Detroit Steel Artists: How Edsel Ford, Ray Dietrich, Tom Hibbard, and Ralph Roberts Turned Motor City Into a Styling Mecca Before Harley Earl (Hardcover)
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" Detroit Steel Artists] is illustrated with sumptuous photos of period cars shot by pros. . . . Woven through the images is a detailed and well-constructed narrative, one that uncovers unsung heroes of the time period." -- Car and Driver Magazine
Printed in a large 12″ x 12″ format with 296 hardbound pages, Detroit Steel Artists is the first comprehensive story of the avant-garde artists of the automotive business--the outcasts who changed Motor City forever and made styling a selling point in the early 1920s. Driving calls it "an almost essential addition to the library of any pre-war American Classic Car Enthusiasts."
The book details how societal changes, including the modernization of business and the women's movement, were powerful factors for styling's rise in significance. The forward-looking semi-custom car designs, from companies such as Le Baron and Dietrich, became a key strategy for styling's acceptance in Detroit for production cars--before Harley Earl.
Inspired by Edsel Ford's vision, Ray Dietrich, Tom Hibbard, and Ralph Roberts battled with engineers and executives in drafting rooms and board rooms over design. Packed with lively first-person stories supported by extensive research, Detroit Steel Artists relates the successes and failures of these pioneering steel artists. With more than a hundred period and modern images, Detroit Steel Artists takes readers on a panoramic tour of some of the most beautiful cars of the Classic Car Era.
About the author . . . Matthew Kilkenny holds degrees from San Jose State University and has a Deming Scholars MBA from Fordham University in New York. A Bay Area native, he's spent his career in engineering and management roles in Silicon Valley, is a judge for the Packard Open Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, and is a member of the Classic Car Club of America, The Packard Club, and the Society of Automotive Historians.