Designing Motion. Automotive Designers 1890 to 1990

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Ma rku s Ca spe rs

Markus Caspers

For a long time, car design was considered to be anonymous, the designers stood in the shadow of the perception of the brand, even though their designs can be found on the roads in millions. “Designing Motion” maps the development of car design in the context of industrial design and captures the social history of a profession — based on a comprehensive introduction and the career biographies of over 200 selected designers who contributed to the design of cars in the USA, Europe, and Japan between 1890 and 1990. The diversity of shapes is evident from many pictures.

Aut om 189 otive d 0 to e 199 signer s 0

Markus Caspers is Professor for Design and Media at Neu-Ulm University. He wrote his doctoral thesis on the subject of car design and has published numerous books and contributions on the subject of design, pop culture, and semiotics.

ISBN 978-3-0356-0982-0

9 783035 609820

Concept and layout: Markus Caspers Typesetting: LVD GmbH, Berlin Project management: Silke Martini Translation: Hartwin Busch Copy editing: Julia Dawson Production: Heike Strempel Cover design: Res Eichenberger Design, Zurich Paper: 135 g/m2 Magno volume Printing: BELTZ Bad Langensalza GmbH Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data A CIP catalog record for this book has been applied for at the Library of Congress. Bibliographic information published by the German National Library The German National Library lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, re-use of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in other ways, and storage in databases. For any kind of use, permission of the copyright owner must be obtained. This publication is also available as an e-book (ISBN PDF 978-3-0356-0784-0; ISBN EPUB 978-3-0356-0773-4) and in a German language edition (ISBN 978-3-03560981-3). © 2016 Birkhäuser Verlag GmbH, Basel P.O. Box 44, 4009 Basel, Switzerland Part of Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston Printed on acid-free paper produced from chlorine-free pulp. TCF ∞ Printed in Germany ISBN 978-3-0356-0982-0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


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Design? Automotive Design!


Designing Motor Vehicles


Processes and Training


Phenography of the Automotive Form


Automotive Designers A–Z


Editorial Note


Overview Map


Index of Designers


Index of Models




Internet Sources


List of Illustrations



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Design? Automotive Design! Designer Flaminio Bertoni with a clay model of the CitroĂŤn 7CV, around 1934


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Design? Automotive Design!

Irrespective of which everyday item you can think of, there is always a “design” version. Obviously, every hairdryer has been designed by somebody, a team of professionals has thought about the shape and function of the exterior shell—but in addition, there are the special, usually high-quality and expensive “design” products. While there is a canon of designed objects, some of which have been raised to a status that warrants their inclusion in a museum, it is noteworthy that the word “Design” as used in a German-speaking context primarily refers to furniture, fittings, work tools, household goods, fashion, and much more— but, in most cases, one object is not covered: the automobile. And that, in spite of the fact that this “key technical object of the modern times” as it was called by the philosopher Peter Sloterdijk at the beginning of the 1990s, can be found in front of every house, occupies the streets of towns and cities, is the blessing and curse of the industrial world, still holds the promise of individualization and mobility, and has given people in the twentieth century unimagined freedom of choice. Automotive design developed alongside industrial design, something that is not really surprising considering it is a specialized form of this discipline. In spite of the fact that industrial styling was able to apply itself to the automobile as a mass product much earlier than to many other objects, styling of the automotive mode of transport has not gone beyond the perception of a niche existence. The creators of prototypes or small series of furniture enjoy artist or cult status; they rise to fame, with their names becoming brand names. By comparison, the creators of automobiles produced in their millions remain largely unknown. While it is now expected that people are able to identify “Bauhaus” objects, or “Eames” furniture, nobody talks about a “Buehrig” or an “Opron” that they drive or would like to drive. In common perception, automobiles are differentiated by brands, not by designers. This is also reflected in literature. Works on the subject of automotive design are a rarity worldwide. While in recent decades, in the European—particularly the German-speaking–cultural sphere, a lively A “Buehrig”: Cord 810, 1935. Chief Designer: Gordon Buehrig


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discussion on design theory and history has erupted, the design of automobiles has largely remained a marginal issue in the more important contributions. In the phase of design theory between 1950 and 1980 which was characterized by ideological and social critique, automotive design was referred to as “Styling” in German, thereby implying a somewhat lower form of product design which was solely focused on improving the product’s exchange value. The Briton Reyner Banham was the first—and for a long time the only—European design theorist who included the automobile in his discourse and the canon. From 1955, he wrote in his essays, such as “Machine Aesthetic” and “Design by Choice,” about the product aesthetic, new at the time, and included the automobile as a matter of course. An exception to the above situation can be found in the USA. Here, the history of automotive design is inseparably linked with the idea of self-realization via automobility. Starting from the 1930s, individual ideas and those of society as a whole made their way into the pattern language of the industrial production of consumer articles. Terms such as “streamline,” “rocket age,” and “hot rodding” served as a blueprint for design that, not least, reflected social status. The styling departments of American automobile manufacturers had enormous influence and advanced to the status of creators of collective projections. Consequently, the attention of industrial designers was never just focused on the professional public, but also reached the front pages of popular magazines and the reporting on socially relevant aesthetics. As early as the end of the 1970s, both professional insiders and scientists began work on the history of automotive design. The University of Michigan project is a case in point in which, under the leadership of David Gartman, researchers carried out interviews with the designers of the “big three,” General Motors (GM), Ford, and Chrysler, and thereby—from the late 1980s—recorded the history of a profession. Following the classic automobile boom of the last twenty years, the interest in automotive design has also grown—be it as a characteristic An “Opron”: the Citroën SM from 1970. Chief Designer: Robert Opron


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Designing Motor Vehicles Panhard & Levassor 8 CV from 1899


