This Documentary Pays Tribute To Classic American Car Designers

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

The money was flowing, the pavements were widening, the population was expanding. The heyday of the American auto industry meant designers had free will to push all creative limits to accommodate the driving class, and now a documentary is here to celebrate their accomplishments.

"American Dreaming" focuses its lens on the American auto industry between 1946 and 1973 — just before the Malaise Era. Keep in mind where our collective mindset was around that time: Space races, dreams of flying cars, integrating automated "computers" into households. And we're all better for those inspirations.

Per the documentary's description:

America's post-war period fostered an era of economic expansion and a burgeoning middle class. This was a heady, optimistic time. People wanted all the modern conveniences and were drawn to modern futuristic designs. Detroit's auto executives speculated on a raising market share for visually appealing cars. Automotive design studios were enlarged or created. Artists replaced engineers who handled the majority of design work pre-war. Styling studios were staffed by small elite groups of highly creative and technically exacting artists, many who held university degrees in the new field of automotive or industrial design. This is the era when automotive design reached its maturity.


Even back in the glory days of the automobile industry, automakers took care to prevent leaks by requiring designers to toss out any of their sketches. Luckily many of those designers had the forethought to save their sketches; one designer mentions that employees would create false bottoms in boxes when old sketches were ready to be tossed out.

"Dreaming" is a Detroit production through and through. Greg Salustro and Robert Edwards, the film's producers, both have family that worked in the industry, while local enthusiast Jim Toscano handles direction.


The documentary is very much in the beginning stages, though. At least 30 designers will be interviewed, which then will be boiled down to a 70-minute production. An online fundraiser is in the works, and both producers have their eye toward a wide release. More details are here on the doc's Facebook page.


Thanks Jim!