Buick Y-Job And Other Harley Earl GM Concepts At Upcoming Detroit Concours d’Elegance10
The work of legendary GM design chief Harley Earl will be on display at the upcoming Detroit Concours d’Elegance automotive event set to take place later this week, including the iconic 1938 Buick Y-Job, widely considered to be the first “concept car.”
For those readers who may be unaware, Harley Earl was the first designated head of design at General Motors, spearheading the use of full-scale clay modeling in automotive development, a process still in use throughout the automotive industry today. Born in Hollywood, California, Earl got his start in building custom automotive bodies for the well-to-do, and eventually began working in GM design with the creation of the Art and Color department in the late ‘20s.
During his tenure at GM, Earl attached his name to several iconic GM vehicles, including the 1938 Buick Y-Job. Incorporating notable features like a boat-tail roadster layout, retractable headlights, a power-folding top, power windows, and push-button exterior door handles, the 1938 Buick Y-Job is considered a true masterwork of automotive design.
Now, the Buick Y-Job is set for public display at the upcoming Detroit Concours d’Elegance alongside several other historic vehicles as part of the “Cars of Harley Earl” featured class. The other vehicles set to show include the 1920 Cadillac Type 59C, an example of Earl’s early work, as well as the 1927 LaSalle Series 303, the first production car ever designed by a stylist.
Rounding out the collection will be the 1951 General Motors LaSabre Concept. Considered to be Earl’s greatest work, the LaSabre concept was inspired by jet aircraft, with a body made from aluminum, magnesium, and fiberglass. Notably, the LaSabre later served as Earl’s personal transportation, just like the Buick Y-Job.
All four of these vehicles will be on display at the Detroit Concours d-Elegance between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 18th, 2022. Joining these classics will be a selection of 112 historically significant vehicles in 15 different classes.
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If they’d known how famous it would become, I’m sure they would have chosen a better name than Y Job.
Harley had some really cool ideas. He was pushing for the “low slung” look back in the 30s.
A time when vehicles had style..
A time when design was not centered around meeting the latest and ever-increasing standards of the EPA.
Question was asked if reader knew who Harley Earl was. Wonder if current force of gm designers can answer that question?
Beautiful works of art! Cars are so boring today.
Harley was a true visionary in his time. Wonderful examples of his talent. The Buick LeSabre Concept is 71 years old, and still looks stunning.
They should have left the Concours at Meadowbrook. That was the perfect venue.
I was fortunate to see the Y Job, at the Goodwood Festival, about 20 years ago. It sat alone and unattended. People were more interested in the Formula 1 Renaults of that time and the relaunch of the Maybachs. To my mind Harvey Earl lost the plot in the 1950s and the great designer for GM was Bill Mitchell. Remember that iconing photograph of Mitchell driving the Y job.
I appreciate the GM cars of the 1930s and I have two rhd models, a 34 Chev Sport Roadster and a 1939 Buick Special Cabriolet both with fisher bodies.unique in UK.
I like the 1938 Buick Y-Job (great especially for 1938!), although I frown when looking at the extreme long front and end, but I detest the 1951 General Motors LaSabre Concept, which I see as one of the worst products of the Detroit Baroque era, when cars hat wings and fins, as if they belonged to the Jetson family