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Lakewood Country Club

February 8, 2009

Words by: Tom Hall
Pictures by: Tom Hall, Calvin Jones, Dave Ventresca
Stewart Reed


     The weather cooperated pretty well but quite a few people decided to leave their cars in dry garages. Maybe 30 cars were displayed, with the oldest being Paul Schinnerer’s V-16, with its manually-operated top down, no less. Frank Brannen also had the top down on his light blue ‘67 De Ville convertible, as did the owner of a Firethorn 1976 Eldorado convertible.

    The Long Distance Award, had we had one, would probably have gone to Frank Brannen’s sister, Barbara, who was visiting from Wisconsin and spent part of the morning polishing a ‘92 stretch limo that she had driven to the country club.

    Pam and Brian Hermansader brought a recently acquired dark green 1949 Series 62 coupe which Pam called a “barn find.”

    Tom Young came down from Paso Robles. If you have a pre-1939 Cadillac or La Salle in outstanding unrestored condition, Mr. Young would like to hear from you. He has produced no fewer than six Authenticity Manuals for the CLC and is constantly gathering new material. His approach is to photograph the various parts of the car, since one picture is worth a thousand words. His photo catalogue is priceless; there were no parts manuals as such for much of the period he is researching.

    After lunch in the Avalon Ballroom, Stewart Reed of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena spoke to us about that school’s influence on auto design. Strother McMinn started the automotive design school there after a career at GM. The school’s alumni include top people at Audi, Mack and Volkswagen.

    I knew that Mr. Reed was a real artist when he said that there is no substitute for drawing skills. He was quite modest. Reed’s model car was judged the best in class in the State of Michigan for the Fisher Body Craftsman Guild competition. As a youngster he got to meet Bill Mitchell and tour the GM Styling Department. He was with Chrysler Advanced Design for ten years and later Toyota.

    Industrial design is not what it used to be. The Art Center is actively recruiting women. Students do “scenario building” to determine who the customer will be and how that customer will interact with a given design. Pastels, acrylics and oils can now be simulated by computer. Blueprints are passé. Car interiors have become increasingly ergonomic “mobile social spaces.” Reed acknowledged that Americans will not be “herded into” little eco-friendly cars unless they’re also comfy and stylish. But then, you already knew that."




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Date Last Updated: October 21, 2017
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