Virgil Exner, Visioneer, by Peter Grist

19 Nov 2009 | 2,077 views | No Comment
One of my favorites is a new biography of auto visionary Virgil Exner, who spearheaded some of the most terrific auto designs of the past. Remember “The Forward Look” from Chrysler during the 1950s and 1960s? That was all about Mr. Exner, and all of the fascinating details of the dashing Mr. Exner’s transformation of dowdy Chrysler Corporation cars into the stars of the automotive firmament. We learn a great deal about the man himself, of course. In contrast to the flashy, sometimes ego-driven designers of today, Mr. Exner, by all accounts, was soft-spoken, gracious, and a man possessed both of good taste and good humor. There was one episode in the 1950s when Mr. Exner, hospitalized, was visited by Chrysler officials and family members who had the task of telling him that one of his designs, the Norseman concept, was now at the bottom of the sea, thanks to the sinking of the Andrea Dorea. But instead of being devastated, he reportedly laughed instead. We also get details giving us insight into the life, trials and triumphs of being an auto designer via a reprinted story penned by Mr. Exner himself. There are tons of beautiful color and black and white sketches and photos, many of which have never been seen before, that grace the pages of this book. There also are pictures and insight into his career as a skilled artist, and we get a look at some of his non-automotive design work, too. The 170 page book can be purchased for $49.95 from Classic Motorbooks.

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