By Paul Tatseos

GM bought most of them for display purposes; they were shown all over the country as the article states.  GM bought my 1956 regional winner for that purpose—they paid me $250 which was a lot of money for a 17 year old in 1956.

Knowing how GM treated a lot of it own art from Design Staff I assume most of the models went into the dumpster after they were no longer used for display purposes. After all GM junked full size cars from the Motorama’s so a few small models were not of much use after their time was up.

I personally filled many dumpsters full of drawings and renderings during my time at Design there was just no place to keep them. We had flat files stuffed so full that you had to clean out the old stuff to make room for the new.

I think several of the FBCG models that GM bought probably did survive and may come to light in the future a few have been put up for sale on Ebay.

My 1956 model did survive—whoever was in charge of cleaning out some GM storage room saw my model and took it home.  Years later his nephew offered it for sale on Ebay it sold for $666.

I have attached my letter (eBay model letter link) to the person who put the model up for sale. I was bidding on it but was overbid. As you can read in my letter, I had some concerns about what to do with the model if I won.



Possibly partially because of the Missing Models Dean’s Garage post, there is curently a behind-the-scenes renewed thrust to track down the whereabouts of the lost models. Hopefully there will be more stories come to light as the mystery unfolds.

1956 model

GM photo of Paul’s award winning Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild model.


Paul didn’t grab the photos from the eBay listing, but Ron Will did.



TatseosModel02 TatseosModel12 TatseosModel11 TatseosModel10 TatseosModel09 TatseosModel08 TatseosModel07 TatseosModel06 TatseosModel05 TatseosModel04 TatseosModel03

  1. A very familiar-looking strake you have coming off the rear wheel opening, Paul!
    This detail is what might have set it apart from the other models at the time. It might have even provided a bit of input toward the same line appearing on the production ’61 Corvette and wrapping around the tail. There was certainly nothing in ’56 that bore the same tail-form. Congratulations!

  2. Phil Payne

    Paul Tatseos’ commentary about the lost FBCG models was wrenching to read. More so that he was unable to buy it back on eBay upon tracking it down.

    As a designer at the other 3 Detroit automakers, I, too, went through that sad ritual of cleaning older art work out of the flat files to make room for new – that we all knew would be the “old” one day and wind up in a dumpster as well.

    A lot of wonderful automobile art, from all the auto companies, has been lost that way. Suggesting such older pieces be donated to the design schools to show the students what they would be competing against received instant rejection. Giving to a charity was treated the same. “Someone will claim the idea was theirs (in the sketch or rendering) and we’ll have legal problems or they’ll steal the idea in the sketch.” How silly that still seems, and in the meantime the treasures are gone.

    My salute to Dean’s Garage for publishing this and to Paul Tatseos for his excellent reporting of it.

  3. Ron Will

    On my first day as a young designer in Corvette studio I was told to go find an empty flat file and put my name on it to store my design work. I came back to the boss, Hank Haga, and told him there were no empty flat files. He followed me back to the files and told me this designer had left, so I should dump his work into the round file (trash bin) and claim the empty file. Tragically, I was dumping out the work of Larry Shinoda who is in The Corvette Hall of Fame as a key designer for many of the classic early Corvette designs. Oh, if I could only go back and save some of this historic original Shinoda design work.

  4. Gary Smith

    1973. I was the new guy in Pontiac 2 Studio. One day Tony Balthasar was cleaning out his drawer and held up a rendering. “Anybody want this?” It took me years to get it out.


  5. tony mazzola

    Paul, I have heard this same story told to me from other guildsmen I have met participating at Fisher Body Craftsman Guild reunions I’ve attended. On a good note, your model still exists and wasn’t destroyed it just happens to be in someone elses possession. Still, after reading your letter to the seller, it shows me that a lot of these people putting these models on eBay are in it for profit. They could care less about the historical significance of what you guys achieved as teenagers in less than ten months hoping to win a scholarship for school. But you have the memories of what you accomplished which is remarkable-the sellers have nothing for their efforts but money, if that means something! BTW the 2015 Salt Lake City reunion was first class-you would have felt right at home with over 28 Fisher models on display.

  6. Walt Gosden

    When I commented on the Hemmings blog about the post they made about these models I referred to the two cars that were offered on e bay. The one that Mr. Tatseos built was identified with his name, the other had no name on it. I don’t believe the other model was built by a FBCG fellow as the bumpers were milled out of a solid block of aluminum, and other details were such that one would need a really well equipped shop to build it. I think that one was built ‘in house’. The seller’s uncle worked at the Fisher body plant in Hamilton , Ohio and that is where these models wound up, and when that place was being cleaned out , rather then see the models trashed they and other stuff were taken home and saved in boxes but never really looked at. I bought the other one , which is a green and black sedan, and with the exception of one missing headlamp lens is in excellent condition. We should all be thankful that when these models and artwork were being tossed into the trash can that some of it got saved by people that appreciated what they saw .

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