Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild Model Car, 1948

This automobile model was entered into the 1948 Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild competition by 18-year-old Harvey E. Whitman of Jackson, Michigan. He was awarded first place in the national senior division and received the $4,000 scholarship prize. The model is made from plaster with aluminum detailing on the front and rear. The windows are painted an opaque grey color, and the maple tires are painted to resemble whitewall tires.
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
automobile model
associated institution
Fisher Body Craftman's Guild
Whitman, Harvey E.
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
Additional Media

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