2018 WSAH Summer Meeting and Iola Car Show

The Iola Car Show has been growing and evolving for 46 years. The 300+ acre show grounds hosts 4,200 swap meet spots, a Car Corral of some 1,000 vehicles and 1,600 campsites. Upwards of 2,200 show cars are displayed each year, with 200 selected for the annual Special Exhibit. Some 120,000 enthusiasts descend on this village of 1,100 residents for three days, with the dedication of thousands of volunteers making one of the largest car shows in the Midwest a continuing success.

For 2018 the WSAH continued an annual tradition, dating from 1991, of staffing the Special Exhibit of the 2018 Iola Car Show, July 12th through July 14th. The Special Exhibit displays upwards of 200 vehicles selected to represent annually designated themes. In past years the Special Exhibit Tent has featured approximately 50 of those 200 vehicles which exemplify the themes of the year, as selected by the Iola Car Show staff and WSAH members. The other 150 vehicles in the Special Exhibit have been displayed just outside the Tent. This year the themes were Movie Cars and Service Vehicles. The vehicle selections were made  during the months preceding the show by the Iola Car Show staff working with WSAH members Ken Nimocks, Jim Morris and Don Gullikson. This year most of the specially selected vehicles were displayed, for the first time, inside the Special Exhibit Building, just north of the Special Exhibit Tent. During the three day show, chapter members manage the parking and display of the vehicles for the Special Exhibit and staff the WSAH table in the Tent. Chapter members sell Iola Car Show memorabilia in support of the show, answer questions, and engage show attendees about the WSAH. The WSAH banner is on prominent display at the chapter table in the Tent. The Iola Car Show pays the chapter for providing these services, which is a primary fund raiser for the WSAH.

The annual WSAH Summer Meeting, held in conjunction with the Iola Car Show, took place on Friday, July 13th, at 2:00 in the Special Exhibit Building. Ten members were in attendance.  Discussion included honorary member designations, newsletter expenses, and WSAH relations with the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS). George Tesar reported on his second visit to the WHS. George was appointed as the WSAH Liaison to the WHS, and plans to make a return visit to the Society, with David Tesch, to explore with the WHS staff specifically how the WSAH can be of assistance to the WHS.

Three WSAH icons at Iola:  Long-serving President Ken Nimocks, the dark gray storage chest (aka “the coffin”) and the Chapter banner designed by Director Jessica Zdanowicz.   (David Tesch photo)
At the 2018 Iola Car Show:  1931 Ford Model AA Service Car assembled by Hornburg Motors of Hartland, WI.  This vehicle was in service at Hornburg from 1931 to approximately 1976.  Owned by SAH member Jordon Beller. In the left background is a corner of the Special Exhibit Tent.  In the right background is the Special Exhibit Building.  Both are staffed by WSAH members.

June 8, 2018 Women in Design Conversation and Discussion at The Fisher Building in Detroit

The EyesOn Design Lecture Series of the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology and the Leland Chapter, Detroit of the Society of Automotive Historians co-hosted a panel discussion featuring author Constance Smith and designer MaryEllen Green and on Friday, June 8, 2018 in the Peacock Room of the Fisher Building in downtown Detroit.

Hosted by Leland Chapter President Brian Baker, and moderated by Elizabeth Wetzel, GM Director of Design User Experience, the forty attendees were treated to an exceptional ninety minute panel discussion, conversation and question & answer session.

Constance Smith is the author of the recently published book, Damsels in Design, which features MaryEllen among many other women designers of the era.  A graduate of the Pratt Institute in New York, Smith was recruited by GM’s Charles “Chuck” Jordan.  Her comprehensive automotive design and engineering experience included work in safety, advanced electronics and airbag implementation.    Smith’s 2018 book Damsels in Design may come to be regarded as a benchmark in bringing the history of women in the automotive industry to light.  Her book focuses on twenty women who were active in automotive design from 1939 to 1959 and presents their stories, frustrations and accomplishments, as well as their post-automotive design work and personal achievements in the arts.  The staggering number of period images Smith collected for this book is a masterful accomplishment in itself.

MaryEllen Green (decd January, 2022) was a member of Harley Earl’s GM Styling group in the early 1950’s.  Her father was a successful automobile dealer and distributor, so Green stemmed from automotive roots, which she considered to be a significant advantage in her early career.  At GM she worked on concept cars, show cars and special projects.  From GM Green moved to Sunberg-Ferar design, where she was loaned to Dick Teague’s design department at Packard to design the seats and interior panels for the 1955 Packard Caribbean.  Green is one of the women featured in Part I of Smith’s book.

