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Hershey, Franklin (Frank) Q.

Carroll Gantz
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Hershey, Frank Q.jpg

U.S. automotive designer who was born in Michigan and raised in Beverly Hills and La Puente, CA. He attended Occidental College in Los Angeles where he majored in forestry. He began his career in 1927 at Murphy Coach Works of Pasadena under the guidance of Frank Spring, who was a good friend of Frank’s mother’s financial advisor. Within a few months Frank was designing custom car bodies for Duesenbergs and the 1932 Peerless X-D V-16 prototype. When Murphy went out of business, both Franks went to Detroit. In 1932, he went to work for Harley Earl at GM, and worked on Pontiac models 1933 through 1940, designing the ‘Silver Streak’ of chrome theme that the brand continued until 1956. In 1936 he was assigned to GM’s Opel design office in Germany, where he styled the 1938 Opel Kapitan. After Germany, he was made head of the GM Advanced Styling Studio in Detroit. He and Bill Mitchell served in the Navy during World War II. Returning to GM in 1944, Frank was put in charge of the Cadillac studio, and designed the 1948 Cadillac, the first GM car with tail fins. He had been with Bill Mitchell in the late 1930s when they saw a then-secret military aircraft, the P-38, which inspired the idea of tail fins. Mitchell didn’t leave the Navy until 1945. After leaving GM, Frank set up his own design firm. After several years with Packard, Hershey went to Ford where he designed the 1953-1957 full-sized Fords, as well as supervising the design of the 1955 Ford two-seat Thunderbird, Ford’s landmark design. Frank had sketched the concept in 1952 after seeing a bootleg photo of the 1953 Corvette Chevrolet had under development. After leaving Ford in 1955, he worked in design for Kaiser Aluminum and Rite Autotronics. While married and the father of two children, Frank was openly gay.

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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