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Designing and Building a Model Automobile.

Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild.

Instruction booklet for the 1950 Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild competition.
The Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild was a corporate-sponsored youth outreach program, which brought together boys and young men aged 12-20 from across America in a combination industrial arts competition and a General Motors’ talent search.
Ads for the competition were placed in leading publications and magazines of the day. Participants filled out a coupon and were sent instructions on how to build and produce a model car for submission. Models needed to follow strict specifications and participants signed a pledge card stating the product was his own work. Children of General Motors employees were allowed to complete, but where a GM employee child’s submission was was chosen, a duplicate award was granted.
Generous college scholarships were awarded to those demonstrating the highest technical skill in constructing a 1:18 scale Miniature Model Napoleonic Coach (1930 -1947) which resembled Fisher Body’s logo, or a scratch-built 1:12 scale model “Dream Car,” incorporating their own original styling ideas (1937-1968).
The competition produced a great deal of goodwill and public relations favor, creating a buzz and excellent exposure for the developing field of industrial design. It became a practical success for the auto industry as the Fisher Body division employed over 200 Guild graduates, and over 35% of GM styling graduates were Guild graduates. Ford, Chrysler, independent design studios, and contract body builders such as Budd and Murray hired Guild graduates as well.
Success of the program cascaded overseas to GM’s holdings in Europe and Australia, lasting in Europe until 1979.
1968 marked the end of the program in the United States as GM executives decided the cost-benefit was not sufficient and more colleges built strong industrial design programs producing more skilled graduates.

Ferens, Wayne. "Remembering the Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild." 2021
Schreiber, Ron. “The Truth About Cars news blog.” 2012.
“Fisher Body Craftsman.” General Motors, 1983.
Jacobus, John L. “Fisher Body Craftsman Guild.”