The League of Retired Designers took on a Pierce-Arrow redesign as their 2018 project.

Participants included: Virgil Exner, Jr., Darwin Hawthorne, John Houlihan, David S. McIntosh, William (Bill) Michalak, William (Bill) Molzon, Howard D. (Buck) Mook, Bob Munson, and John Perkins.

The League of Retired Designers Pierce-Arrow 2018 project participants:

Virgil Exner, Jr.
International Designer of Automobiles and Power Boats
Retired 1988 as Ford Design Executive
1958–1961 U.S. Air Force Officer
1956 AB, 1957 MA University of Notre Dame

Darwin Hawthorne
1964-2002 Auto Design Executive, Ford Motor Company
1964 Art Center Graduate
1960 Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild Award

John Houlihan
2007–present; VP of Design, BullToro Watch Co., LLC
2005–2006 Adjunct Professor at University of Bridgeport
2001–2007 Consultant Designer
1979–2001 Timex Corporation, Director of Design
1978–1979 Milton Bradley Corporation, Manager of Toy Development
1971–1978 General Electric Corporation, Senior Product Designer
1970–1971 GM Design Staff, Exterior Designer
1966 University of Notre Dame, ID Major

David S. McIntosh
1964 Art Center Graduate, BPA, Transportation Design
1964-2003 Asst. Chief Designer (1980), GM Design
Advanced Design Studios (1988–91 Buick Reatta concept and production design; 1978 Pontiac Grand Prix Concept; 1970 Corvair Facelift Proposal; 1990 Saturn Coupe Preliminary Concept)
1991 Monte Carlo Show Car; 1995 Monte Carlo and Lumina
2000 Cadillac Catera (Opel, Germany)
Speed Vision Corporate Strategy and Cadillac 15-Year Vision; Cadillac Cross-Over Concept

William (Bill) Michalak
1966–2001 Senior Creative Designer, GM Design
1966 Pratt Institute Graduate

William (Bill) Molzon
1978–2003 Consultant Design, Concept Engineering, Model and Prototype Development. Designed E=Z-Go Medalist and TXT Golf Cars.
1974–1978 Calty Design Research, Assistant Chief Designer
1973 Rohr Industries, Senior Designer, Mass Transit Projects
1969–1973 Chrysler Design, Assistant Chief Designer
1963–1969 GM Design Staff, Senior Designer. Projects: 1968 Nova, 1970 Camaro, 1971 Vega, Aerodynamic Testing
1963 Art Center Graduate, Automotive Design Major
1960 General Motors Institute, Mechanical Engineering
1959 Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild, 2nd National Award, Sr. Division

Howard D. (Buck) Mook
1967-1997 Design Executive, Ford Motor Company
1967 Art Center Graduate

Bob Munson
1976 Kettering University, BME
1971–2013 GM Design Center
2000 Design Manager

John Perkins
1962-1999 Chief Designer, GM Design
1964 GM Institute Graduate
1955 Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild Honorable Mention

George Camp
1963–2001 Senior Creative Designer, GM Design
1963 Art Center College of Design Graduate


  1. Rodney Miranne

    Thanks for the design concepts and for the retired designers for creating them. Hard to pick my favorite, but I love the second one.

  2. Andrew Minney

    I’m sorry but I cannot see the point of this. The Silver Arrow was just a styling exercise done at the time. It fell, in the looks category, into the Airflow group – nice to look back on.

    Similar styling exercises were done on the Stutz and Duesenberg themes but ended up looking like variants on the Excalibur theme. Other cars were produced at the time looking like Excalibur and to my mind, fell into the “more money than taste” category.

    Again I apologise to the gentlemen involved, I mean no disrespect. Create something new with a different name.

  3. David McIntosh

    Creating something new is part of the League’s work, and is an opportunity to keep drawing and designing cars “for the fun of it”. The brands are used simply as a focus, and a look at different design approaches around a single brand. Some designers choose to use brand character cues, like the Packard grille shape, or do whatever they want to imagine a what a contemporary design might look like. Our mission statement says that we do not use current manufacturers as a starting point; we do not ‘compete’ with today’s designers. However, there was an exhibit of ‘future concepts’ shown at the Skillman Library in 2009.

  4. Virgil Exner

    To Mr. Minney,

    Perhaps you would like to show us and the industry, by your own hand, a hot, new, and different automobile design that would attract multi-million dollars in investment and satisfy public taste and purchase demand. Wow, would that ever be fun! That is what we design retirees did for most of the 20Th. century. Now we have more fun designing whatever we want!

  5. William Warner

    I have to say the Hawthorne rendition is the best. Just fabulous.

  6. Brian Daniels

    @Virgil Exner and the other esteemed designers on this post.

    It would be interesting to have your take on how you would design an SUV or CUV. Especially in the case of the most compact models it is hard to make them look good. One cannot make a tall box look sleek and most of the current attempts to make them look interesting are quite sad. The angry robot look we see so much of is getting old. Suppose you were hired to make turn the bland lump that is the Chevy Trax into something attractive. What might that look like?

  7. Virgil Exner

    Thank you Brian,

    I’d say you are exactly right and it will give me more fun to play with, after my Stutz Bearcat project, although it will still have to be a bit blob-ish owing to its’ overall size and purpose.

  8. Joe Rybicki


    I severely appreciate you talents, all of you. I wanted to work at the GM styling studio at the Tech Center, but couldn’t get a sponsor as a work study student from the University of Michigan. My closest claim to design fame was in designing the first kids car seat called a “Child Infant Restraint System” at Fisher Body Development, which is on display presently at The Henry Ford.
    My sincerest thank you to all of you for sharing your design talents. It isn’t easy work………

    Best Regards,

    Joe Rybicki
    Highlands Ranch, Colorado

  9. Bruce Wiegand

    You may recall that the Avanti was to be named Pierce Arrow, but it seemed there were trademark issues. But the Avanti logo does have an arrow through it.

  10. Scott Bailey

    Pierce-Arrow is one of my favorite marques of the ‘30s for elegance and quality and these designs interpret that spirit beautifully. All of these are exciting but my favorite is the Munson version under the porte cochere. Thank you gentlemen for reminding us of when we awaited the new car designs with the same vigor that a younger generation devotes to new smart phones. Well done.

  11. It’s so great to see the exceptional design skills of a bygone era still at work. These drawings embody history, innovation and know-how that no other generation will ever possess. Thank you all for continuing to design for the love of discovery and thank you for sharing your experiments.

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