San Diego County and the Inland Empire now has its own chapter of the Society of Automotive Historians (SAH). For further details CLICK HERE.
Members of the Leland Chapter met on Saturday, December 15th, 2018, at the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, 100 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti, MI 48197.
After a brief chapter business meeting, President Brian Baker started the afternoon off with a tribute to GM designer and design educator Bill Porter, who was in the audience. Author Jerry Burton then gave a presentation on his 2002 book Zora Arkus-Duntov, the Legend Behind Corvette. Jerry’s detailed talk was followed by a lively, informative and very entertaining panel discussion and Q&A session by former Corvette designers Jon Albert, John Schinella, Kip Wasenko and Ben Salvadore.
Over 65 enthusiasts were in attendance to witness automotive history, live. For additional coverage of this event, read Pat Bisson’s article on page 7 of SAH Journal #295
In September, long serving WSAH Vice President Michael Keller made known his desire to step down and provide another member with the opportunity to serve as the chapter Vice President. President Nimocks suggested WSAH Director Don Gullikson as Vice President to succeed Michael, and Jessica Zdanowicz to succeed Don as a Director. A 9/23/18 email broadcast by President Nimocks suggested these candidates to the chapter membership and invited comments and other suggestions for candidates. Over the next few days a motion was made and seconded by email to present the slate of these two candidates for a vote, after only positive comments had been received.
On 10/2/18 President Nimocks called for an email vote by the chapter membership to approve or disapprove Don Gullikson as Vice President and Jessica Zdanowicz as Director. On 10/9/18 President Nimocks emailed membership that Don and Jessica had been elected without dissension, and by a quorum, and that they would take office immediately. Congratulations to Don Gullikson and Jessica Zdanowicz, and thank you Michael Keller for serving as Vice President for so many years.
The WSAH Annual Autumn Meeting was held on Saturday, September 15, 2018 at Baer Park in Cross Plains, Wisconsin in conjunction with the 36th Annual Hill & Valley Antique Car & Americana Show. Eight officers, directors and members were in attendance, plus two guests.
Jim Morris and Jessica Zdanowicz have completed scanning all 41 issues of the previous WSAH newsletter, The Spark, and all issues of the current newsletter, the Carhart Chronicle. Jim and Jessica have posted these scans to the WSAH website for ready access by members and website visitors alike.
Joe Kapler, Curator of Cultural History at the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS), was a special guest at the meeting and gave a detailed presentation outlining how the WSAH can be more involved with the WHS. Joe’s presentation included a description of their large new building and the types of artifacts that the WHS is seeking as donations. George Tesar circulated a list he had prepared of the items, which includes automobiles, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, small and stationary engines, tractors and light-to-heavy equipment, parts, tools and related memorabilia such as magazines, sales literature, repair manuals, and company records from both large and small concerns. The Society is not short of space, according to Joe, and the WHS wants to digitize printed and photographic artifacts while retaining the originals. The WSAH has long been affiliated with the WHS.
Michael Keller affirmed by email that he wants to step down as the WSAH Vice President. Michael feels there are others who do much more and are more deserving of the position. A successor is in mind, and an email will be sent to all members for input. The election will likely be handled by email without waiting until the next Chapter meeting.
Jim Morris will check with the Milwaukee Public Museum about the possibility of the WSAH having a meeting there in early December and being able to view the Schloemer Motor Wagon exhibit, for which the Chapter made a sizable donation in 2015. The Schloemer Motor Wagon was one of the first gas-powered automobiles in America.
Leland Chapter, Detroit met at the First United Methodist Church in Royal Oak on Saturday afternoon, August 24th, 2018. Some 20 members and guests heard a talk by Brian Baker about George Levy’s new book F1 Mavericks: The Men and Machines that Revolutionized Formula 1 Racing.
A memorabilia swap & exchange took place before and after, with attendees shifting their surplus books and paper memorabilia from one household to another.
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.
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
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.