There is a lot of creativity and interesting design to be discovered when designers apply their skills and interest to modifying what Detroit built. The customizer must have a very thorough understanding of the vocabulary of forms he’s working with to successfully reinvent the design. Plus, custom cars aren’t modeled in clay first. They are skillfully built in metal, a very unforgiving medium. Harry doesn’t merely create concept sketches; he also provides details on how the modifications would be executed.

Harry’s designs and presentations are lively and exciting. Harry has several illustration styles, and his techniques overcome the limitations of black and white magazine reproduction. He inspires us to start sketching again just for the joy of it, a luxury that many of us have long since forgotten because of the pressures of life and trying to make a living.

There is a book published on Harry’s work entitled Harry Bentley Bradley, American Automotive Design Innovator by Fredercik A. Sharf and published by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Images and information sources came from my own files, Kustomrama, and Rikster.

Be sure to catch Harry’s biography and examples of his early work in the post entitled Harry Bentley Bradley, Part 1, published on February 18, 2010.









  1. Kelly Sharpton

    Thanks for posting the images of the custom work by Bradley. What was he like at Art Center as a instructor?


  2. joe gagan

    Thanks for all these great works! I have already spent hours studying and enjoying them. Harry Bradley has been a hero of mine since I was about 7 years old!

  3. Matt

    What an impressive collection, thanks for posting!

    I had Bradley as an instructor for Viscom 1 at Art Center—what a wild ride that was! He was legendarily demanding, strict, and downright uncompromising. Some hated him, frankly. A few loved his relentless expectations of excellence, and most grudgingly came to respect and ultimately understand what he was all about—helping us realize our potential.

    The most valuable thing he ever ever said to me was “do something.” He was specifically talking about separating surface planes with different values, making one lighter or one darker, doing something, anything to communicate shapes.

    I found that his “do something” advice applied to a whole bunch of things, not just sketching, or modeling, or designing, but to life itself. Do something, try something, learn something. Try, fail, succeed, whatever. Always do something.

    It’s been over a decade since that class, and he has now retired from teaching, but I know I will always rely on the foundation he helped me build. I still think about things he said to me in that class; little insights, insults, and occasional priceless compliments that made it all worthwhile.

  4. don chambers

    I just finished building a custom 55 chevy nomad that will be at the grand natl roadster show. The custom roof is based on a Harry Bradley drawing.

  5. Flanders

    Thanks for the great comment on Harry-
    He is my uncle and I will pass it on to him-
    Best wishes-

  6. Andy Kurutz

    Mr. Bradley has an incredible knack of taking existing car designs and transforming them into the most ultimate stunning designs; many with several solutions! Amazing work!

  7. Tim Moe

    I have always enjoyed what Harry Bradley comes up with, be it on paper or real life. Top notch.
    I have one of his stylings in real life. Called the ” Baron”, built by Dick Blakley. It’s a fiberglas body on a custom steel frame. The styling is beyond beautiful. It bares a strong resemblance to images 118 & 120, both designs are the 2nd from bottom.
    I would like to get in touch with Mr. Bradley to send him some photos. Is there a way for me to contact him?

  8. Roxanne

    Matt is spot on in his description of Harry Bradley.

  9. Edward Matula

    Great collection. Bradley has been one of my favorite illustrators of all time.

  10. Sadly one of my greatest Art Center College of Design teachers Harry Bradley passed a way on the 13th of May 2023. R.I.P.

    He was a good instructor. Thanks for letting Dean’s Garage know.—Gary

  11. Robb McCann

    Rest in Hot Rod Heaven, Harry. I hear it’s loud up there.
    A great teacher with an impossibly unique technique.
    A great friend, sarcasm as dry as week old toast.
    My life would not be the same without him.

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

clear formSubmit