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DESIGNERbyBELLU-American William L. Mitchell is back

William L. Mitchell was born on July 2, 1912 in Cleveland, Ohio, and grew up in Greenville, Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Art Students League of New York and started his art career as an illustrator for Barron Collier. In December 1935, at the age of 23, he joined the Art and Color Department of General Motors, the first design studio created in an automobile factory. “Bill” Mitchell (Millell) has worked for many years under the leadership of the studio founder, and in this case, the exuberant Harley J. Earl

In 1936, Bill Mitchell (Bill Mitchell) became Cadillac (Cadillac) fashion director, injecting new vitality into the 1940 “60 Special” model; Earl) After the disagreement, he left General Motors.

Despite some incompatibility in mood, the two powerful characters met again. On May 1, 1954, Bill Mitchell (Bill Mitchell) was appointed as the “Fashion Director” of General Motors. He must live with Harley J. Earl until he takes over.

From December 1958, Bill Mitchell took over the management of the creative studio grouped under the banner of “Styling Department” since 1957. He had to deal with the effects of the Suez crisis and the turning point of American society, which led to the creation of more compact and less arrogant cars. It raised in-depth questions, abandoned surface decoration, purified the style of genetically modified products, and gave it humility (Chevrolet Corville in 1960) and Latin (Buick Riviera in 1963) or animality (1965 Chevrolet Mako Shark II). The transformation produced some fundamental new works, such as Chevrolet Corvair (1960), Buick Riviera (1963), Corvette Sting Ray (1963) or Oldsmobile Toronado (1965). In 1972, the design department was renamed “General Motors Designers.”

Stingrays and magic sharks.


Among the important milestones set during his tenure, Bill Mitchell is proud of the Corvette of the C2 generation. By adding the word “Sting Ray” to the name, the second-generation Corvette marks the difference from its predecessor. With its new identity, it confirms the technological and aesthetic innovations carried out by the prototype named after 1959. Its strong volume and tight lines are not surprising. Retractable headlights. Most of these main features come from Corvette Stingray, who was born in 1959 and 1960, and was transformed into a style study in 1961.

On the right is the Corvette C3 derived from the shark concept.
On the right is the Corvette C3 derived from the shark concept.


Another important development is the Mako Shark II concept car. It was announced that the C3 generation will be launched in 1968. Its degraded midnight blue body becomes pearl white under the abdomen, and the shark is named after it. After seeing him for the first time in New York in April 1965, Mako Shark II will also become a star in Paris in October 1965. The shape adopts a new line, with very round wings and a central pressing part, which is worth it to him compared to a bottle of Coca-Cola. The sharp style ends with a slanted truncation with a retractable spoiler.

We can blame Bill Mitchell for some mistakes. For example, Damsels, a design studio composed of eight young designers, was cancelled, but it was the architect of an unprecedented revolution in GM’s history.

Bill Mitchell left in 1977. He dedicated his retirement to Michigan. Collect memories, ride a big motorcycle…

William L. Mitchell left the stamped planet on September 12, 1988.

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