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Designing Motor Vehicles A Sociohistorical Account In day-to-day discourse, the word “design” is used in the context of everyday objects. In a more specific sense, the term is employed together with the attribute “industrial,” which refers, in the industrial design process, to the professional design of products and objects for the purpose of serial production. Here, the term “Design” as used in a German-speaking context refers to shaping the exterior appearance of objects, which may be produced in infinite numbers. In the European, non-English-speaking arena, “design” has some special connotations. Often, the word is used as an attribute to characterize the exterior form of goods or products as of particularly high value, and aesthetically important. Until a few years ago, the theory of science held that the term “design” involved a special characteristic relating to the exterior form or shape of an object, which was determined by an equally special historical understanding and ideological implications. Design often referred to items that were not produced in serial production and did not have an everyday purpose, but were prototypes or mini-series of high-quality, and hence expensive, products designed by designer artists. So-called “heroic” European design—during the heyday of the Weimar Bauhaus and the Ulm School of Design (HfG: Hochschule für Gestaltung), roughly between 1920 and 1970—was often far removed from mass production. This was because many of the designed objects, although apparently focused purely on functionality, usefulness, usability, and logical application, were so complex and hence expensive in production that they only became available to a small, affluent section of the public. This applies equally to the first steel tube furniture emerging from the Bauhaus and the sound equipment produced by Braun, part of the design of which was developed at the HfG. Furthermore, it was more common in Europe for designers to be designer artists working on their own, and only in exceptional cases (such as Peter Behrens at AEG) did they work with colleagues in a larger design department. Mercedes Landaulet from 1913—Passenger compartment, driver compartment, and bonnet are separate units.


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The economic situation in Europe prior to 1950 favored design efforts that were primarily focused on basic needs, that is, useful items absolutely necessary to daily life; the keyword—sometimes used as a battle cry—of “Existenzminimum” (the bare minimum) was used in the context of the home and mobility. While Europe between the wars concentrated primarily on the creation of acceptable living conditions for the majority, the USA had a much broader layer of blue- and white-collar workers who were able to afford things which in Europe were the preserve of the wealthy, such as electrical appliances, comfortable sanitary installations, and cars. While by and large European design focused on necessities, American design—also referred to as styling—dealt with what was technically and aesthetically possible.

Industrial Design, Automotive Design—the Birth of an Industry When industrial design began to be established in the United States as a new industry, it adopted the organizational patterns that already existed in offices and departments, creating smaller agencies and studios through to the large style departments of the brand manufacturers. Harley Earl and Raymond Loewy, originators of this new field of design almost at the same time, exemplified the type of organizational structures; Earl moved from his native Hollywood to Detroit in 1927 in order to design a new body for the Cadillac marque, LaSalle (part of General Motors). Shortly afterwards, Earl decided to work for GM on a permanent basis, and the corporation initiated the creation of the first automotive design department worldwide—the Art & Colour Section. Right from the start, this was firmly integrated in GM’s processes. Some years later, the Art & Colour Section developed into a network of various studios for the different GM marques and was renamed the Styling Section which, from 1937, with hundreds of employees, was the largest design department worldwide, and has remained so. In 1940, Earl was promoted to Harley Earl at the wheel of the 1927 LaSalle designed by him


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Designing Motor Vehicles

“Die gute Form” chair by Max Bill designed for Horgen, 1949

it was the use value, that is, the long-term benefit to the consumer, which it should all be about. An additional onerous development for automotive design was the fact that the tendency towards reduction and rationality in the European design of the 1920s resulted in rectangular, cubist forms—heralding the death-knell for streamlined forms of objects that move fast through a medium. This meant that automotive design slipped out of the focus of design theory. From then on, the practice of market-conforming industrial shaping of products was referred to as styling. People who carried out styling were considered by many—in particular, German-speaking design theorists—to no longer be designers in the original or heroic sense of the word. Until the later 1970s, the official job description of designers of the automotive sector in Europe and the USA was “stylist.” One of the reasons why the designers of the external shape of automobiles in the USA were not called “designers” but “stylists” was the fact that the term “design” in English is also used in the context of engineering, where it refers to the creation of a plan for the construction or invention of an object. In view of the fact that the companies employed many engineers who developed technical designs, there was a desire to create a differentiation. Furthermore, the term “style” conveyed a sociocultural meaning—as an aesthetic manifestation of social strata and ideas. But it was exactly this implication that was suspect to European designers. The idea was that the function, and later the structure, should define the form, disregarding all contemporary and design accoutrements that were decried as purely pandering to fashion. From 1950, the schism between design and styling took on an almost vehement dimension in the discussion. In the late 1930s, the American designer Brooks Stevens had defined the activity of design as “instilling in the buyer the desire to own something a little newer, a little better, a little sooner than is necessary.” This motto, as the doctrine of “planned obsolescence” through continuous aesthetic innovation, was celebrated by the world of marketing but condemned by de-


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sign theorists. After 1950, there was an attempt in Europe, particularly in Germany, Switzerland, and the Scandinavian countries, to counter this practice with what was referred to as “Die gute Form” (the good form)—a functional and reliable creation of objects, using genuine materials and representing value for money, with “honest forms that are never used in the context of sales propaganda,” and would not have that reprehensible “rapidly changing, fashionable appearance” as the Swiss designer, Max Bill, wrote about it in 1952. “Die gute Form” was sensible, functional, ergonomically optimized, hygienically impeccable, efficient; it was not oriented towards the consumer and his pleasure in using it, which always also includes a symbolic component. Therefore, design following this principle could not be used for social differentiation—it was even opposed to it. But contrary to what was planned, it was not devoid of a social function, because the pricey electrical equipment by Braun could and would only be afforded by a small elite who understood the simplicity of the form as an aesthetic characteristic of its superior taste compared with the “common” people. The simple, tidy, ornament-free became an aesthetic symbol of the expensive, long-lasting, intellectual. In view of the fact that automobiles were styled and therefore did not comply with the design ethos of the “Die gute Form,” most European designers did not bother with car design. They drove cars nevertheless. In the 1950s the founders of the HfG and design greats Max Bill, Otl Aicher, and Hans Gugelot made their way to the university building in a Bentley, Alfa Romeo and Porsche. Max Bill and his Bentley—there was more status and prestige involved than the Swiss proponent of design ethics would admit. The HfG championed modular product designs for industry and less so for the everyday needs of consumers. The automobile was not part of the curriculum. Michael Conrad and Piero Manzoni, both students in Ulm, had to develop their prototype Autonova GT (1964) and Autonova Fam (1965) outside the influence of the university, because car design was deemed to be unethical.

