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Most text, all photos: Chrysler Corp., 1955
Of all the features of a new car, none is more fascinating to the public than styling. Because of this intense interest, no phase in the creation of a new model is more exacting to the manufacturer. Here you have a rare glimpse of Chrysler Corporation designers and craftsmen at work on a new car.
Styling begins on the drawing board — where ideas in the rough first appear. Thousands of sketches are made, the basis for the first comprehensive drawings. Next, a model is created in clay, three-eighths full size. There are more revisions, then a full-size blackboard drawing is made to determine production feasibility. Necessary changes are made, then a full-size clay model is produced, so accurate measurements can be made for production blueprints.
Photo: new ideas begin as drawing board “doodles.” They may wind of as part of the finished design or be put on the shelf.
Finished model in three-eights scale, large enough to be accurately studied as to form and line. All new car activities are a closely guarded secret, since the design may be three or four years away from production.
The tempo speeds up. A full-size wood mockup is built, complete with window glass, paint and ornamentation skillfully crafted it’s difficult to believe it is not a real car.
Final touches are put on a full-size drawing by a stylist, working from the clay model. From this, mass production techniques will be studied.
Constant change and revision mark every step. As the project nears completion, a car is built in wood, so finished in every detail that it looks real enough to be driven off.
Now the sheet metal workers duplicate it in metal. When completed, this pilot model is put through thousands of miles of rigorous and exhaustive test driving to make sure the car is mechanically equal to its styling. Only then, after years of creating, revising and testing, does it receive the "OK" for production and the model starts down the assembly line.
Color has assumed an important new role in automobile styling, especially on the inside. Each year, Americans expect more color and exciting new applications of it in the cars they buy. The current trend is toward lighter shades but people want more spirited colors, too. At Chrysler Corporation, these preferences are carefully studied and analyzed. So are the trends in the world of fashion. People’s tastes as indicated by the clothes they wear, their choices in home decorations and furnishings, are a sensitive "barometer" of America’s taste in automobile interiors.
Working with color has become an exact science in Corporation styling studios. Every evaluation of a new color — through all its subtle shades and hues — is made on the basis of facts revealed by this kind of research. One group in particular keeps a sharp eye on the color barometer. This is the interior styling team — designers, color stylists, fabric designers — which creates "living room fashions" for all new Corporation cars.
These highly skilled specialists have an intimate knowledge of the psychology of color and they combine their talents to make it work effectively for them. At his drawing board the interior designer sketches the details of a new seat pattern, an instrument panel or sidewall panel with glistening body hardware and ornaments to enhance the color that surrounds them. In the "gray room," against the neutral backgrounds that nullify conflicting impressions, the color stylist selects solid colors and combinations that will convey the "feeling" the styling group wishes to bring out.
The fabric designer selects appropriate upholstery material from those she has created especially for the design. Rich in color and texture, they blend harmoniously with the over-all scheme and interior components. This is the styling team at work, creating appealing new fashions on wheels with color — exciting color — always their cue.
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Chrysler 1904-2017 •
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