Harry F. Barr

Distinguished Service Citation Award 1978

He joined General Motors laboratory as a technician for Cadillac Motor Car Division after graduation from the University of Detroit in 1929. In 1937 he became Cadillac project engineer and subsequently held various engineering posts with that division, including chief engineer of the Cleveland (Ohio) Ordnance Plant.

By 1950, he was assistant chief engineer of Cadillac, 1952 assistant chief of Chevrolet in charge of engine and passenger car chassis. Four years hence he was chief engineer, a position he held until1963. Under his guidance, Chevrolet introduced many new models, features and important developments in transmissions, engines and suspensions. The all-new truck line came in 1960.

In 1963, he was elected a vice president of General Motors and in charge of the Engineering staff. Duties included the overall mission to explore and develop future automotive vehicles and components and to coordinate Corporation programs on vehicle safety.

He was a leader. Under his direction were the GM Proving Grounds at Milford, Michigan, Mesa, Arizona and the Manitou Springs, Colorado test facility; Automotive Safety Engineering, New Device Section, Parts Fabrication, Technical Liaison Section and Engineering Standards.

As chairman of the GM Engineering Policy Group and General Technical Committee he kept in close contact with the divisional engineering and technical matters. All during his automotive career he was a devoted member of the Society of Automotive Engineers, served on the SAE Board of Directors of the Engineering Society of Detroit, the American Ordnance Association, Detroit Institute of Technology and others.

He always had time to serve on the community level; interested in the welfare of people, schools and growth of his community. Of him automotive writers have said, “he was a first-rate engineer, the sort of solid designer required to come up with any significant new design”.

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