Creative Fuel for the Soul

A photo essay of the Exhibit at the Pontiac Creative Art Center featuring design sketches and renderings from production and advance Pontiac Studios. The exhibit ran from August 21 through October 3, 2021.

Photos by and courtesy of Ryan Gertner

More of his photos can be found here:

  1. Andrew Miles

    Goodness, two adorable sets of fine automotive work in but a few days. The hours spent just ogling… my favourites being Jim Ewen’s flying ‘66 GP and the purple “shooting brake” being guided around the corner.

    They say there’s no substitute for being there but even though travelling appears to have re-started, there’s little chance of me hopping on a plane from the U.K. to come see these exhibits. So many thanks for Gary and Ryan for offering the alternative.

  2. Clark Lincoln

    Well, this was a surprise to see. As part of the League of Retired Designers, I must have decided not to participate because of the Pandemic, even though I was in Pontiac Studio for a short stint as Assistant Chief to Terry Henline. As I recall, I was only involved in a couple of facelift programs…. I enjoyed seeing those stunning pieces from Jim Ewen. I remember him as a very decent and modest individual, as he retired not long after I hired in.

  3. john manoogian II

    There’s a soft spot in my heart for Pontiac Design having spent 15 yrs of my career in the Pontiac Studio. This display is nothing short of spectacular. Thanks so much for showcasing this awesome collection of Pontiac sketches.

  4. Ron Will

    There are perhaps over 50 pieces of wonderful automotive design art here. What is hard to imagine is that the Pontiac studio alone probably turned out at least a thousand times this number of sketches developing all the Pontiac models over the years. Unfortunately, most have been lost to time. So, we must appreciate the ones that survived for this exhibition.

  5. Leon Dixon

    What a rush of exhilarating feelings! Viewing this fabulous exhibition takes me right back to the kind of tingling excitement I used to feel about automobiles and automotive design growing up in Detroit. And immense feelings of pride. Incredibly talented people from my home town… dreamed the dreams that sometimes became actual cars. Rolling art and performance you could actually sit in, buy, drive and enjoy! And keep in your garage.

    This is the kind of design work that held promise of good things to come in the future. The optimism we all once had. And the utter skill and beautiful vision of Detroit’s automotive designers. Just looking at the renderings imparts a feeling of energy. The stretched, formed and flowing sheet metal. Love the one Pontiac getting air and the sleek, flowing lines of so many depicted here.

    These designs weren’t mere art, but rather an incredible sharing of compelling vision. These stunning renderings were the kind that made me WANT to drive and own the kinds of automobiles they depict.

    And what an incredible peek at the genius that was not just the individual designers but also what was once Pontiac Division. Just look at the talent here. And the volume of work –out of just one division of GM.

    There were so many years when I could not decide which Pontiac I loved the most. And for so long, each new model year would just take us another beautiful leap ahead. I remember loving 1954 so much… and then 1955 arrived and the Safari! I couldn’t wait to run over to Grates Pontiac dealership so we could buy one! I adored the 1958s, but then the 1959s arrived….then the 1960s, each one a new thrill just to look at. By 1965, I remember going to Packer Pontiac… and just wanting one of each model starting with the GTO and then a 2+2 and a Grand Prix… and Bonneville. Each, just incredibly beautiful and exciting to me. When 1968 rolled around, I bought a GTO convertible and ordered it WHILE I was in the war in Viet Nam (yes I spell it in two words as they once did).

    If only the auto industry of today could generate this kind excitement in the salesroom and out on the streets. But I guess this is what makes today a different world.

    Immense thanks to the designers and to whomever assembled this exhibition. And of course, thanks to the photographer(s). And thanks to Dean’s Garage. Great stuff!

  6. Passion, performance and visual design excitement, that was Pontiac! For those of us who owned and helped design Pontiac’s, Pontiacs demise is felt all the more seeing this remarkable presentation of the creative energy/talents that existed within the Advanced and Production Pontiac Studios at GM Design/Styling only a few years ago. My last Pontiac, a Pearl White 2004 Bonneville SSEi that I hated to part with after 175,000 miles, but with the Marque dropped, parts were becoming hard to find, so I traded it in for a Cadillac XT-5, which doesn’t compare to the excellence of the last Bonneville. GM’s dropping their ‘performance division’ was a huge mistake…. Thanks for showcasing this ‘dreamscape/vision’ of creative talent at GM Design, which exists within all the Studios at General Motors, not just Pontiac! One more thing, bring back the Pontiac…
    John M. Mellberg
    Automotive Designer, Ret.d.

  7. Nothing beats pencil, ink and imagination.
    The graphic skill is amazing.
    I wanted to be an automotive artist when I was a kid.

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