The “good design” chair by Charles and Ray Eames designed for Knoll, 1949


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Processes and Training Strother MacMinn teaching at the Pasadena Art Center College of Design, around 1960


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Processes and Training

ble to say that there were two approaches—that of the pure design room and that of the combined design and modelling studio.

New Members of the Profession and Training Establishing industrial designers in the production process represented a first important step; the next task was attracting and training new blood. Around 1925, most American designers came to the profession from commercial art; just a few had studied architecture—as was common in Europe. With the rise of the automotive industry to become a key industry, the introduction of the conveyor belt, and the all-steel auto body, there was an increased demand for professional designers who had been specially trained for the industry. The generation of designers who had come from coachbuilding—and who were therefore primarily craft-based—was replaced by the second generation, which was influenced by illustration and commercial graphic design. Europe and the USA had some design schools, but automotive design was not a recognized vocation taught by the academic staff who were frequently architects and fine artists. For the special requirements it was necessary to create new training avenues, both inside companies as a professional development program and externally as a course of study. At this stage, the automotive industry proceeded in a similar way as that, a few decades earlier, of the national company associations of coachbuilders who, in 1870, founded schools for their trade—it sponsored or founded its own training establishments. GM built its own institute in 1938, the Detroit Institute of Automobile Styling (DIAS)—an assessment center for budding GM designers. The first regular colleges in America where students could study design were the Pasadena Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles (from 1931) and the Pratt School of Design in New York from 1935. Under the management of the institute’s Dean, James Boudreau, the industrial designers AlexanAdvertisement for the home course “Automobile Styling” of the Detroit Institute of Automobile Styling from 1947


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der Kostellow, Rowena Reed, and Donald Dohner established a course for industrial design at the Pratt Institute. In 1939, the curriculum was revised to include many elements of the legendary “Vorkurs” (foundation course) from the Bauhaus. A large proportion of American automobile designers had studied at one of these two schools—both GM and Chrysler, as well as the smaller manufacturers, recruited their young design staff from there. Harley Earl selected the first women-only design team, the “Damsels of Design,” primarily from the Pratt Institute. It was not until the 1950s that several art and design universities in the USA and Europe began to focus on industrial design in general and automotive design in particular. For this reason, many European designers who started their career between 1955 and 1970 did not have the benefit of design training as it is understood today, but joined the design departments as draftsmen or illustrators; that was as true for Pininfarina as it was for Mercedes-Benz, Opel and Auto Union. One of the most influential persons involved in teaching skills relating to automotive design at an early stage was Andrew F. Johnson. From 1892 to 1926 he was Head of the New York Technical School for Carriage and Automobile Body Designers and Draftsmen, and after its closure he established a private, distance-learning school for automotive design, which he ran until his death in 1943. His students included the three sons of the auto body builder and press works owner, Lawrence Fisher (Fisher Body), who, in 1930, founded the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild. Back in 1919, General Motors had already acquired a majority holding in the auto body company (pressworks), Fisher Body, and, in 1929, made the company its main supplier of auto bodies. At that time, it was recognized that it was necessary to attract enough young people to the design profession and to train them. To this end, advertisements in the USA promoted the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild, a talent competition initially for model building and, from 1937, also for design. In a multi-stage process, prizewinners of the competition from different Federal States were invited to compete against each other in Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild, 1960s


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Phenography of the Automotive Form Tatra 602 from 1956—post-war streamline design from the former Czechoslovakia


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Phenography of the Automotive Form

Influences of Large-Scale Technologies—Nautics and Aeronautics (1890–1920) Its provenence from the (horse-drawn) coach was an aesthetic problem for the automobile right from the beginning. By around 1900, the coach had become an “old technology”; by contrast, the large-scale technologies needed for ships and aircraft were new and forward-looking. Even the bicycle with its socketed steel tubes and balloon tires represented a more trendy means of transport at the time of the Art Nouveau style; it was lightweight, fast, agile, and had acquired erotic connotations due to advertising campaigns. Faster, bigger, further—the Blue Riband for the fastest Atlantic crossing, the largest cruisers, the most luxurious steamers—these all inspired people’s fantasy at the time. Aircraft at this time were still clunky, scarcely clad skeletons, but they soon replaced ships as the icons of technology. This also affected automotive design. From the point of view of formal aesthetics and material technology, the motor car initially took its cues from the boat, because people could not conceive of it having its own form; however, the shape was inverted—the pointed bow of the boat became the boat tail, that is, the pointed rear end of the auto body. The mighty, upright radiators at the front of automobiles resisted cladding or a change of form until Mercedes-Benz had the idea, in 1913, to kink the radiator/its housing and thereby place it dynamically more beneficially to face the airflow. For almost half a century, the automobile’s underlying technology concept relied on “borrowed identities.” Ships and aircraft were technically constructed objects too, but the necessity to travel through water/ air with the least dynamic resistance forced designers to adopt different shapes right from the beginning. The ship especially was considered the archetype of a flowing and, at the same time, enclosing form. From 1870, the industrial nations used shipping fleets as large-scale technical means of asserting imperial and colonial interests as part of military and Peugeot Type 4 from 1892: a vehicle with elements of a horse-drawn coach, a pram, and a gondola. The model is called the Visà-Vis and has passengers sitting opposite each other.


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trade policies. The shape of ships was investigated scientifically; laboratory-based research into fluid mechanics started. But it took quite some time until contemporaries recognized that a car too has to overcome air resistance, and that the function of the body shell is not just to protect the passengers and luggage against the effects of the weather, as was the case with the horse-drawn coach. The first fully enclosed cars were created between 1910 and 1925 and were manufactured as prototypes for record or sports events—the Blitzen-Benz and Castagna Alfa Romeo, but also Edmund Rumpler’s Tropfenwagen. The shape was referred to as a “torpedo,” borrowing the term from the underwater missiles used by large destroyers. The torpedo shape, which had already been used by Camille Jenatzy in 1899 with “La Jamais Contente,” until 1920 appeared to auto body builders to be the optimum shape in terms of fluid dynamics.

