Design film
Wayne Kady Cadillac

We love classic American automobile styling and Americana, and we recently learned of this awesome documentary showcasing the art of many prominenet designers that shaped the cars on American roadways,

From the film's Facebook Page:  

American Dreaming is a full-length documentary about American automotive styling from1946 to 1973, featuring interviews of the men and women artists who designed Detroit’s automobiles. 

What is the background for what is arguably the heyday of American automotive design? America’s post-war period fostered an era of economic expansion and a burgeoning middle class. This was a heady, optimistic time. People wanted all the modern conveniences and were drawn to modern futuristic designs. Detroit’s auto executives speculated on a raising market share for visually appealing cars. Automotive design studios were enlarged or created. Artists replaced engineers who handled the majority of design work pre-war. Styling studios were staffed by small elite groups of highly creative and technically exacting artists, many who held university degrees in the new field of automotive or industrial design. This is the era when automotive design reached its maturity.

The automotive companies - vigilant and protective of their designs - kept tight security in the styling studios, and quelled individual artistic recognition. The corporate structure gave credit to the head or chief of the studios. The automotive styling studios were set up much like those of renaissance artists: both were structured on an established hierarchy. Creativity was expected but seldom credited. To develop each model the automotive stylists worked several years in advance of the production vehicle, and carefully veiled the developing designs. The automotive drawings were the property of the respective companies. The threat of dismissal and lawsuits hung over any artist who dared take work out of the studios. The companies would discard or shred them after several years. Ninety per cent have vanished. The remaining automotive artworks should be seen as more than mere archival documents. Many are museum worthy. 

The years 1946 to 1973 were the golden age for American automotive styling. In the 1950’s and 1960’s Americans eagerly anticipated the new model rollouts in dealer showrooms as much as they looked forward to spring training and the upcoming baseball season. The unbridled enthusiasm and creative energy of the designers were dampened by the Vietnam War and the formation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the late 1960’s. The first oil embargo of October 1973 brought increased competition by lower priced foreign imports. Americans were no longer in a frame of mind to buy their American Dream car.

Salustro/Edwards productions, concurrent with the documentary are actively exploring gallery exhibitions for several of the automotive artists represented in the film. The public has not seen the majority of the art shown in the film, and exhibiting the work will introduce this significant and little known art form.


The film is set for a 2016 release, you can learn more about it or support it's production here: