Gilmore Museum/CCCA publication sets the bar high
This past spring, The Industry Standard magazine’s 40-page edition carried three features: “Duesenberg, Celebrating an American Classic (especially curiosities)” by Jon Bill; “Women Who Motor” (curated by Cindy Olsen); and the lead article by Rich Ray on automobile design and the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild. Spearheading the issue was Christopher R. Shires, executive director of the Gilmore Car Museum. The publication is a joint effort of that museum (gilmorecarmuseum.org) and the Classic Car Club of America Museum (cccamuseum.org).
Features highlight special exhibits at the Gilmore Car Museum. With a nod to the lead, Ray provided exceptional information in his four-page color treatment of the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild. Organized in 1930 by the Fisher Body division of General Motors, the guild stirred up the imaginations of youthful wanna-be designers as never before. It was an era of hands-on expression far prior to the time-absorbing and impactful design work of computerization. Boys ages 11-19 entered the annual contests in droves, especially when car design was added beginning in 1937. Prior to that, the famous Fisher Coach was the main subject. The contest gave kids “the opportunity to express their imagination, design talent, technical skills and, most importantly, their creative ingenuity.”
To underline that fact, Ray added that “over a third (35%) of General Motors designers were former Guildsmen.” The line of work became popular enough for institutions of higher learning to snag instructors to teach classes on the subject, which may have resulted in the Fisher Guild program fading in 1968.This fabulous exhibit continues at the Gilmore through October. The Duesenberg special exhibit is open through September, and the “Women Who Motor” display, launched in July, will continue this fall.
Among car magazines from museums, this one is among the best. Quality writing, layout and design, plus topics of keen interest, carry the effort high, befitting its name. Anything called the “standard” in ages past meant it was the mark against which all others should be measured. That’s a tall order for the Gilmore (Genevieve & Donald S. Gilmore Foundation) and CCCA to perpetuate when it comes to museum magazines, but this one may very well do it.
The publication rounds out with a plethora of small articles and invitations, including membership and special events. Topping the remaining pages is a three-page color article by Kevin Fleck, a guru of the Cole automobile, which, in its specially designed V-8 form, is a Full Classic. The Cole brand was never underrated in its prime (1909-1925) and with possibly less than 80 around today, it remains a kingly machine for which our hats must be tipped in appreciation (for more, go to www.colemotorcarregistry.com).