Street Racing

'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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When Larry was working at General Motors, he got a job in the styling department but he was...he still had his Ford. He had this Ford that he had built and it was like a ‘50s Ford that he had built, basically it was a NASCAR car that he drove on the street. I mean it was a racecar that he drove on the street and he was sitting at a light going home from work and Bill Mitchell pulled up next to him in a special car that Bill had, all the chief designers and all the higher-ups they could do whatever they wanted basically and he had a pretty souped-up car. And I guess the light changed and Larry blew the guy’s doors off.

And the next day, Bill called him in and said, "I want you to bring your car into the shop." And so when he brought his car into the shop, he opened the hood and saw what it was, it was basically a racecar. And Bill...that’s when Bill wanted him to work for him, in his department.

Larry was hired actually by Harley Earl who was the chief designer at that time, and Bill Mitchell was one of the heads of styling, underneath Harley Earl. So that’s how that happened, it wasn’t Bill Mitchell first it was Harley Earl. Bill Mitchell became head of styling and pulled Larry with him, all the way up. So...and Larry became head of what they call Studio X, which was like the top-secret, you know, concept studio and that was a big feather in his cap I think at that time.

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

automobile Bill Mitchell Larry Shinoda race car

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