John Oswald


A body engineer and designer for Auburn who deigned the Cord L-29 and Duesenberg Model J. Later as staff stylist at Ford from 1947 on.


Because of the drive configuration, chief design engineer John Oswald was able to style the L-29 very long and low, which made it look sleek against its contemporaries.

But, oh, what the layout did for looks. The super long front allowed body engineer John Oswald to create a flowing hood and fenders ensemble while Auburn chief designer Al Leamy applied a Duesenberg-style radiator that only accented that impressive length and the lowness conferred by front wheel drive. In all, the L-29 looked sensational in its four "factory" body styles: Sedan, Brougham, Phaeton and Cabriolet, all supplied by subsidiary Cord companies.

By 1948, Buehrig wondered if he would ever get back to what he loved best, auto design. He did, with Ford Motor Company. In 1949, Buehrig went to work for Ford's John Oswald, then head of body engineering and styIing, as head of the body development studio. One of five studios at Ford Styling, this group was responsible for creating station wagons and convertibles from standard sedan bodies designed in the other studios. Buehrig's first assignment was the car which became the 1951 Ford hardtop. xxxx

John Oswald, the man who had penned many a memorable Auburn design, was tapped to draw the lines of the L-29 Cord, and he took every advantage of the front-wheel-drive layout. While all the rear-wheel-drive cars on the road had bodies that sat up high above their driveshafts (Stylists had yet to prevail upon engineers to let the shaft run through the passenger compartment.), the L-29 sat elegantly low. Its hoodline was a foot lower than its luxury car competition.

And what a hoodline!

It extended nearly half the length of the car. Not only was the long hood a styling statement that resonates to the present day, it was also a necessity. Under that hood was a Lycoming-built longitudinally mounted straight-eight powerplant that displaced 299 cubic inches (4.9 liters). Not only was the engine long, it was also preceded by the transmission that straddled the front axle. Housing that formidable drivetrain took a bunch of sheetmetal and even then the last cylinder of the engine intruded into the passenger compartment ala the AMC Pacer.



For more information please read:

Biographies of Prominent Carriage Draftsmen - Carriage Monthly, April 1904

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Michael Lamm and Dave Holls - A Century of Automotive Style: 100 Years of American Car Design

Nick Georgano - The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile: Coachbuilding

George Arthur Oliver - A History of Coachbuilding

George Arthur Oliver - Cars and Coachbuilding: One Hundred Years of Road Vehicle Development

Hugo Pfau - The Custom Body Era

Beverly Rae Kimes - The Classic Car

Beverly Rae Kimes - The Classic Era

Richard Burns Carson - The Olympian Cars

Brooks T. Brierley - Auburn, Reo, Franklin and Pierce-Arrow Versus Cadillac, Chrysler, Lincoln and Packard

Brooks T. Brierley - Magic Motors 1930

James J. Schild - Fleetwood: the Company and the Coachcraft

John R. Velliky - Dodge Brothers/Budd Co. Historical Photo Album

Stephen Newbury -  Car Design Yearbook 1

Stephen Newbury -  Car Design Yearbook 2

Stephen Newbury -  Car Design Yearbook 3

Dennis Adler - The Art of the Sports Car: The Greatest Designs of the 20th Century

C. Edson Armi - The Art of American Car Design: The Profession and Personalities

C. Edson Armi - American Car Design Now

Penny Sparke - A Century of Car Design

John Tipler - The World's Great Automobile Stylists

Ivan Margolius - Automobiles by Architects

Jonathan Bell - Concept Car Design

Erminie Shaeffer Hafer - A century of vehicle craftsmanship

Ronald Barker & Anthony Harding - Automobile Design: Twelve Great Designers and Their Work

John McLelland - Bodies beautiful: A history of car styling and craftsmanship

Frederic A. Sharf - Future Retro: Drawings From The Great Age Of American Automobiles

Paul Carroll Wilson - Chrome Dreams: Automobile Styling Since 1893

David Gartman - Auto Opium: A Social History of American Automobile Design

Nick Georgano - Art of the American Automobile: The Greatest Stylists and Their Work

Matt Delorenzo - Modern Chrysler Concept Cars: The Designs That Saved the Company

Thom Taylor - How to Draw Cars Like a Pro

Tony Lewin & Ryan Borroff - How To Design Cars Like a Pro

Frederick E. Hoadley - Automobile Design Techniques and Design Modeling: the Men, the Methods, the Materials

Doug DuBosque - Draw Cars

Jonathan Wood - Concept Cars

D. Nesbitt - 50 Years Of American Auto Design

David Gartman - Auto Opium: A Social History of American Automobile Design

Lennart W. Haajanen & Karl Ludvigsen - Illustrated Dictionary of Automobile Body Styles

L. J. K Setright - The designers: Great automobiles and the men who made them

Goro Tamai - The Leading Edge: Aerodynamic Design of Ultra-Streamlined Land Vehicles

Brian Peacock & Waldemar Karwowski - Automotive Ergonomics

Bob Thomas - Confessions of an Automotive Stylist

Brooke Hodge & C. Edson Armi - Retrofuturism: The Car Design of J Mays

Gordon M. Buehrig - Rolling sculpture: A designer and his work

Henry L. Dominguez - Edsel Ford and E.T. Gregorie: The Remarkable Design Team...

Stephen Bayley - Harley Earl (Design Heroes Series)

Stephen Bayley - Harley Earl and the Dream Machine

Serge Bellu - 500 Fantastic Cars: A Century of the World Concept Cars

Raymond Loewy - Industrial Design

Raymond Loewy - Never Leave Well Enough Alone

Philippe Tretiack - Raymond Loewy and Streamlined Design

Angela Schoenberger - Raymond Loewy: Pioneer of American Industrial Design

Laura Cordin - Raymond Loewy


2004, Inc. | Index | Disclaimer | Privacy