Following quote was from a 1949 magazine article on Harley titled, Meet the GM Designer:
"Brother Earl started streamlining before the word was invented."
James (Jim) M. Earl, Harley's oldest son, provided this information in an interview, "When it came to leading the Small Car charge in America, which was an entirely new direction, Harley was on another one of his missions and hired some of the top aerodynamicists and engineering talent in the country. During the late 1950s, my father personally saw to it that Bob McLean and Dr. Peter Kyropoulos of Cal Tech fame (pictured left and right of Earl below), were brought in. At this time, I was working for my father at GM Styling." The following 1957 Los Angeles Times article titled, National Figure, is on Dr. Kyropoulos going to work for Harley Earl. Jim continued saying, "Because of secrecy issues related to advanced GM designs and trends, that naturally effected the company's potential fortunes, Harley always just DID IT instead of TALKING THINGS UP. Like the enormity of his tail fin trend, he believed the 'small car' theme was going to be a huge new trend in sales and marketing for GM and the rest of major auto makers moving forward into the 1960s. Kyropoulos was just one of the smart guys being brought into help Harley spearhead GM's Small Car project."
Our sleek modern-day automobiles are the direct result of Harley Earl's futurism and/or early pacesetting trend which was also the first touch of class and beauty aimed at appealing to the feminine side of the car market. The first full-time automobile design department in the auto industry was established by Mr. Earl for General Motors Corporation. When he retired he was a GM Vice President with a list of engineering innovations that went from erasing running boards to the concept of the first experimental "dream car." Harley Earl had an eclat and was able to translate it to the industry he loved so much.
A Harley Earl specialty, bubble-top streamlining
Mr. Earl had unlimited funding to build anything he wanted, inside GM Styling, after World War Two. It is very well documented how Designer-Earl spent millions on various dream products of self-propelled locomotion - ranging from cars, trucks, buses, trains and aircraft. Mr. Earl had the power and clout to go where no engineer had ever gone before. It's no wonder the other traditional auto engineers were so apprehensive of all his work.
Fact: Back in the 1950s, the only person within GM, or Detroit, who was unrestricted to pump out dream cars that cost millions of dollars was Harley Earl. To this day, most people are not cognizant of all this man's activities on account of what happened to Detroit's auto world afterwards leading up to today. GM's leaders simply suppressed all these important milestones on Detroit's design hero (erased Harley Earl's deeds) and/or spun them around to only make the company, or themselves, look good. This long standing corporate behavior eventually bankrupted this company. Imagine, they held back vital historical information on the principal innovator who brought us heated seats, tinted glass, first on-board computer in a car, panoramic glass, etc...and the list of other firsts is a mile long.
One of the reasons has to do with the fact there are no modern age auto-innovators like Harley Earl anywhere in the automotive world these days...and one of the saddest facts today, is that no finance guy running any of the big-3 automakers wants to seek out and/or find somebody today like a Harley Earl. Because that would detract all the power and creative control back this type of leader. Financial based CEOs love things the way they are today; they have all the creative control and don't want to share the money, power and prestige of their position with others.
THE AUTOMOBILE - SYMBOL OF PROGRESS