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Strother MacMinn
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MacMinn, Strother

Carroll Gantz
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Strother MacMinn

U.S. auto designer and educator who grew up in Pasadena CA. A frequent visitor to automobile showrooms and adept at sketching cars, he met and became friends with Franklin Hershey, one of the best designers in the Walter M. Murphy Studio, which designed custom cars. Inspired, MacMinn took a summer class at Art Center School in Los Angeles while in high school and at age 17, in 1936, Hershey offered him a job in the Buick studio at General Motors’ Art and Color Section, just being established by Harley Earl, with Hershey as his boss. Earl set up a new studio in 1937 to design the 1938 Opel Kapitan for GM’s German division, and assigned Frank Hershey to work with Opel’s design liaison officer, Hans Mersheimer. MacMinn, John Coleman, and George Jergenson were on Hershey’s staff. The design included built-in headlights and stretch fenders, and would remain in production until the 1950s. MacMinn worked on designs for GM’s bus for Greyhound, for Frank Springs at Hudson, and for Ed Anderson’s Oldsmobile studio. But his best job was yet to come. Beginning in 1948, he taught automotive design part-time at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA for 50 years, and taught generations of automotive designers who designed cars in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He was instrumental in establishing Toyota’s Calty Design Research, Inc, in 1973, the first automotive design satellite in southern California. He remained a consultant with Toyota until 1983. In addition, he worked independently to design aircraft seats, household products, and fiberglass boats. Since 1947 he wrote and illustrated articles for Road & Track, Motor Trend, Automobile Quarterly, and historical catalog essays for ”Automobile and Culture,”and “Detroit Style: Automotive Form 1925-1950” exhibits in Los Angeles and Detroit.

100 Years of Design consists of excerpts from a book by Carroll M. Gantz, FIDSA, entitled, Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-produced Designs of the 20th Century, published August 2005 by Schiffer Publications, Ltd.
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