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."