Hugo Pfau 1908-1978


   

Although Pfau was not the famous body designer as he sometimes inferred, he did work alongside Ray Dietrich, Frank Pease, Ralph Roberts and Roland Stickney as a young office assistant/draftsman at LeBaron when it's offices were located in Manhattan. Long before he went to work there during high school he was already a rabid fan of custom auto bodies and attended all of the NY Salons and auto shows during the heyday of the custom body era.

He remained a fan during the "dark ages" of custom bodies (1940-1970) when they were regularly scrapped for their materials, and continued his life-long interest through his retirement when he wrote about his  reminisces of the east coast's great body-building firms in his two books, The Custom Body Era and the Coachbuilt Packard. He also wrote an amazing series of coachbuilding articles in Cars & Parts magazine (plus a few in Motor Trend) that to this day remain the only record of many of these long-forgotten firms.

After his stint at LeBaron, Pfau worked as a salesman for a depression-era Long Island Ford dealer and sold insurance until his retirement. He died unexpectedly in 1978 at the age of 70.

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At the same time, Frank W. Pease was employed as an additional body draftsman. He subsequently became chief engineer of the Hayes Body Company in Grand Rapids. A few months later, I was hired and much of my time the first few months was spent assisting Ray Dietrich or Frank Pease in working on the full-size body drafts, and incidentally picking up a good general knowledge of how bodies were built. I was attending New York City's first technical high school and had already completed some basic courses in mechanical drawing.

In 1925 when I graduated from high school, I joined LeBaron on a full-time basis. For the next few years all designs by LeBaron came from the drawing boards of R. L. Stickney and myself. Between us, we turned out about 200 a year.

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Hugo Pfau's wife Irene was a first grade teacher on Long Island.
 

    For more information please read:

Cars & Parts - various issues 1971-1978

Hugo Pfau at LeBaron - Motor Trend, August, 1964

Motor Trend - various issues early 1970s

Hugo Pfau - The Coachbuilt Packard

Hugo Pfau - The Custom Body Era

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

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

 

 



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