Royal Oak Historical Society Retired Designers’ 2021 Show

Photos by Ryan Gertner
More of his photos can be found here:


Participants included: Rich Beck, Gene Bordinat. Steve Brown, Pres Bruning, George Camp, Ron Doan (pedal car), Tony Frassetto, Darwin Hawthorne, Roger Hughet, Wayne Kady, Jack? Kenitz, Tom Land, Dave McIntosh, Bill Michalak, Howard (Buck) Mook, William Moraniec, Bud Mugaldi, Bob Munson, John Perkins, Kent Rathburn, Dennis Reardon, Elia (Russ) Russinoff, Dick Ruzzin, Greg Tufford, and Don Wood.


The League of Retired Automotive Designers 

The beginning of the League—Together with Ron Van Gelderen, a former marketing executive with GM Styling and president of the Cadillac LaSalle Club at that time, Virgil Exner, Jr. created the logo and article for his club. Ron and Virgil dreamed up the League of Retired Automotive Designers to have fun presenting designs of an agreed-upon make of car that we all agreed to do in any two-dimensional medium. We gained instant membership from many of our designer friends, and showed our works at several car museums and auto shows in the past 14 years. Usually we get about 20–25 [participants per year from over 95 members. Many were top car design executives of the 20th Century.—Virgil Exner, Jr.

  1. Ron Will

    Like riding a bicycle, these fine designers will never lose their exceptional talent to design beautiful and creative automotive designs. Congratulations to all of you.

  2. Nick houvras

    Wonderful show.
    No sculptors though.
    And many designers passed away. I visited Roger Hughet when he was ill. I worked with Roger and Bill Porter before I was transferred to Pontiac studio and Roger became Jack Humberts’ assistant designer.
    Donald Hronek and I meet in Cadillac studio. Also Peter Maier who is still kicking and doing art work not automotive now. We still communicate.
    Chuck Jordan.
    Bill mitchel.
    Bill had a secret studio under the administration building called studio
    X. He was doing a three wheeled vehicle I worked on for a short while in clay. I don’t remember the other two sculptors or whose design it was. No one was allowed to come in and one day Chuck came in and
    When Bill found out he gave Chuck hell. I think Al Swenson was one of the engineers in the X studio.
    So many who are gone now!

  3. Al Meadows

    I have had a smile on my face the entire time that I cruised through this. Thanks Dean.

  4. Andrew Miles

    What a delight to see such a large amount of exceptional work from exceptional people. I could browse these pictures for hours and concur with Al Meadows comment, above. Hard to pick a favourite but the golden wedge by Wayne Kady works for me.
    Many thanks for bringing us these, Gary

  5. Andrew Danish

    These are awesome! Such a body of creativity.

  6. David McIntosh

    Thanks to Wayne Kady for the terrific organization of the show, Ryan Gertner
    photography, Steve Brown’s poster, and Muriel Versaggi and her staff at the Royal Oak Historical Museum for giving the League a place to show our work past and current. We were lucky in these times to be able to show.


    I think this was the best show that they have had. I know Steve Brown did a lot of background work as well as having work in the show. Wayne Kady also did a lot to organize the exhibit itself.
    A great effort by all.

    Dick Ruzzin

  8. Designer friend Ron Will’s comments, ‘beautiful and creative automotive designs,’ speak volumes for these League Members. Their talents are remarkable and admired. About the League, it was the brain child of Ron VanGelderen, an automotive aficionado, avid collector of Cadillacs and LaSalles, author of a fine book about LaSalles and the inventor of Astro Terf. He attended the 2004 Eyes of Design and introduced himself to Chuck Jordan and I while we were on station at the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild Exhibit Tent on the Edsel Ford Estate grounds, adjacent to Edsels Design Studio. This was the day following the ‘first reunion’ of the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild Model Car Competion, held at GM Design, in the Styling Dome, for which Chuck and I were the organizers. Ron asked us if we’d be interested in organizing a group involving retired automotive designers who would develop concept renderings of selected Marques and then exhibit these at automotive venues, giving us the chance to showcase our ideas in a public way for the fun of it. From this the League of Retired Automotive Designers came to be and we formed a founding team of fellow designers as council, including Ron Van Gelderen, Chuck Jordan, John Mellberg, Elia Russinoff, Wayne Kady and Virgil Exner Jr,. We spread the word and our first official event showing was at the 2006 Grand National Cadillac-LaSalle Club Convention/Concours in Anaheim, California. Designers from the Big-3 were participants and with the shows success the League was established and the rest is history…. When Ron VanGelderen stepped down as administrator, Stu Shuster replaced him, and when Stu stepped down, Dave McIntosh capably filled the void and now new talent administers the Leagues activities.

    Thanks Gary for showcasing this latest League Event and congratulations to the designers for sharing their talents with us!

    John M. Mellberg,
    League Team Founding Member

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