Nearly 60 years ago, all-new sleek experimental concept cars started taking shape and were coined, "laboratory on wheels." Many of which made the rounds touring some of America's most prestigious engineering institutions; Stanford and Cal Tech were first on the list. Earl's unique new industrialized automobile design program and/or car design profession, invented in America, was being enthusiastically welcomed at these learning institutions because Pioneer-Earl had just started academia's first landmark scholarship programs in this highly specialized area. 

1954 XP-21, a.k.a., the first of the famous Firebird trio designed by Harley Earl

Although Mr. Earl rarely made the rounds lecturing, he made sure his subordinates did the important leg work to inspire and make sure the up-and-coming next generation of auto design/engineers would be well-educated in the newest and most advanced field (car design professionals) of auto making. Naturally, this way, Earl and his GM Styling team got first crack at the new talent pool each year. Planting the seed in the academic world was always part of his master plan. At the time, it was hospital routine for many of Earl's special one-of-a-kind experimental cars to be parading around the nation at some university. 

After the success of Firebird I, Earl went on to design the body shell for Firebird II out of the new wonder metal titanium; his U.S. Patent of this dream car is illustrated further down. This was decades before Madison Ave. would start advertising "titanium" to market and sell consumer goods.

14 additional pages from this report (not shown here) continue listing more engineering innovations. If demand warrants it, these pages will be added here at a later date. They include a number of significant engineering advances and technological firsts. For example, important ideas and/or "thought starters" first were introduced on the radical trio of experimental Firebirds: Cruisecontrol, keyless entry, first-ever onboard computer, paper engine testing via digital computer technology (precursor to CAD), automatic guidance system, twilight sentential., etc... Many of the original innovations first experimented with on these famous specialty car are now standard equipment on 10s of millions of automobiles.

Mr. Earl was certainly a pioneering Auto Innovator for he created Detroit's first hybrid vehicle, too; a vivid Firebird III in-house documentary movie made in 1958 displays this fact. 

Harley Earl was one of the great pathfinders of the modern auto world who bucked the odds

What if Harley Earl, the daVinci of Detroit, had not plunked down GM money for the majority of specialty cars he built in the 50s? What kind of cars would all of us be driving today? Model-T variations or perhaps the Russian-Yugoslavian/YUGO ring a bell? Any enthusiast has to only sit in a 1957 Cadillac Coup de Ville, or any modern cars made for the American market place, to enjoy countless luxuries that most people take for granted today. Simply put, Harley Earl turned hurrying into pleasure.

Underbelly of Firebird III detailed above and titanium shelled Firebird II U.S. patent below

What's the Bottom Line? The mechanically motorized art forms graphically illustrated above are the finest examples of multi-million dollar concept vehicles the world has ever known. Back in the 1950s, H.J. Earl was the only experimental artist / engineer in Detroit who could pull off achieving this type of funding to build  rare one-of-a-kind motoramic masterpieces and/or concept cars. That's because the other design/engineers he was competing with were not yet even close to understanding him and how he created the auto design profession and all his automotive artistry in the first place.