Tendency Towards the (Streamlined) Enclosed Form (1920–1950) As the speed of automobiles increased and, in parallel, more research was done into fluid mechanics, people started to gain a better understanding of the not inconsiderable factor of air resistance; this changed the shape of the automobile. The torpedo shape was based on the assumption that the car body only consisted of the underbody and any components projecting from it, the engine/drive, the seats, and possibly a space for luggage. The wheels and suspension were initially left out of the equation; they were even ignored. It was not until 1920 that it was understood that an enclosed auto body also enveloped the wheels—the Ley T6 by Paul Jaray (1922) was the first completely enclosed automobile in the modern sense. Fluid dynamics taught designers that the spindle shape is the ideal flow form when a body moves through a medium, that is to say, with the medium being all around. It took a while until engineers understood “La Jamais Contente” of racing driver Camille Jenatzy from 1899. Speed: 100 km/h; electric drive, pneumatic tires, torpedo shape. The driver’s body projects far above the auto body.


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Automotive Designers A–Z The Borgward styling department, around 1953


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A Hermann Ahrens 1904–1995 Horch Mercedes-Benz MB 540 Autobahnkurier MB 500 K MB 300 “Adenauer” MB 190 SL (1955) MB LKW “Neue Generation”

Carlo Felice Bianchi Anderloni 1916–2003 Touring Alfa Romeo Maserati 3500 GT Aston Martin DB 4 Lamborghini 350 GT

Ahrens was working in auto body design at Horch when, in 1932, he was poached by Daimler-Benz in order to give the brand a more modern, more elegant appearance. Its rear-engine type 130 from 1934 was not yet convincing but, with the streamline sedan types 320/540 K Special Roadster from 1937 and the MB 500 K, Ahrens produced formative designs. After the war, he designed the MB 300 Adenauer (1954–1960) and the 190 SL (1955) together with Friedrich Geiger. From the middle of the 1950s he was responsible for the design of com-

mercial vehicles at Mercedes-Benz, initially the forward-control truck LKW LP 315, also referred as cab-over-engine truck, the O 321 omnibus and the type L/O 319 minibus. This meant that in the 1950s, Daimler-Benz was one of the first manufacturers to use design criteria for commercial vehicles too to support a brand image. The fronts of the trucks and buses featured clear references to the 300 SL and 190 SL sports models. From 1973, Ahrens also contributed to the design of the “new generation” trucks.

MB 540 Autobahnkurier, 1937

Prototype of a “small Mercedes,” 1957

After completing his studies at the Milan Polytechnic, in 1940 Anderloni joined Carrozzeria Touring, which had been founded by his father. His first designs included the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500SS coupe and the Villa d’Este Coupe. Following the death of his father in 1949, Anderloni became responsible for both design and auto body development at Touring. His most important designs, which

contributed to the image of modern Italian automotive design, were created between 1950 and 1965—the Ferrari 166 S, the Lancia Flaminia GT, the Maserati 3500, the Hudson Italia, the Aston Martin DB4 and DB5, the Alfa Romeo 1900 Sprint, and the 2000 Touring Spider and Lamborghini 350 GTV. Following the closure of Touring in 1966, Anderloni worked as a design consultant for Alfa Romeo.

Lancia Flaminia Cabriolet, 1959


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A Anderson had been designer in the Oldsmobile Studio at GM since 1936 until, in 1950, he was headhunted by George W. Mason, the president of Nash Motors, and asked to build up a design department at Nash. Prior to that date, the company had worked exclusively with external designers. Anderson retained this practice. He won Battista Pininfarina for some projects, even though the Pininfarina designs produced were, in the main, by Anderson himself. Between 1950 and 1955 he retained Helene Rother, who was considered a specialist in interior design. The famous Nash Metropolitan was the work of William Flajole, the Hudsons of 1956–57 that of Richard Arbib. Following the merger of Nash and Hudson to form American Motors in 1954, the respective studios were amalgamated after a short period. AMC suffered from a chronic shortage

of cash, which is why all designs were governed by the principle of minimal tooling costs. Until his departure in 1961, Anderson was deemed to be responsible for the much praised Rambler American line.

Jean Andreau was a French constructor who had been experimenting with streamline designs since the late 1920s and who, in the 1930s, became well known for his designs for Peugeot (the 402), Delage, and

Hispano-Suiza. He also designed the shape of the Thunderbolt record vehicle by George Eyston in 1938. During and after World War Two he worked on the small front-driven Mathis 333 and 666 cars.

Edmund A. Anderson 1906–1989 GM Nash AMC Rambler American

Nash Rambler, 1953

AMC American, 1961

Jean Andreau 1890–1953 Own studio Peugeot Delage Hispano-Suiza Mathis Peugeot 402 Mathis 333

Peugeot 402, 1937

Mathis 333, 1951


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H Ron Hickman 1932–2011 Ford Lotus Ford Anglia Lotus Elite Lotus Elan Lotus Europa

Wilhelm Hofmeister 1912–1978 BMW BMW 700 BMW 3200 CS BMW 1500 BMW 2000

Hickman was born in South Africa. In 1954, he moved to London with the aim of becoming an automobile designer. He was employed as a model maker by Ford in Dagenham. Just a few months later, he was involved in the design of the Ford Anglia 105 E. In 1957 he met the Lotus founder, Colin Chapman, who was looking for qualified staff for his new serial production vehicles. Hickman joined Lotus and, on the side, worked as furniture designer. The Lotus Elite was his first design job at Lotus—its styling was highly acclaimed, but financially it was a fiasco. His next design, the Lotus Elan

of 1962, brought worldwide recognition of the company and the designer. In 1967, Hickman and his design studio became independent. One of the most successful objects designed by him is the Workmate work bench, for which Black & Decker acquired the license in 1970.

