  of  the  engine,  and  brought  about  many  headaches   for  owners  that  found  them  to  break  down.    They  had  bought   Cadillacs  with  the  perception  of  buying  one  of  the  best  cars   money  could  buy,  only  to  feel  ripped  off  on  the  side  of  the  road.     By  compromising  the  standards  of  the  car  in  favor  of  federal   mandates,  Cadillac  undermined  its  own  self  image  with  a  car   on  the  road  that  was  simply  sub-­‐par  by  their  track  record.      

  An  even  greater  travesty  was  to  occur  to  the  Oldsmobile   company.    In  compliance  with  the  new  expectations,  the  

company  had  the  engines  of  its  most  popular  model,  the  

Cutlass,  converted  from  gasoline  to  diesel  engines.    The  Cutlass   had  been  praised  as  the  “little  Cadillac,”  and  was  widely  

considered  one  of  the  best  bargain  vehicles  available  for  

purchase.    Yet,  when  the  switch  from  gasoline  to  diesel  engines   was  made,  it  turned  out  catastrophic  for  the  entire  company.     Since  they  were  converted  engines,  their  structural  integrity   was  not  as  great  now  meant  to  handle  diesel  fuel  combustion.     Cars  that  were  meant  to  last  were  beat  to  hell  after  forty  

thousand  miles.    Oldsmobile  never  recovered  from  this,  their   financial  workhorse,  the  Cutlass,  had  been  slaughtered  in  the   market,  and  the  company  never  regained  the  prominence  it   once  held.      

  It  is  truly  remarkable  the  irony  that  hindsight  often  

brings.  In  the  January  1961  issue  of  the  Journal  of  Marketing,  a   study  was  done  on  the  dominance  of  car  brands  through  the   years,  as  well  as  on  the  variety  of  brands  studied.    It  describes   the  happening  as  such:  

Although  forty-­‐four  new  brands  of  automobiles  entered   the  market  during  the  1920-­‐  1960  period,  there  has  been   a  steady  diminution  in  the  number  of  brands;  during  this   same  period,  eighty-­‐six  brands  were  withdrawn.    Today   five  firms  are  producing  nineteen  brands.    Some  of  these   have  survived  depressions,  wars,  and  changes  in  


considered  the  “survival  of  the  fittest.”    However,  age  of  a   brand  is  not  a  guarantee  of  continued  success.    


To  think  that  Oldsmobile,  the  oldest  on  the  list  given  in  1961,   would  come  crumbling  down  by  the  hands  of  shoddy  

converted  diesel  engines  is  both  ironic  and  telling  of  the   industry  even  then.    


  The  Eighties  brought  back  gas  to  a  regularly  available   standard  and  price,  and  so  put  to  rest  a  lot  of  the  fuss  and   pressure  to  develop  more  efficient  vehicles.    The  older  bigger   models  took  the  place  of  the  newer  smaller  ones  that  had  just   been  desired.    With  the  gas  crisis  gone,  it  was  no  longer  a   problem  of  how  far  a  car  could  go,  and  on  what  fuel.    It  was   during  this  period  that  one  of  North’s  major  achievements  in   design  came  to  fruition  in  the  three  sisters:  the  Toronado,  the   Eldorado,  and  the  Riviera;  all  with  their  own  smaller  



there  was  literally  no  way  that  it  could  make  any  money.    The   United  Auto  Workers  contracts  had  a  stranglehold  on  the  

finances  of  the  automotive  industry,  and  had  effectively  turned   GM  into  a  financial  broker  rather  than  automotive  

manufacturing  corporation.    The  design  and  styling  branch,   which  had  always  been  there  to  even  out  the  bottom  line,  held   no  sway  in  this  dilemma.    There  was  simply  no  way  for  GM  to   develop  revenue  profitably.    This  financial  struggle  between   the  auto  manufacture  corporations  and  unions  would  prove   itself  to  be  the  downfall  of  GM,  and  the  source  of  its  bankruptcy   to  come.      

  The  end  was  coming,  but  staved  off  momentarily  by  the   sudden  popularity  of  the  Sport  Utility  Vehicle  (SUV).      

