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Published on Mar 16, 2009
Harley Earl, the larger than life, first head of styling for a major automobile manufacturer gave the world the joy of excess in color, chrome and steel. Recruited by GM in the late 20s to transform its drab autos and make them stand out from the offerings of its competitors, Earl transformed the industry and the American psyche.
He invented the annual model change over, the concept car and put swagger and some Hollywood panache into a staid industry. While its hard to defend his buoyant designs as fine art, he captured the imagination of millions worldwide, especially in Post WWII America, who embraced the outlandish vehicles as proof that there will be a big and better tomorrow. He knew how to create and sell dreams. Which is what he learned from his neighbor, C. B. DeMille.