©2012 Springer Publishing Co. Inc.  -  Covering the Detroit Auto Industry Since 1933
™ Tech Center News ™
january 30, 2012
Ex-GM Designer’s Book Tells
Of Fisher Body Talent Search
By Gerald Scott
 The second in a series of books edited by John Jacobus about the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild scale-model car design competition has been published – and what a rich part of GM Design and Fisher Body history it celebrates.
 Titled, “Inside the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild: Contestants Recall the Great General Motors Talent Search,” the book is the second in a series examining the national youth design competition – one that would eventually produce a host of professional designers, including Chuck Jordan of GM and Virgil Exner, Jr., at Ford.
 It seems that from 1930 to 1968, General Motors sponsored a national 1:12-scale model automobile design competition for youth – the famous Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild.
 According to the Jacobus book, each year, thousands of boys and young men from across America competed for scholarships by designing, building and submitting a scale model of their own “dream car,” to be judged on such qualities as design orginality and craftsmanship.
 The book also notes, “A public relations bonanza for GM, the program helped to identify and nurture a generation of future leaders in design engineering, automotive design, automotive styling, industrial design and other endeavors.”
 Jacobus, the editor, is a retired auto safety engineer who today works as a technical writer and safety management consultant in Maryland.
 The first book was an overall history of the program. This follow-up book gives 29 contestants room to describe how the competition came to impact their careers – most became professional car designers because they were inspired by the Fisher Body contest, they collectively say.
 Writes Jacobus in the introduction, “In the 29 essays that make up this book, contestants in General Motors’ Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild model car competitions discuss their experiences, trials and tribulations, and techniques as they vied for college scholarships between 1947 and 1968.
 In the intro, Jacobus points out, “They vividly remember all facets of competing in this high-profile event during the critical adolescent years of their lives: the knowledge required, the strategic planning they had to do, the technical problems and hurdles they encountered, the price exacted . . . moments of crisis (and much more).”
 The author goes on to say that the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild was an extracurricular industrial arts program in which thousands of boys and young men (15 percent were college age, and back then, only males could compete) from across the country submitted their 1/12th-scale, “scratch-built” dream car models on an annual basis.
 Jacobus writes, “A guild for
Scale-model-car entries gathered at the former Fisher Body auditorium at the GM Tech Center in Warren.
GM retiree John Jacobus has written the second in a series of books on design competition for youth.
this week in print
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