Initially, Hofmeister worked for the long-standing BMW Chief of Design, Peter Szymanowski, before he participated in the design of the new modern line of BMW from 1957. After the near-crash of the company and the threatened takeover by Mercedes-Benz in 1958, Hofmeister worked with Bertone and Michelotti on new styling for BMW cars. The small BMW 700 (Michelotti), the new BMW 1500 class (Michelotti), and the BMW 3200 CS (Bertone) were

created under his management, and established the image of the brand as progressive and sporty. Hofmeister has given his name to the BMW design characteristic known as the “Hofmeister kink,” a typical feature of the rear side window which, however, had been introduced by Howard Darrin on the Kaiser Manhattan model of 1952 and later reappeared in some Bertone designs of the early 1960s. Hofmeister remained Chief of Design until 1970; his successor was Paul Bracq.

BMW 700, 1959

BMW 3200 CS, 1961

Lotus Elan, 1962

BMW 2000, 1966


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H Holls studied industrial design at Michigan State University and, after his graduation in 1952, worked for GM. Harley Earl took Holls into the Cadillac studio, where he worked on the iconic 1959 Cadillacs with the bullet tail lights. In 1960, Holls was transferred to the Chevrolet studio and was involved in the development of the split-window Corvette. In 1961 he became Chief of Design for Buick and, in this position, largely influenced the design of the Buick Riviera of 1966.

Between 1966 and 1970 he headed up the design of the new Corvette and the first Camaro. In 1970, Holls went to Opel, initially as Chuck Jordan’s assistant, and one year later was promoted to Chief of Design. In 1986 Holls was appointed Director of Design at GM. He retired in 1991. Together with Michael Lamm, he authored the standard publication on American automotive design, A Century of Automotive Style, which was published in 1996.

David Holls 1931–2011 GM Opel Cadillac 1959 Buick Riviera Chevrolet Camaro Opel CD Bitter CD Cadillac STS

Chevrolet Camaro, 1969

The I.De.A Institute was founded as a design company in 1978 by Franco Mantegazza and the architect Renzo Piano following the example of Giorgio Giugiaro’s Italdesign. However, from the very beginning, I.De.A focused not on classic design, but on the development of type series and platform concepts. In 1983, Ercole Spada became Chief of Design, but he left the company again in the mid-1990s. I.De.A

developed a platform concept, initially for the Fiat Group, but Japanese, Chinese, and Indian (Tata) manufacturers were also interested in the expertise. With a staff of over two hundred, I.De.A became the third largest design company in Italy, but struggled financially as a result of the 2007 crisis and was acquired by a financial investor in 2010.

Tata Nano, 2000

Fiat Tipo, 1981

I.De.A Institute 1978 Lancia Fiat Daihatsu Daewoo Tata


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J Chuck Jordan 1927–2010 GM Opel Cadillac Eldorado ’59 Buick Centurion Chevrolet Corvette 2 Buick Riviera Opel GT Opel CD Opel Manta Chevrolet STS

When still a child, Jordan was already drawing cars and, as a teenager, he modeled his designs in gypsum. Jordan studied construction and design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and, during his time as a student, submitted a model to the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild. He won the top prize and was given the opportunity to join GM immediately after qualifying in 1949. His first designs were construction machines and the GM Aerotrain. At the early age of thirty, Jordan became Director of Design of the Cadillac studio, and in this position was responsible for the Eldorados of 1958/59. In 1962, LIFE magazine included him in a list of the hundred most influential people in the USA. After Harley Earl’s departure, Jordan remained under Bill Mitchell as one of

the most important GM designers and contributed to many iconic designs of the 1960s. In 1967, Jordan moved to Opel in Rüsselsheim as Head of Design and successor to Clare MacKichan, and there intitiated a series of remarkable concept cars and serial models that made the Opel brand a design pioneer in Europe. In 1971 Jordan returned to Detroit and worked as Director of Design of various studios before he became Vice President of Design as successor to Irv Rybicki in 1986. In 1992 he took retirement from this position, but continued to teach automotive design. Jordan was one of the last influential representatives of an intuitive approach to design, which did not rely on market research but on aesthetic aspects.

Opel CD Study, 1969

Chevrolet Corvair Study, 1964

GM Aerotrain, 1957


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J Juchet was an enthusiastic draftsman and was fascinated by aviation and aerodynamics. After completing his studies and military service, he took up a post at Renault in 1958 as specialist for aerodynamics and contributed to facelifts for the Frégate and Caravelle models. From 1961, he was involved in the project 115/Renault 1500, the precursor of the legendary Renault 16. After the designs by Philippe Charbonneaux and Ghia had been turned down, it was Juchet’s designs that became the basis for the serial production model. In 1965, Juchet became Head of Style Renault. Until 1975 he was responsible for the

design of most Renault models; then, Robert Opron (who previously worked for Citroën) took over the management at Style Renault and Juchet was part of his team. Opron had been engaged to bring new flair to Renault design after the long dominance of Auto Body Development. When Opron left in 1984, Juchet was again appointed Head of Design. In 1987 he was replaced by Patrick Le Quément. Juchet cultivated a close professional relationship with Italian studios and designers such as Marcello Gandini, Giorgio Giugiaro, and Sergio Coggiola, and also with the Chief of Design at AMC, Richard Teague.

Gaston Juchet 1930–2007 Renault Renault R16 Renault R12, 15, 17, 30

Renault R16, 1965

Rendering of Renault R17, 1970

Kady started work at GM in 1961 and was soon asked to join the Cadillac studio, where he contributed to the design of the 1965 model. In 1968, Kady was promoted to Chief Designer in the Advanced Cadillac studio. From then on, the large sedans of the early 1970s bore his signature, especially the 1971 Eldorado. In 1972, Kady became Chief of Design at the Buick studio, but after two years returned to Cadillac, where he remained as head

of the studio until 1988. In 1988, Kady returned to Buick as Chief of Design of the Buick Studio No. 2. He retired in 1999.

