Automobile Design Introduction

Automobile styling has had an important impact on the world-wide economy during the past century and millions of additional vehicles have been sold because of it. The subject of automobile design has not been researched with much depth when compared to the research of fine art or other commercial or industrial arts such as painting, sculpture, ceramics, glass, architecture, furniture, landscape design, interior design, fashion, jewelry, etc. Each of these other subjects has at least dozens and perhaps thousands of volumes written about them. However, automobile design affects millions of people to a greater degree, visually, economically and culturally than many of these other subjects.

All designers like to think that their contribution determines the success of a product and automobile designers know that theirs do. In 1915, the Roamer automobile advertised, “This is a splendid car mechanically, but its appeal to you is based on the unique beauty of its appearance, on its utter distinction of design…” Henry Ford was not concerned with the design of his model T, but its success was due to its engineering prowess. After Ford, Alfred Sloan of General Motors and Harley Earl used design to sell millions of cars. The automobile has usually been designed in regard to general prevailing moods, modest and economical in times of crisis, big and outlandish after World War II.

The mark of the automobile is on every facet of contemporary life. Its mark is on our social and economic structure from the smallest scale of the family to that of our nation. The automobile has changed our visual environment, directly and indirectly, by its presence as an object in great numbers, by the way in which we see at high speeds, by the architectural and engineering structures, which it engenders, and by a multitude of smaller related objects such as clothing and luggage. On our visual environment, the mark of the automobile is both negative and positive. It must be admitted that the automobile directly or indirectly is responsible for a great deal of ugliness.

In tyrannizing the city, it has destroyed many essential urban qualities. It has spawned the endless monotony of sprawling suburbia along with other development, billboards, etc. But the automobile has made a positive contribution to our environment, particularly in terms of the visual experience. It should be recognized as being very important to the arts. The quality of art in any culture is manifested in daily life. The artistic caliber of a people is in the quality of public buildings, furnishing of the home, its line of clothing, etc. For this reason, an interest in art means an interest in the things about us, including the automobile, which has exerted such an enormous influence on our visual environment. Automobile stylists attempt to translate science into art.

The artists, including automobile stylists are visionaries with highly developed intuitive powers. Moving at high speed in the automobile has created new visual images of place in time.












Home | About | Contact | ©2006-2023 The Museum of Automobile Art & Design
Developers of