Detroit Style


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Car Design in the Motor City, 1950-2020

Benjamin W. Colman; With contributions by William Porter and interviews with William L. Porter, Edward T. Welburn, Ralph V. Gilles, and Craig Metros

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A dynamically illustrated exploration of 70 years of automotive design in the Motor City

Detroit, nicknamed Motor City, has always been a leader in car design. As the city became the center of the American automobile industry in the early 20th century, its studios became incubators for new ideas and new styles. This volume highlights the artistry and influence of Detroit designers working in the industry between 1950 and the present day, giving readers a sumptuously illustrated opportunity to discover the ingenuity of influential (and surprisingly little-known) figures in postwar American car design. Detroit Style showcases 12 coupes and sedans, representing both experimental cars created solely for display and iconic production models for the mass market. Dozens of design drawings and images of studio interiors—along with paintings and sculptures—highlight the creative process and dialogue between the American art world and car culture. These materials in addition to interviews with influential figures in car design today bring new insights and spark curiosity about the formative role Detroit designers have played in shaping the automotive world around us, and the ways their work has responded to changing tastes, culture, and technology.

Distributed for the Detroit Institute of Arts

Exhibition Schedule:

Detroit Institute of Arts
(November 15, 2020–January 9, 2022)

Benjamin Colman is associate curator of American art at the Detroit Institute of Arts.


Detroit Institute of Arts
(November 15, 2020–January 9, 2022)

“Gorgeous . . . well written and informative . . . extremely enjoyable.”—C. J. Myers, Choice
ISBN: 9780300247084
Publication Date: July 7, 2020
Publishing Partner: Distributed for the Detroit Institute of Arts
150 pages, 11 1/2 x 11 1/2
100 color illus.
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