Wayne Kady 1936 GM Cadillac Eldorado Cadillac Brougham, Fleetwood Buick

Cadillac Eldorado, 1971


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S Bruno Sacco 1933 Mercedes-Benz MB 600 W100 C-111 ESF W126 S-Class W201 C-Class SL 500 R 129

Having trained as a field surveyor, Sacco studied at Turin Polytechnic. When, in 1951, he saw a show car designed by Raymond Loewy, he decided that he wanted to become an automobile designer. Sacco had already supplied first designs to Ghia and Pininfarina while still a student. At Ghia, he worked together with Giovanni Savonuzzi and Sergio Sartorelli. Sacco’s knowledge of the German language led to a meeting with Karl Wilfert. The latter invited Sacco to Mercedes-Benz in 1957 and, in 1958, Sacco started there as the second stylist next to Paul Bracq. In 1975, he followed in the footsteps of Friedrich Geiger as head of the main style department. In addition to current projects, he also worked on future

projects such as the C-111 Wankel sports car, and the ESF (experimental safety vehicle). The first production design bearing his signature was the W126 S-Class with a moderate wedge shape and the side bumper panels that were later colloquially referred to as “Sacco panels.” In 1980, Sacco defined the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy as “vertical affinity” (aesthetic longevity) and “horizontal homogeneity”—design characteristics such as the radiator grille, headlights, and rear lights should be recognizable in all lines. The W201 “Baby Benz” followed in 1982, a model designed to appeal to a different category of buyer. In 1987, Sacco was appointed Director of Design. In 1999 he handed over to Peter Pfeiffer and left the company.

Mercedes C-111, 1969/71

Mercedes S-Class, 1979

Mercedes 190, 1983

Mercedes 500 SL, 1990


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S After the Russian October Revolution, Sakhnoffsky emigrated to Paris in 1918. In 1919, the family moved to Switzerland. Sakhnoffsky established a reputation as illustrator and designer. From 1923, he worked for Vanden Plas in Brussels and advanced from a simple designer to design consultant. In 1929, Sakhnoffsky accepted an offer from the Hayes Body Corporation and settled in the USA. At Hayes he designed auto bodies for Auburn, Cord and American Austin. He won two European design prizes for the Cord L-29, which he designed as his private vehicle in 1929. At the beginning of the 1930s Sakhnoffsky joined Packard, but after a short spell

he moved to White Trucks, for which he designed sensational HGVs with special bodies. During that time, Sakhnoffsky was one of the best-known designers of the streamline style in the USA. In the 1940s and 1950s he worked as freelancer in the Brooks Stevens studio and designed bicycles, kitchen utensils, and furniture for various manufacturers. He had become technical adviser to the Esquire men’s magazine in 1934 and retained that position until his death. At the beginning of the 1950s, Sakhnoffsky joined forces with Preston Tucker to establish a sports car production facility for the Tucker Carioca; however, these plans did not materialize.

Alexis de Sakhnoffsky 1901–1964 Vanden Plas Hayes Packard Cord L-29 1933 Nash 1934 LaSalle White Trucks

White Truck, 1936

Tucker Carioca, 1955

White Biertransporter, 1939

During the 1940s and until the 1960s, Salomone, together with Franco Martinengo, was chief designer and head of the studio at Pininfarina. The first designs attributed to him include the

Lancia B24 and various Ferrari models of the early 1950s. One of his last projects was the Ferrari 275 GTB of 1964.

Francesco Salomone (?) Pininfarina Lancia B24 Ferrari 275 GTB

Lancia B24, 1955

Ferrari 256 GTB, 1964


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S Ercole Spada 1937 Zagato Ghia BMW I.De.A Institute Spadaconcept Aston Martin DB4 Zagato Lancia Flavia Sport Lancia Fulvia Zagato Alfa Romeo Junior Z BMW E32, 34 Fiat Tipo Alfa Romeo 166

Spada studied mechanical engineering in Milan. In 1960 he applied for a job with Carrozzeria Zagato and, within a few months, was promoted to Chief of Design. One of his first orders was the Aston Martin DB4 Zagato. This was followed by more spectacular designs, such as the Junior Zagato and the 2600 SZ for Alfa Romeo, and the Lancia Fulvia Sport. In 1969, Spada joined Ghia as Chief of Design and worked on Ford studies. In 1977, Spada became Chief of Design at BMW. Together with Claus Luthe, he

designed the E32 (7 Series) and E34 (5 Series). In 1983, Spada returned to Italy and became Head of Design at the I.De.A Institute, where he designed large series production vehicles for the Fiat corporation based on the newly developed Tipo platform; he also worked for Alfa Romeo and Lancia. Spada’s last design for the Fiat corporation was the Alfa Romeo 166. After a short spell with Zagato, Spada set up the Spadaconcept design studio in Turin in 2006, together with his son Paolo, and Domiziano Boschi.

Lancia Fulvia Sport, 1965

Alfa Romeo Junior, 1969

BMW E32, 1986

Alfa Romeo 166, 1998


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S Gil Spear studied design at the Pratt Institute and, in 1937, started to work for GM. He went to Norman Bel Geddes in 1938, and worked at the GM Futurama exhibit for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. After that, Spear joined Chrysler and worked under Robert Cadwallader. In 1942, he joined Briggs, the auto body supplier. In 1947, Spear became designer at

Ford. There he was responsible for the production of the 1949 to 1951 models; after that, he took charge of the reorganization of the Ford advanced studio for future studies. At the beginning of the 1960s, Spear became head of the international Lincoln/Mercury studios and, in 1967, Chief Designer at Ford England for the design of the Capri. Spear retired in 1974.

Gil A. Spear 1915–2009 Bel Geddes Chrysler Ford 1942 Chrysler 1950 Ford Ford Capri 1

Chrysler, 1942

Ford Muroc Study, 1952

Ford Capri 1, 1968

Spring studied engineering at the Paris Polytechnic and later took his first employment with a car company in Ohio. From the early 1920s, he was a designer with Murphy coachbuilders, where he became Managing Director in 1924. In 1931, he went to Hudson as head of auto body engineering. Spring wanted to push through a low roof line as early as 1937, but was

thwarted by the conservative management. It was not until 1947 that the revolutionary “step-down” Hudson models were launched, which made the company a style leader for a short period. In 1954, the Hudson Italia sports car was launched, which was designed under Spring’s management and was built by Touring.