The late Margaret “Peggy” Sauer, one of the women featured in Part III of Smith’s book, joined GM Styling in 1955 in the Oldsmobile studio.  She later worked in the Cadillac and Buick studios before joining Raymond Loewy’s Avanti Team.  Her Oldsmobile concept car credits include the Mona Lisa, the Chantreuse, the Carousel and the Rendezvous.  Sauer’s long time close friend, Julie Sabit, and Sabit’s nephew Doug Didia, a former GM Design studio artist from the Detroit area, had several examples of Sauer’s original automotive design artwork on display for the event.  Sabit is the custodian of Sauer’s estate and archive.

Crain Communications, Automotive News and Autoweek to the likes of us, generously provided the “Women in Design” banner for this event.  The Peacock Room, a Fisher Building retail space period renovation, was graciously made available for the event by shop owner Rachel Lutz.

Congratulations to the Leland Chapter, and to EyesOn Design of the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology,  in partnering to support this exceptional event.

To learn more about EyesOn Design, visit www.eyesondesign.org

Additional coverage of this event will be found on pages 4-5 of SAH Journal #293

(l-r) Elizabeth Wetzel, Brian Baker, Constance Smith and MaryEllen Green.

 

2018 WSAH Spring Meeting

Thirteen WSAH members and two guests gathered at the Wisconsin Automotive Museum in Hartford, WI on April 28, 2018, for the chapter Spring Meeting, hosted by museum Executive Director Dawn Bondhus Mueller.

The annual donation by the chapter to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum for 2018 was approved.  Dawn distributed copies of the new full color double-fold marketing flier recently issued by the museum with the sponsorship of WSAH annual donations. Chapter webmaster Jessica Zdanowicz continues to scan back issues of the chapter newsletters, The Spark and the Carhart Chronicle, on to the WSAH website for easy access by members and website visitors alike. George Tesar recently visited the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison and told of their need for assistance in organizing the automotive related sections of their collection.

Front (l-r):  Don Chandler, Gary Koehnke, Ken Nimocks and Dan Manola.  Back (l-r):  Don Gullikson, Jim Morris, Randy Nimocks, Greg Vanark, Dan Sharpee, George Tesar and Museum Director Dawn Bondhus Mueller. David Tesch was present, but missed the photo-op.

Gene Grengs Video Preview link.

December 19, 2017 Annual Meeting and Gathering at Linamar McLaren Engineering in Livonia

Twenty Seven enthusiasts were in attendance December 19, 2017 for a late afternoon/early evening presentation by George Levy on the Can-Am Race Series and on his 2016 book, Can-Am 50th Anniversary,  with photos by famed racing photographer Pete Biro.

Motor sports author George Levy.
“Can-Am 50th Anniversary” was a Gold Medalist in the Motor Sports category of the 2017 International Automotive Media Awards.
Photos
A memorable gathering at Linamar McLaren Engineering.

https://www.linamar.com/technology?lms=section1#the-mclaren-story

Photos courtesy of Brian Baker and Mary & Bob Elton.

 

June 17, 2017 Meeting and Tour of Durant-Dort Factory One in Flint

The  Leland Chapter, Detroit held a gathering, building tour at the Durant-Dort Factory One building and a business meeting in Flint, Michigan on Saturday, June 17, 2017.  Hosted by Factory One Operations Manager Kevin Kirbitz and his staff, over thirty chapter members and their guests were in attendance.   Kevin gave the group a tour of the renovated and re-purposed Durant-Dort Factory One building and the renovated Durant-Dort Offices building across the street, which houses extensive displays of artifacts and photos.  Greg Miller, Director of University Archives at Kettering University, gave a tour of the University archives now housed in the second story of the Factory One building.  These two buildings were the original facilities of what was later to become General Motors.

Following lunch, organized by Leland Chapter Secretary/Treasurer Victoria Mobley, Kevin Kirbitz gave a presentation on the history of the immediate area and the Durant, Dort and GM presence in Flint.  A chapter business meeting followed, with the momentous occasion of long-serving Leland Chapter President John “Top Hat” Jendza III handing over the reins (or, tiller/steering wheel) to his successor Brian Baker.  Following the business meeting, retired GM Designer Bill Porter entertained attendees with his reminisces of his career at GM.

A special thanks to Victoria Mobley, Top Hat, Brian Baker, Kevin Kirbitz and Greg Miller for making this event a success.

Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild models in the Kettering University Archives at Factory One.

https://www.gmfactoryone.com