William L. Mitchell

Inducted 1993

Distinguished Service Citation Award 1974

Served General Motors as Vice President of Design from 1959 through 1977 Designed many of GM’s legendary automobiles including the Cadillac Eldorado, the Buick Riviera and the Corvette Stingray Bill Mitchell brought power into motion with designs for some of General Motors most spectacular production cars. The son of an auto dealer, Mitchell loved cars and had a talent for art. After studying with the New York Art Students League and at the Carnagie Institute of Technology, he found employment as an illustrator in an advertising agency. In his spare time, Mitchell sketched racing scenes and “dream cars.” Industrialist Walter Carey saw some of Mitchell’s drawings and suggested that Mitchell send samples to Harley Earl, who headed General Motors’ Art and Color section. Joining GM under Earl in 1935, Mitchell enjoyed his first design success with the 1938 Cadillac 60 Special. In 1958, Earl selected Mitchell as his successor and Mitchell was named GM’s Vice President of Design. Mitchell’s inspiration, guidance and talent were responsible for the design of such automotive legends as the Corvette Stingray, Buick Riviera, Oldsmobile Toronado, Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird. Expressing the principle that guided his work, Mitchell remarked, “It’s a sin to design an ugly car. The cost of designing, engineering and manufacturing are virtually the same, beautiful or ugly.”

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