Frank Spring 1893–1959 Hudson Hudson Commodore Hudson Italia

Hudson Commodore, 1949


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Index of Designers

Ahrens, Hermann: 64, 114

Coggiola, Sergio: 86, 92, 103, 121, 164

Gale, Thomas C.: 106

Anderloni, Carlo Felice Bianchi: 35, 64, 179

Colani, Luigi: 86

Gallion, George A.: 106

Anderson, Edmund A.: 65, 176

Conrad, Michael: 30, 87, 138

Gallitzendörfer, Joseph: 107

Andreau, Jean: 52, 65

Coune, Jacques: 87

Ganz, Josef: 107

Arbib, Richard: 64, 66

Cressoni, Ermanno: 84, 88, 168

Gandini, Marcello: 58, 72, 92, 108, 110, 121 Geiger, Friedrich: 56, 64, 107, 109, 160, 186

Ash, L. David: 19, 66, 150 Axe, Roy: 67, 75

Dahlberg, Wesley P.: 32, 56, 68, 88 Damsels of Design: 43, 89, 182

Bache, David: 36, 67–68, 180 Bahnsen, Uwe: 32, 56, 68, 88, 131 Bangle, Chris: 69, 88 Barbaz, George: 69 Barthaud, Robert: 70 Beeskow, Johannes: 70, 99

Darrin, Howard: 89–90, 94, 116, 128, 181, 185 DeCausse, Franklin: 91 Delaisse, Carlo: 91 Deschamps, Marc: 73, 92 Deutsch, Charles: 86, 92,

Bel Geddes, Norman: 40, 52, 71, 173

Dienst, Josef: 93

Bertone, Carrozzeria: 33, 34, 58, 59, 71–73, 83, 90, 92, 108, 110, 116, 139, 142, 152, 167, 168, 170, 190

Dietel, Karl Clauss: 93 Dietrich, Raymond, H.: 82, 83, 94, 114, 119, 128, 136, 147, 157

Bertone, Nuccio: 71–73, 108, 167

Dryden, Helen: 95, 132, 184

Ghia, Carrozzeria: 33-35, 56, 70, 72, 76, 86, 100, 105, 108, 109–110, 121, 139, 142, 146, 150, 152, 156, 160, 163–165, 170, 172, 178, 183 Giugiaro, Giorgietto: 18–19, 34, 58–59, 72, 108, 110–111, 121, 142, 168 Goertz, Albrecht von: 112, 132, 148 Green, Mary Ellen: 112 Gregorie, Eugene “Bob”: 113, 145, 178 Grisinger, Arnott “Buzz”: 113, 185 Gropius, Walter: 22, 113 Gubitz, Werner: 90, 114, 136, 155, 181 Gurney Nutting, Coachbuilders: 20, 33, 76, 114

Bertoni, Flaminio: 7, 74, 149 Bertram, Georg: 75 Bionier, Louis: 75 Blakeslee, Arthur: 75

Earl, Harley J.: 17, 25–27, 31, 41, 43, 45, 54, 55, 81, 84, 89, 95–97, 115, 117, 128, 133, 136, 143, 156, 178, 184

Häcker, Walter: 114 Haynes, Roy D.: 115, 137

Enever, Sidney: 97

Herlitz, John Eric: 115

Engel, Elwood: 30, 56, 83, 98, 101, 150, 181, 184

Hershey, Frank: 97, 115, 137, 141, 146, 176

Boano Carrozzeria: 35, 76, 164

Hickman, Ron: 116

Boano, Felice Mario: 57, 76, 109, 165, 170

Envall, Björn: 99

Hofmeister, Wilhelm: 75, 90, 116, 156, 175

Boneschi, Carrozzeria: 35, 77

Erdmann & Rossi: 20, 33, 70, 99

Holls, David: 117

Bonetto, Rodolfo: 77

Exner, Virgil sen.: 31, 79, 83, 98, 100–101, 109, 132, 151, 170, 176, 186

I.De.A Institute: 117, 172

Bourke, Robert, E.: 79, 125, 151

Fantuzzi, Medardo: 35, 101

Italdesign: 34, 36, 58, 110–111, 117, 152, 190

Bouvot, Paul: 79, 92, 186

Farina, Battista: 101, 152

Boyer, Boyke: 79

Farina, Giovanni: 101, 152

James, Norman, J.: 55, 118

Bracq, Paul: 36, 56, 58, 80, 109, 116, 134, 156, 160, 186

Farina, Stabilimenti: 20, 76, 101, 105, 139, 142, 152, 157, 182

Jaray, Paul: 22, 51, 52, 118, 122, 123

Brock, Peter: 81

Feeley, Frank: 101 Figoni & Falaschi: 84, 102, 163

Johnson, Andrew F.: 43, 119

Brovarone, Aldo: 40, 81, 139 Buehrig, Gordon: 8, 82, 128, 132, 137

Fioravanti, Leonardo: 81, 102, 139, 155

Bugatti, Jean: 82

Fiore, Trevor: 103

Burzi, Ricardo: 82, 125

Fissore, Carrozzeria: 36, 103

Blatchley, John Polwhele: 76, 114, 125

Bordinat, Eugene: 19, 78, 98, 184 Boué, Michel: 78

Flajole, William: 64, 104 Cadwallader, Robert: 83, 173

Flowers, Allan: 104

Caleal, Richard: 83, 98, 125, 132, 150, 184

Franay, Carrosserie: 20, 33, 104

Castagnero, Pietro: 83

Frua, Pietro: 19, 34–35, 105, 110, 142, 152, 170

Cattoni, Ernesto: 84 Charbonneaux, Philippe: 40, 70, 80, 84, 121

Fuller, Richard Buckminster: 106

Cherry, Wayne: 85

Jeffries, Dean: 119 Jones, David: 119 Jordan, Chuck: 44, 106, 120, 169 Juchet, Gaston: 78, 84, 121, 149, 150, 154 Kady, Wayne: 121 Kamm, Wunibald: 22, 52, 118, 122, 123 Kapitza, Klaus: 122 Karen, Tom: 123, 148 Klie, Heinrich: 123, 154 Kodama, Hideo: 124 Koenig-Fachsenfeld, Reinhard v.: 123


