Andy Graybeal

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The Boulevard Cruiser, one of Andy's designs from 1952. The "Boulevard Cruiser" was designed to fill the personal runabout market, like the T-Bird or the first Corvette, only about three years in advance of them as it turned out. It featured tunneled-type headlights and flush rear wheel covers.
This photo, taken across the street from Gordon Vann's Body Shop shows an aluminum bodied coupe that Andy helped design during the years of 1953-1954. Andy had to leave the project partially designed due to the army. This photo was taken on a weekend pass in the fall of 1954. Photo courtesy of Andy Graybeal.
The coupe was built around a Studebaker firewall, windshield and door mechanism. The rest of the body was inspired by the Ghia concept cars done for Chrysler in the early 1950s Gordon decided that building his own chassis for the coupe wasn't profitable, so he built it on a Kurtis 500K chassis with torsion bar suspension. Photo courtesy off Andy Graybeal.
A photo of Andy taken at the GM Tech Center in 1960. In 2017 Howard Miereanu told Kustomrama that the three of them were selected as stand ins for a publicity photo showing head of design; " Chrysler's Virgil Exner, GM's Bill Mitchell and Ford's Henry Ford ll. Left to right, George Angersbach as Exner, me as Mitchell and Andy Graybeal as Ford. All are ArtCenter grads and all were hired by GM the same time." Photo courtesy of Howard Miereanu.

Andy Graybeal of Mountain View, California. In 1953, Gordon Vann, of Gordon Vann's Body Shop, gave Andy a little office space with a window at the West end of his shop. Andy, who was 20 years old at the time was very interested in auto design, and he had a sketchbook full of designs that he showed Gordon. According to Andy, Gordon was a non-conformist. If you look at his 1917 Dodge roadster, he could have found a number of T-buckets and 1932 Ford radiator shells to use when he built the roadster, but he wanted an original. Andy "marched to the beat of a different drummer as well", and they hit it off, so Gordon asked if Andy might like to try his hand at designing an aluminum coupe he had scheduled to build. The coupe was built around a Studebaker firewall, windshield and door mechanism. The rest of the body was inspired by the Ghia concept cars done for Chrysler in the early 1950s Gordon decided that building his own chassis for the coupe wasn't profitable, so he built it on a Kurtis 500K chassis with torsion bar suspension. Andy had to leave the project partially designed due to the army. He was first shipped to Ft. Ord. After that he was shipped to Germany where he found a German girl that he married. Later on he enrolled at Art Center School. At the Art Center School Andy became classmate with Syd Mead, and he remembers that everyone in transportation design was inspired by Syd, and that it was a real stretch to equal his design concepts. After graduating from Art Center, Andy landed a job at General Motors designing cars in 1960. Andy consider the time at Gordon Vann's shop as a valuable incubator. For Andy, getting a design job at GM Styling was like getting into Pixar. It was the Taj Mahal of facilities with one problem: it was in Michigan. After two winters in Warren, Michigan at the GM Tech Center, Andy threw in the towel and returned to Tucson for about four years. In 1965 he moved back to Berkley, where it all started for Andy and his automotive career. He has lived in Mountain View since 1970, working in design and illustration ever since.[1]


References

  1. Andy Graybeal


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