ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. — The 1959 Stingray, the original 1961 Mako Shark and the 1969 Corvette Manta Ray. These memorable Corvette concepts will be displayed in a first-ever “Bill Mitchell Concepts” class as one of four honoring General Motors’ 100th anniversary at the 2008 Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance on Aug. 3 in Rochester, Mich.
Completing the circle will be the rear-engine Monza SS and Monza GT from 1962, the mid-engine Chevrolet Astro I, II and III from 1967-69 and a pair of sport-luxury Buick Riviera concepts, the 1963 Silver Arrow I and 1971 Silver Arrow III.
William L. “Bill” Mitchell succeeded Harley Earl in December 1958 as General Motors’ second styling vice president and ruled the world of auto design through his retirement in 1977. Mitchell was born to style. He was flamboyant, gregarious and unforgettable. “I never drew a car sitting still,” he liked to say. “Every car I’ve ever drawn, I drew as if it were in motion.”
During Mitchell’s reign, GM was one of the world’s leaders in automotive design; in 1965, 62 percent of the cars and trucks sold in America were penned by GM stylists. “I don’t believe in surveys and asking people what they want,” he contended. “Good taste comes from experience. Good design sells. You lead when you believe in yourself.”
Many of Mitchell’s best and most significant concept cars were born in his secret “Studio X” hidden deep in the basement of the Warren, Mich., GM Design Center, where access was usually limited to just one hand-picked designer, one engineer and one sculptor.
Throughout his 19 years as styling VP, he rotated his favorite designers, sculptors and engineers through Studio X, where they could explore his design visions unmolested by corporate executives, divisional general managers and others who would interfere.
Learn more at www.meadowbrookconcours.org or call 248-643-8645.