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.