Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild Model Car, 1957

This automobile model was entered into the 1957 Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild contest by Arthur Russell of Los Angeles, California. He won first place nationally in the senior division (ages 17-19) for the model, and was awarded a $5,000 scholarship. Russell had entered models the previous four years, winning a $1,000 styling award for his 1956 entry. The model was made of wood, with front and rear trim made of chrome plated brass. The windshield is clear acrylic, and the car’s lights are made of plastic. The interior is also impressively detailed, with red pleated seat covers, dashboard gauges, stick shift, and chrome steering wheel.
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
Object Name
car model
Russell, Arthur
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
Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
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