Inside the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild

Contestants Recall the Great General Motors Talent Search


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About the Book

From 1930 to 1968, General Motors sponsored a 1:12 scale model automobile design competition for youth—the famous Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild. Each year thousands of boys and young men from across America competed for scholarships by designing, building, and submitting a scale model of their own “dream car,” to be judged on such qualities as design originality and craftsmanship. A public relations bonanza for GM, the program helped to identify and nurture a generation of future leaders in design engineering, automotive design, automotive styling, industrial design and other endeavors.
In these essays, more than 30 Guildsmen chronicle their experiences in the competition, revealing their model car design techniques, tricks, and secrets: Philip J. Rauth, Joseph R. Rauth, Herman I. Rauth, Roger D. Teter, Gordon D. Williams, William A. Keyser, Jr., Warren M. Bakken, Wilfred C. Keagy, Arnold L. Joslin, Raymond P. Wykes, Charles R. Foreman, Adrian A. Bruno, Charles H. Stewart, George E. Anderson, William D. Scott, Walter F. O’Neill, Jr., Thomas L. De Fazio, Felix R. Collazo, Ronald J. Will, Roger L. Schneider, Thomas L. Covert, Paul F. Bonfilio, George G. Herzog, Samuel T. Kjellman, Frederick J. “Bud” Magaldi, Geza A. Loczi, Jeffrey A. Jones, Robert W. Lawhn, Tom W. Graboski, Terry P. Graboski, Spencer L. Mackay, Grant Onnie, John L. Jacobus and John M. Mellberg.

About the Author(s)

John L. Jacobus, a former Guildsman, is a retired auto safety engineer. He works as a technical writer and safety management consultant in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by John L. Jacobus
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 336
Bibliographic Info: 215 photos (39 in color), appendix, glossary, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4861-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8795-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      xi

Introduction      1

1. Six Dazzling Model Cars: Family Genes Prevailed

Philip J. Rauth (1947), Joseph R. Rauth (1953) and Herman I. Rauth

(1955–1956)      5

2. A Tale of Two Brothers

Roger D. Teter (1949)      17

3. An Artist Emerges from a Hotbed of Design

Gordon D. Williams (1951)      22

4. An Artisan’s Ancestry: From Cars to Craft

William A. Keyser, Jr. (1949–1952)      28

5. An Engine, a Dungeon and a Lot of Lacquer

Warren M. Bakken (1949–1953)      34

6. From Chicken Coop to Cars

Wilfred C. Keag y (1949–1953)      43

7. The Son Who Built the Model Car

Arnold L. Joslin (1951–1953)      49

8. If at First You Don’t Succeed—Try, Try Again!

Raymond P. Wykes (1951–1953)      58

9. The Kid from West Texas Wins Against the Odds!

Charles R. Foreman (1950–1952, 1954)      69

10. Guild Defined “Road to the Future” for Designer

Adrian A. Bruno (1954–1955)      79

11. From the Farm to GM Design Staff

Charles H. Stewart (1951–1955)      90

12. From Ford Country to GM Interior Design to DeTomaso Mangusta Devotee

George E. Anderson (1954–1956)      96

13. Shaping a Model and Forming a Life

William D. Scott (1957–1959)      103

Between pages 112 and 113 are 16 color plates containing 39 photographs

14. A Story of Almost

Walter F. O’Neill, Jr. (1956–1959)      113

15. Balancing School, Styling and Model Building

Thomas L. De Fazio (1953, 1956, 1958–1960)      120

16. Forgotten Dreams Remembered

Felix R. Collazo (1959–1961)      128

17. From Soap Box Cars to Subaru’s Executive Suites

Ronald J. Will (1959–1961)      134

18. Wheels, Wheels, Wheels: Chronicles of a Mid-Level Guild Winner

Roger L. Schneider (1957–1962)      144

19. From Windshields to Sugar Scoops: A Guildsman Makes the Grade

Thomas L. Covert (1961–1962)      153

20. Like Father, Like Son: Two Creative, Inventive Spirits

Paul F. Bonfilio (1958–1962)      163

21. From Automobiles to Air Force Aeronautics

George G. Herzog (1955–1959, 1963)      175

22. Guildsman Designed Rational, Urban Mini-Car

Samuel T. Kjellman (1959–1962, 1964)      185

23. From 1:12 Scale to Full Scale: Ambition to Design Detroit Iron Fulfilled

Frederick J. “Bud” Magaldi (1958–1960, 1962, 1965)      194

24. Lucky Number      7

Geza A. Loczi (1959–1965)      207

25. Guildsman Served Up Plexiglas Sandwiches and Candied Apples

Jeffrey A. Jones (1962–1966)      222

26. So, “Which end is the front?”

Robert W. Lawhn (1961–1964, 1966, 1967)      233

27. Blood, Sweat and Fumes: Twin Rivalry Equaled Twin Scholarships

Tom W. Graboski and Terry P. Graboski (1966–1968)      242

28. “Even If I Had Wanted to Avoid It, Design Would Have Come Looking for Me”

Spencer L. Mackay (1966–1968)      254

29. The Last Winner

Grant L. Onnie (1967–1968)      263

30. Party by Fisher: 2008 Guild Reunion Exhibition in Boston

John L. Jacobus (1961–1966)      268

In Memoriam: Charles M. “Chuck” Jordan

Ronald J. Will and John M. Mellberg      285

Appendix: Basic Guild Policies and Procedures      287

Glossary      289

Bibliography      295

About the Contributors      301

Index      305

Book Reviews & Awards

“recommended”—Choice; “John Jacobus [is] the most knowledgeable authority on the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild”—The Automotive Chronicles; “a fantastic book…fascinating”—Kaiser-Frazer Owners Club International Monthly News Bulletin; “if you ever wanted to be a car designer, then [this] is the book for you…rich history”—Old Cars Weekly; “fascinating reading…excellent photos”—CruZin’ Magazine; “takes the reader up close and personal…a worthy addition to any library and an engaging read”—SAH Journal.