Gordon M

Tuesday 28th February 1933

Gordon M. Buehrig joined General Motors Styling. Born in 1904, Buehrig was associated with many specialty-car manufacturers and with both the Ford Motor Company and the General Motors Corporation. After briefly attending Bradley University, he took a job as an apprentice at a small auto-body company in Wayne, Mich. He then worked for Packard, General Motors and Stutz, where he became chief body designer at 24 years old. A year later, in 1929, he was lured away by Duesenberg, where he designed half the company’s prestigious line, including the ”Twenty Grand,” a one-of-a-kind car that sold for $20,000 after being exhibited at the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago. With his design of the 1935 Auburn Speedster he helped salvage the Auburn company, which like Duesenberg was owned by E. L. Cord. But it was the 1935 Cord, with its front-wheel drive, flip-top headlights, coffin-like nose and chassis into which riders stepped down, not up, that captured the most public attention when it was shown for the first time at the Auto Show in Grand Central Palace. In World War II he joined Studebaker and worked on the radically different 1947 Studebaker with its bullet-shaped hood. By 1950 he was with Ford, where he designed the 1951 Victoria, a hardtop coupe, and later the 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II. He is also credited with inventing the T-top which was patented in 1951. Retiring in 1965, he became an instructor at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. In the decade before his death he directed production of precision car models for the Franklin Mint. A fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers, he was named in 1981 by the Society of Automotive Historians as one of the 30 most significant contributors to the development of motor cars, and shortly before his death in 1990 he was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

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