Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild Reunion

The Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild began in 1930 to encourage teenagers to build a Napoleonic coach model from a set of plans. The coach was Fisher Body's trademark and the contest concentrated on following precise instructions that tested the competitors' construction skills. The winners recieved college scholorships worth thousands of dollars.

In 1937 the contest began shifting from craftsmanship to styling with the addition of a design competition. Contestants created a 1/12 scale model dream car. The full force of General Motors' public relations and marketing departments promoted the contest nationwide. Enrollment approached 600,000 members during the 1950's, making the organization second in size only to the Boy Scouts of America.

Regional winners were treated with a trip to Detroit and a tour of the General Motors Tech Center. Design judges came straight from GM's styling staff and many of the winners went on to America's top design schools. FBCG alumni are also represented in the Adrew F. Johnson Gallery including Richard Arbib, Pete Wozena, Bob Cadaret, Bud Magaldi, Milt Antonick, George Anderson and John Perkins.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston recently hosted a FBCG reunion and model exhibition. About 60 past contestants brought their 40+ year old models for the event that also included a variety of lectures on car design, model building and automotive history.

The two-day event was well attended with design enthusiasts of all ages. The Guildmen were on hand to answer questions about the models and their careers in design and engineering. The MFA Bookstore published a calatog of the exhibition that includes 93 color photographs.

You can learn much more about Fisher Body Craftman's Guild history in John Jacobus' book and website listed in this blog's Car Design Links section. There's also more about this reunion on Virginia Tatseos' blog.


Anonymous said...

I was part of the Fisher Body Craftman's Guild in 1968. My model has long since disappeared and has been forgotten. Is there an alumni association? Great website!

It is also sad to see how far GM has fallen since those golden years.

Danny L. McDaniel
Lafayette, Indiana

Brett Snyder said...

Danny - please check out the Fisher Guild link in the right hand column of this blog page. There are reunions every few years and other get togethers at model shows.

Anonymous said...

The Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild model car exhibition is moving to the Arizona Biltmore, on January 18th and 19th, 2013. Exhibition space in the main lobby has been generously provided by the Arizona Biltmore in cooperation with RM Auctions.

Teenage boys from the 1930's to 1960's were able to express their ideas for the "Car of the Future" in the, GM sponsored, Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild contest. The contest was open to boys 12 to 19 years old who were asked to design and build a 1/12 scale model advanced car design. The model sport cars, sedans and wagons could be made of carved wood or cast in plaster and painted. Thousands of model cars were entered each year. The payoff for the winner would be a college scholarship, cash and a trip to Detroit to meet real car designers. For many, this would be the start of a professional career in auto design.

Now over 65 of these unique, hand built futuristic models are being gathered together for a show at the famous Arizona Biltmore Hotel. The original model builders, many of them car designers, will be there to show off their models during the two day show January 18th and 19th, 2013. The show is timed to coordinate with the Scottsdale Auto Auction week, giving many more auto enthusiasts the opportunity to see this show.

Several top national winners, as well as several state and regional winning model cars are scheduled to be on display. Don't miss this once in a lifetime unique show of automotive design history.

This show was originally scheduled for the Scottsdale International Auto Museum, but they are relocating to a new facility during January.

Contact Ron Will for more information.

Anonymous said...

If you have a Fisher Body Guild model, contact Ron Will at Events are now in the planning stage for 2014 and 2015. Even if you do not plan on attending any events, we would love to get a photo of your model for the Guild archives.