The Styling Section, and Art and Colour Studio at General Motors were created, and headed by Harley Earl (1893-1969). From the late 1920s, and on into the 1950s Harley Earl headed the design evolution at GM. It was under Earl’s guidance that the utilitarian design of early automobiles evolved into rolling Art of the 30s, 40s, and 50s cars we love today.
The first car done in the Art and Colour Studio under Earl’s direction was for Lawrence Fisher (Body by Fisher). Earl asked for a 1927 LaSalle chassis on which he would build his design. The car would be of advanced design in that the chassis was lowered 4”. The design was aggressive, but not loud, the posts were much thinner than usual, and the windshield was two piece and formed a slight V. There was concern that the thin posts would not be strong enough, so the entire car was made of steel rather than the wood frame construction that was typical of the time. The interior wood decor was a work of art. When the project was nearing completion Earl was asked "What will we call it”? Earl thought for a moment…. Pauline Frederick, a popular stage and film star of the day, was starring in a show called Madam X, Earl had seen the show the night before, and dined with the young Starlet after the show. He said we’ll call it the Madam X.
The name Madam X denoted a sense of style, beauty, grace and savoir faire. It was a name given to all the Special Vehicles that were created in the Art and Colour Studio for special clients, favored customers, or GM Executives. Their styling was forward looking, and they often incorporated new technology that wasn’t yet available on current production vehicles. The Dream Cars, and Concept Cars of the 50s were also created in the Art and Colour Studio. The designers under Earl’s guidance were pushing the limits of design, and the manufacturing abilities of the day.
Fast forward to today, and the Team at Foose Design has created another Madam X for Wes and Vivian Rydell. Chip has re-imagined a design first done by Art Ross in 1935 as a concept drawing for a 1938 Cadillac 60 Special. Starting with a 1939 Cadillac 60 Special 4 door, the car has been re-bodied by Marcel and Luc Deley of Marcel’s Custom Metal as a 2 door coupe with a removable hard top. Just like the early days at the GM Studios, Chip and his team are building beautifully styled cars that push the limits of design, engineering and craftsmanship.
- Wes and Vivian Rydell's 1939 Cadillac Sixty Special
- Chip has re-imagined a concept first designed by Art Ross in 1935.
- Stretched 2-door-conversion by Marcel's Custom Metal.
- Full custom Chassis built by Foose Design
- C6 Corvette Suspension
- Gen V LT1 Corvette Motor
- GM Escalade 8SP 8L90 Automatic Transmission
- Camaro Z01 Third Member
- One-off Foose Design Wheels
- Pirelli Tires
- Custom Foose Design interior by 714 Motorsports