By John Mellberg
Our designer friend and colleague, Elia ‘Russ’ Russinoff, has provided a portfolio of his work to feature on Dean’s Garage, shown on behalf of the Automotive Designers Guild and The League of Retired Automotive Designers, of which Russ is a fellow member.
Included among the 40+ sketches/photos is an image of a gold-colored 3/8ths scale model, called Illusion with the greenhouse sculpturally integrated into the form of the vehicle body, created in celebration of GM’s having worked with Libby-Owens-Ford (LOF) on vehicle glass development for 50 years. The cartoon in the portfolio, by Stan Parker, depicts several designers, modelers, and tech stylists with Russ seated in the vehicle. The illustration showing a dramatic 3/4 rear perspective of a pointy advanced car design demonstrates Russ’s out-of-the-box thinking. The Mead-like rendering of a couple of hovering, wheelless vehicles, was used along with other futuristic renderings by other designers for a presentation by Bill Mitchell on automotive design. Other images shown are from Russ’s work in Advanced Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile, and Chevrolet Studios, the Aero Studio, and Advanced Vehicle Concepts Studio.
It’s been my good fortune to have known Russ for over 40 years, and I enjoyed working with him during my early days at GM Styling, in the Advanced Pontiac Studio, where he was a creative inspiration to all of us who worked with him. We’ve remained good friends for all these years, and I can truthfully say that while the years have passed, his enthusiasm, love, and passion for good car design is as sharp as it was back in the late 1960s when we worked together. His concept contributions as one of the founding members of the League of Retired Automotive Designers, at the various venues the League has exhibited its members designs at in recent years are exciting and forward thinking. Russ was also 1st Place Sr. National Winner in the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild Model Car Competition in 1949, and has been active in Guild Events over the years since, including the 2004 Guild Reunion held at GM Design, and the Eyes On Design concours event that year.
Elia (Russ) Russinoff
1955-1995 Asst. Chief Designer, GM Design
1960s Contributed to styling of several production Pontiacs and advanced aero projects
1955 Contributed to styling of Cadillac Town & Country show car
1954 Pratt Institute Graduate
1949 Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild 1st, Nat’l Sr. Award