Desperate  for  answers,  GM  brought  in  market  research  

specialists  to  determine  what  move  to  make  next  (one  that  had   been  made  previously  by  those  in  the  styling  department).    The   research  they  did  indicated  that  in  the  top  one  percent  of  

American  households  with  multiple  vehicles,  most  of  them   possessed  a  Jeep  Wagoner.    It  provided  a  family  with  the  peace   of  mind  of  being  a  luxury  vehicle  capable  of  being  much  more   than  just  that.    GM  took  this  ball  and  ran  with  it,  and  coupled   with  the  extreme  anxiety  that  Americans  faced  after  the  attacks   of  September  11,  2001,  the  populace  more  than  ever  wanted  to   have  a  vehicle  that  would  be  able  to  handle  itself  in  case  all   things  suddenly  went  to  hell.    Another  stroke  of  fortune  for  GM   found  itself  in  the  acquisition  of  the  Hummer  brand,  and  the   great  success  it  provided.    Through  the  high  yield  production  of   vehicles  such  as  the  Denali,  Escalade,  and  Hummer  GM  was   able  to  get  itself  through  the  early  2000’s.    But  the  toll  for  GM   had  already  rung,  and  the  great  controversy  that  was  the   Federal  Government  buyout  of  GM,  the  “too  big  to  fail”   dilemma,  and  public  upheaval  to  follow  had  all  been  set  in   motion  with  no  stop  available.  


  David  North  played  the  interesting  role  of  being  a  

firsthand  witness,  and  in  many  cases,  player,  in  all  of  the  events   described.    His  intimate  knowledge  of  the  industry  came  from  a   passion  for  cars  and  their  design.    His  value  to  this  subject  lies   even  deeper  than  helping  set  the  historical  context;  his  work   dealt  directly  with  the  question  of  in  what  light  a  car  should  be   designed.    Returning  to  the  saying  “form  follows  function,”   North  affirms  that  auto  styling  was  a  unique  art  in  the  fact  that   those  things  fantasized  were  meant  to  be  put  into  physical  

everyday  use.    Throughout  his  career  the  cars  that  sold  the  best   were  the  ones  that  looked  the  best.    Albeit,  there  were  gadgets   and  technological  advances  at  play,  but  the  majority  of  a  car   sales  were  initiated  and  closed  based  off  of  the  aesthetic  appeal   of  the  cars.    His  haunting  experience  early  on  in  the  hospital   stayed  with  him  for  the  rest  of  his  career,  and  reaffirmed  the   value  of  designing  an  attractive,  but  always  functional  

automobile  as  being  most  important.    In  reflection  of  his  career   as  a  whole  generated  a  moderate  response  on  the  topic.    He   claimed,    “It  was  the  style  that  sold  the  car,  but  the  function   was  always  in  the  back  of  the  designers  mind,  as  basic  legal   code  is  to  an  attorney,  or  the  use  of  building  to  an  architect.    It   just  has  to  be  there.”  

  The  future  of  the  automotive  design  remains  murky.     North  fears  the  worst  for  American  automakers,  and  maybe   legitimately  so.    With  the  government  bailout,  General  Motors   now  has  a  new  partner  in  the  US  Treasury  department,  which   is  much  more  of  a  boss  than  business  associate.    It  restricts  any   expenditure  by  GM  that  will  not  yield  an  immediate  profit,   hence  nearly  all  design  and  development  have  been  shut  down   save  for  those  initiatives  still  deemed  viable  by  the  Federal   government.    The  remorse  in  the  old  designer’s  voice  was   heavy  on  this  subject.    Having  maintained  contacts  throughout   the  industry,  North  made  plain  that  a  great  step  was  about  to   take  place  just  prior  to  the  bailout;  the  arrival  of  a  car  that  


could  drive  itself.    A  world  where  there  are  no  vehicular  

accidents,  and  everything  runs  through  an  elaborate  computer   system.    This  topic  excited  North,  but  he  had  a  bittersweet   tone.    The  idea  that  cars  could  possibly  load  computer  

programs,  read  data,  and  interact  with  human  intervention   fascinated  him,  yet  he  was  remorseful  that  the  US  was  falling   behind.    He  was  not  alone  in  this  claim,  and  the  topic  has  been   brought  up  in  countries  all  over  the  world.      

  Alberto  Broggi  was  the  leader  of  a  recent  autonomous-­‐ vehicle  expedition  from  Italy  to  China.    Broggi  claimed,  

“driverless  cars  are  safer  and  they  are  the  future.”    When  asked   why  he  made  the  journey  he  replied,  

I  work  on  driver  assistance  systems    -­‐;  to  take  control  of  a   vehicle  when  the  driver  falls  asleep,  for  example.    We   wanted  to  push  these  technologies  to  the  limit  and  see  if   we  could  remove  the  driver  altogether.    We  had  

participated  in  some  autonomous  vehicle  races,  but  these   take  place  in  a  structured  environment.    We  wanted  to  be   in  the  real  world  with  real  challenges.    We’re  aiming  to   reach  Shanghai  for  the  World  Expo.  

