Harley Earl: The Father Of The Corvette
There are certain American institutions that have become so much a part of the culture that it is almost impossible to imagine a time when they weren’t around. Was there really a time when people walked around and there was no baseball? How could there have possibly been a time before rock ‘n roll was invented? And how could life be worth living if there was no Super Bowl to look forward to?
The same question could be asked about the Chevy Corvette. Who could imagine life without the Corvette? The truth is that we have one man to thank for the Corvette that means so much to so many of us: one Harley Earl.
Earl was born in Hollywood, California back in 1893 and his father was a coach builder. It is natural to assume that people who were involved in the horse and buggy industry would be out of luck when the car started to come into vogue. But interestingly enough, when you study the history of the automobile industry you find that a lot of people who were involved in the building of coaches wound up being the early pioneers of the motor car.
Earl’s father wound up building custom bodies and other parts for automobiles, and Harley Earl learned the trade from him. He went on to become one of the most influential designers in the history of the industry. He is most famous for being the father of the Chevrolet Corvette, which was the product of a secret project he was working on as the head of design at General Motors known as “Project Opel.”
He passed away in 1969, but Earl was a true legend in his own time and he will never be forgotten. If you ever wonder about whether or not a single person can make a difference in the world, remember the Chevrolet Corvette and Harley J. Earl.