General Motors

'59 Chevy Impala Chopstick Special Art Center General Motors Street Racing '63 Stingray Larry's designs Designer's designer Corvette kit Sailfish story

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Basically he, Larry had submitted some, somebody had asked him to submit a portfolio, and so he submitted a portfolio to General Motors. And they, there was...I guess, whomever he submitted it to, didn’t like to be told to hire somebody so they just made Larry sit in the...in their waiting room at their personnel or human resources department at the time. So he would go every day and sit for eight hours and he did this for a few days evidently.

And they finally, he...Larry isn’t one to take things lying down, he’s very assertive, so he finally caught someone he knew there and said, "Hey, what’s the deal?" And so they said, "Well, what do you mean?" And so they took him to the right place and got to the right person in charge and he said, "Yeah, hire him. I mean that’s it, I want him." So he was hired by General Motors to work specifically for one of the chief designers at General Motors.

And he became basically, this isn’t kind of the right word but it's...or right phrase, but it gets the point across, he became his pet basically, his private designer. So Larry did a lot of the really unique things under the tutelage of Bill Mitchell, who was head of styling at General Motors because he like what he did and he knew he could handle everything that he threw at him.

I*: So is that how the Stingray came about?

That is exactly right. That was really...it was Bill Mitchell’s idea and Larry made it come to life. I mean that’s how things work in the automotive industry is, you know, there will be a chief designer or chief stylist that takes credit for everything and then he has his people do all the work. And...but Larry got credit for what did because that’s the kind of guy Bill Mitchell was I think. So from that standpoint, Larry really revered Mr. Mitchell. And there’s a lot of stories that went on that, you know, what Larry had done for him and vise versa.

* “I” indicates an interviewer (Akira Boch)

Date: September 14, 2011
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Akira Boch
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

automobile Bill Mitchell General Motors Larry Shinoda Stingray

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