Broggi  sought  to  prove  the  capability  of  autonomous  vehicles   and  did  so,  giving  weight  to  North’s  anxiety  in  the  decline  of   the  American  auto  industry’s  global  standing.      

  The  article  “Dashboard  Magic,”  from  the  July  17,  2008   issue  of  Design  Week,  discussed  this  possibility,  and  also   presented  a  shift  in  design  emphasis  from  the  exterior  to  the   interior  of  the  vehicle.    In  the  article  General  Motors  product   czar  Bob  Lutz  is  quoted,    

Design  is  the  last  great  differentiator..    There  is  no  

leverage  in  the  other  areas  any  more.    Once  you’ve  owned   a  car  for  a  few  months  you  don’t  look  at  the  exterior  so   much.    The  interior  is  different.    If  you  can’t  bear  to  


when  you  turn  it,  you’ll  hate  the  whole  car  in  three  years’   time.  


The  change  in  discussion  is  truly  a  revolutionary  one  in  design   terms.      Where  before  the  exterior  had  been  the  emphasis,  and   the  consumer  had  the  rudimentary  choice  between  an  interior   modeled  after  either  a  rocket  or  gentleman’s  club;  now  there   has  been  a  shift  towards  a  more  ergonomic  living  room  

setting.    Slimmer  seats,  dramatic  reduction  of  knobs  and   buttons,  ambient  lighting,  panoramic  fixed  roof  cabins,  and   starters  via  mobile  phones  are  all  on  the  menu.    The  not  so  far   future  is  further  described  detailing  the  possible  systems  to   recognize  human  gestures  as  controls,  and  as  mentioned  

before,  completely  autonomous  vehicles  navigate  through  GPS   and  sensors  that  communicate  with  one  another.      

  This  proposed  future  world  of  autonomous  vehicles  and   full  body  gesture  controls  may  seem  farfetched,  but  is  not   altogether  unfeasible.    The  technology  already  exists;  it  is  just   a  matter  of  safely  synchronizing  it  effectively  within  the  

automobile.    The  design  aspect  of  automobiles  will  always  be   there,  and  rather  than  favor  either  form  of  function  absolutely,   it  creates  with  a  respect  for  the  significance  that  relationship   that  has  always  been.      

  Now  think  back  to  that  American  youth  racing  through   the  West  Michigan  farmland.    He  carries  his  speed  at  a  reckless   pace,  comes  up  a  sharp  curve,  and  finds  himself  no  longer  

amongst  the  living.    Public  outcry  is  for  the  neglect  of  the   manufacturer.    Cars  should  not  be  made  to  go  so  fast.    There   was  a  wanton  disregard  for  the  proper  function  of  the  vehicle,   and  it  was  just  a  sexy  metal  deathtrap.    Yet,  a  little  digging  will   prove  that  function  was  always  a  major  role,  and  the  kid  was   exactly  that,  a  kid;  one  whose  capabilities  were  lacking  as  he   tore  through  the  country  side,  and  were  unfortunately  not   fully  compensated  by  virtue  of  automotive  design.      


Works  Cited  

“Car  Interiors:Dashboard  magic.”  Design  Week  17,  (July  2008):  

16.   id=GALE%7CA181611687&v=2.1&u=tel_a_utc&it=r&p=  


Holloway,  Robert  J.    “Which  Automobiles  Will  Be  Here   Tomorrow?”  The  Journal  of  Marketing  25,  no.  3  (January    

1961):  35-­‐36  

Marschalek,  Douglas  G.    “Object  Design:  Twelve  Concepts  to     Know,  Understand  and  Apply.”    

Art  Education  58,  no.  2  (March,  2005):    46-­‐52.    

McMurry,  Kelly.  “Making  Lemonade  Out  of  the  Auto  Industry’s   Lemons.”    Trial    48+,    (1998):   id=GALE%7CA20379905&v=2.1&u=tel_a_utc&it  


Morehead,  Albert  H.  “Automobile.”  In  The  Illustrated  World  

Encyclopedia.      476=483.  New  York,  NY:  1968  

Mueller,  Marti.  “Nader:  From  Auto  Safety  to  a  Permanent   Crusade.”  Science.    166  No.  3908  (1969):979-­‐983  

North,  David  R.    Phone  Interview  

“One  Minute  with  Alberto  Broggi.”   New  Scientist  Opinion,  no.   707  (September  4,  2010)  

Yao,  Dennis  A.  “Styling  vs.  safety:  the  American  Automobile   industry  and  the  development  of  automotive  safety,    

1900-­‐1966.”  Business  History  Review    59  (1985):     501+.  Academic  OneFile.  Web  9  Sep.  2011  




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