Object Timeline

1958

  • Work on this object began.

2017

2020

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Drawing, Concept Car with Pointed Bullet Front, 1958

This is a Drawing. It was from the office of General Motors. It is dated 1958 and we acquired it in 2017. Its medium is color pencil, graphite on paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

This 1958 automobile drawing by Carl Renner presents one of many concepts Renner developed for an advanced Corvette project known as XP-96. Renner experimented with many different features for the unrealized design, and his concept drawings are widely varied—one automobile is based on a dramatic rear-engine layout, and another is anchored by a pod-like driver’s headrest that extends into the form of a large rocket. Aerospace themes were common among mid-century automobile designers, and the elongated and pointed form of this chrome car suggests the influence of missiles and aircraft. The reflected landscape in the cone at the car’s front also expresses a fantastic environment—the pyramids and wide flat horizon could place the driver in a remote desert, possibly on another planet.
Renner’s style also communicates speed and dynamism, both in the way he has adorned the driver with a futuristic green-glass eye shield and by the blurred landscape. The wavy lines above the hood of the car and the straight ones extending beyond its rear communicate motion. Renner’s inscription “F. W. D.” indicates that the XP-96 was a front-wheel drive vehicle, and his drawing further accentuates the sharp turn of the front left wheel with a group of radiating black lines that seem to suggest the car’s future path.

It is credited Museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund.

  • Drawing, Concept Car, 1953
  • color pencil, graphite on paper.
  • Museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from General Acquisitions....
  • 2017-18-6

Its dimensions are

35.6 × 43.2 cm (14 × 17 in.)

It is signed

Signed in black color pencil, lower right: C. Renner / 9-29-58 / 69

It is inscribed

Inscribed in black color pencil, lower center: XP. 96 / F.W.D.

Cite this object as

Drawing, Concept Car with Pointed Bullet Front, 1958; Office of General Motors ; color pencil, graphite on paper; 35.6 × 43.2 cm (14 × 17 in.); Museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund; 2017-18-2

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108797961/ |title=Drawing, Concept Car with Pointed Bullet Front, 1958 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=29 March 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>