Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild Model Car, 1962

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This automobile model was entered into the 1962 Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild contest by Richard J. Johnson of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He was given the Styling Award for his model, which came with a $1,000 prize. The wooden model has a red body, a one-piece black opaque wrapping around the front and sides of the car, with chrome accents at the front and rear. In 1963 Richard Johnson would advance win his region and go all the way to the national finals.
From 1930 until 1968, the Fisher Body Division of General Motors sponsored the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild and its annual model-building competition. For the first seven years of the contest, the young men in the Guild built models of a Napoleonic carriage (the Fisher Body logo) to show their high precision skills in craftsmanship. In 1937 the contest expanded to include model automobiles, which became a source of inspiration for new GM automobiles. By 1948 model cars became the only accepted entry for the contest. Winning car models were both practical and stylish original designs made with superior craftsmanship on an exacting 1/12th scale. For General Motors, the competition was a major public relations success while also serving as a type of design aptitude test for the entrants. For the young men of the Guild, the contest was a chance to win scholarships, cash prizes, and an once-in-a-lifetime all-expenses paid trip to Detroit for the regional winners. Designs featured in these models would often presage production automobiles, as many winners went on to work for General Motors or other automotive companies as designers.
Currently not on view
Johnson, Richard J.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: 15 in x 6 in x 4 in; 38.1 cm x 15.24 cm x 10.16 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Richard J. Johnson
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild
Data Source
National Museum of American History


"The Richard P. Johnson, National Styling Award Model from the 1962 Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild model car competition is one of 11 Guild model cars and a 1931 miniature model Napoleonic Coach collected by Roger B. White and William Withuhn (Transportation Div., NMAH) in the late 1980s. The models included national scholarship, regional and state award winners. The collection was exhibited and displayed in the Hall of Transportation (NMAH) on the Nation's Mall from 1991 to 2001. Roger and Bill's NMAH collection inspired other public Guild Model Exhibitions (including Reunions for the contestants called Guildsmen ) at vensues such as 2004 (GM Tech Center), 2008 (Museum of Fine Art, Boston), 2013 (AZ Biltmore, Phoenix), and 2015 at the 25th Aniversary of GSL in Salt Lake City. Roger and Bill really started something with that collection not to mention 2 books that have been published. Simply stated the Guildsmen are debted to Roger and Bill for preserving this sliver of auto design history. "

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