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Komenda, Erwin: 124, 154

Northup, Amos: 147, 184

Schäfer, Herbert: 168

Koren, Vilhelm: 125

Nozaki, Satoru: 112, 148

Schnell, Erhard: 124, 136, 169

Koto, Holden “Bob”: 79, 83, 125, 132, 151, 184

Ogle, David: 123, 148

Seer, Hans: 170

Ogle Design: 123, 148, 175

Segre, Luigi: 76, 98, 100, 109–110, 164, 170

Olbrich, Josef Maria: 148

Shinoda, Lawrence Kiyoshi: 127, 156, 171

Opron, Robert: 8–9, 92, 121, 149, 188

Schlör, Karl: 22, 171

Oros, Joe: 19, 66, 83, 98, 150, 177, 184

Spada, Ercole: 117, 134, 172, 188

Ousset, Jacques: 70, 150

Spear, Gil A.: 173

Lagaay, Harm: 126, 144 LaGassey, Homer: 126 Lapine, Anatole C.: 126–127, 144, 171 Lawson, George S.: 127, 181 Leamy, Alan H.: 128 LeBaron Coachbuilders: 33, 94, 114, 128, 157, 180, 181

Seehaus, Wolfgang: 169

Spring, Frank: 115, 137, 173 Paulin, Georges: 151

Stevens, Clifford Brooks: 29, 113, 174

Pietsch, Theodore Wells: 151

Stevens, Peter: 175, 187

Pininfarina, Battista: 64, 77, 152

Szymanowski, Peter: 116, 175

Pininfarina, Carrozzeria: 33–34, 40, 43, 55, 57, 59, 64, 67, 72, 76, 81, 83, 97, 102, 110, 139, 142, 152–153, 155, 157, 160, 161, 163, 167, 170, 175, 178–179, 186, 190

Teague, Richard A.: 112, 121, 136, 176

Porsche, Ferdinand Alexander: 129, 154

Thatcher, Betty: 45, 150, 177

Luthe, Claus: 57, 79, 122, 134, 156, 172

Porter, Bill: 154

Tjaarda, John: 125, 178

Lyons, William: 135

Prost-Dame, Claude: 154

Tjaarda, Tom: 178

Macauley, Edward: 136, 176

Rabbone, Adriano: 155

MacKichan, Clare: 36, 120, 124, 136, 141, 144, 146, 149

Ramaciotti, Lorenzo: 155

MacMinn, Strother: 39, 137, 141

Rennen, Manfred: 75, 156

Le Corbusier: 129 Ledwinka, Hans: 22, 118, 129 Lepoix, Louis Lucien: 130 Lobo, Claude: 130 Le Quément, Patrick: 131 Loewy, Raymond: 17–18, 25–26, 40, 54, 79, 83, 100, 112, 125, 132–133, 160, 184

Mann, Harris: 115, 137, 139 Manzoni, Piero: 30, 138 Marcks, Bob: 138

Reinhart, John M.: 136, 155 Renner, Carl Heinz: 136, 156 Revelli di Beaumont, Mario: 103, 157

Martin, Paolo: 19, 135

RLA: 18, 79, 82–83, 95, 100, 112, 125, 132–133, 137–138, 151, 155

Martinengo, Franco: 139, 161

Roberts, Ralph: 125, 128, 157, 181, 185

Matano, Tsotomu: 140

Rother, Helene: 45, 64, 158

Matsuo, Yohishiko: 140

Rumpler, Edmund: 22, 158

McRae, Duncan: 83, 140

Rybicki, Irving: 159

Mersheimer, Hans: 137, 141

Telnack, Jack: 177

Touring, Carrozzeria: 33, 35, 55, 65, 101, 152, 173, 179–180, 188 Towns, William: 180 Tremulis, Alexander: 12, 54, 56, 127–128, 157, 180–181 Vanderbilt, Suzanne: 45, 89, 182 Vignale, Carrozzeria: 35, 76, 77, 142, 182–183 Vignale, Alfredo: 142, 182–183 Volanis, Antoine: 183 Walker, George: 56, 78, 83, 98, 115, 150, 184 Warkuß, Hartmut: 168, 185

Meyerhuber, Wilhelm: 141, 175

Sacco, Bruno: 80, 107, 109, 160, 186

Weissinger, Herbert: 185

Michelotti, Giovanni: 18, 34–36, 57, 75, 105, 110, 116, 139, 142, 152, 157, 164, 182

Sakhnoffsky, Alexis de: 161

Welter, Gérard: 186

Mitchell, William: 44–45, 81, 89, 120, 143, 156, 159, 171

Salomone, Francesco: 161

Wilfert, Karl: 80, 160, 186

Samsen, John: 162

Wilsgaard, Jan: 187

Saoutchik, Jacques: 33, 162–163

Winterbottom, Oliver: 187

Möbius, Wolfgang: 144 Mollino, Carlo: 144 Muth, Hans A.: 145 Najjar, John Ferzely: 19, 66, 145 Nesbitt, Dick: 146 Neumann-Neander, Ernst: 146 Nickles, Ned: 146 North, David: 147

Sapino, Filippo: 163 Sartorelli, Sergio: 110, 160, 164

Zagato, Carrozzeria: 83, 172, 188

Sason, Sixten: 165

Zagato, Ugo: 188

Savonuzzi, Giovanni: 110, 160, 164–165 Sayer, Malcolm: 135, 166 Scaglietti, Carrozzeria: 166 Scaglione, Franco: 72, 167 Scarnati, Giuseppe: 84, 167, 168


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