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Object Timeline

1936

  • Work on this object began.

1946

  • Work on this object ended.

2017

  • We acquired this object.

  • You found it!

  • We photographed this object.

Drawing, Concept Car, ca. 1941

This is a Drawing. It was designed by Elwood Engel and from the office of General Motors. It is dated ca. 1941 and we acquired it in 2017. Its medium is brush and gouache on paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

This sleek automobile concept drawing by Elwood Engel dates from the beginning of his design career. Before joining General Motors, Engel’s experience designing for the 1939 New York World’s Fair would have guaranteed his exposure to the large Futurama Exhibit mounted at the fair by GM. Focusing on highway progress and GM’s role in creating futuristic vehicles that would use emerging technologies, the display resonates with Engel’s streamlined and futuristic concept. Viewed from above, the automobile is almost unrecognizable as a car—the uniform height of the vehicle’s body and its detailed grills at the sides and back recall elements of contemporary radio designs. Likewise, the female driver navigates the vehicle on a black, pipe-shaped road, possibly suggesting a futuristic highway scheme.

This object was purchased from Leo Brereton and agent: Hampton Wayt and fund: General Acquisitions Endowment and purchased with funds from: Paul Herzan and catalogued by Julia Pastor. It is credited Museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund.

Our curators have highlighted 1 object that are related to this one.

Its dimensions are

39.4 × 50.8 cm (15 1/2 in. × 20 in.)

It is signed

Signed in brush and red gouache, lower right: Elwood Engel

Cite this object as

Drawing, Concept Car, ca. 1941; Designed by Elwood Engel (American, 1917 - 1986); brush and gouache on paper; 39.4 × 50.8 cm (15 1/2 in. × 20 in.); Museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund; 2017-18-11

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108798013/ |title=Drawing, Concept Car, ca. 1941 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=20 October 2017 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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