18
T. - Let's start by getting a little background information on you, Larry. You started developing your artistic talents in grammar school, continued through high school and then attended and graduated the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles; is that correct? L. - No, I didn't graduate - I was kicked out. They told me I didn't fit in there; my ideas and desires weren't consistent with their expectations, so I was construed as a malcontent, which, in truth, I was. T. - Were you always interested in drawing and designing cars? L. - Yeah, but all the time I was attending Art Center they never let me draw a car, which is kind of stupid, since that's why I went there in the first place. But the teachers there thought differently and they had me in all kinds of stupid classes. The only class that made any sense was the perspective class, which did help me. But the drawing for illustration, the watercolors class, most of the classes weren't anything I was interested in. Then they found out that I had quite a bit of talent making things with my hands so they had me making forms and models of objects for other students to draw - spheres, triangles, cubes, things like that, which didn't make me very happy. And they never gave me the product design class, but I sat in on one that also covered airbrushing and I actually learned how to use an airbrush, even though that wasn't part of the training that I went to the school for. So when I got kicked out I didn't really feel too badly. About a month after that the airbrush/product design instructor invited me back to show my work to Ford when the company reps came to interview students, and I actually wound up getting hired. This was back in 1954; I started with Ford in January of 1955. T. - How long did you stay with Ford? L. - Exactly one year. I went to Packard in January of 1956. I stayed at Packard for about seven months total time, but there was only about two-and-a-half to three months when there was concerted work done. Things were very slow and the company was in financial trouble. To fill up my work week I was invited to go down to the marina to scrape the barnacles off the owner's boat, but I declined that offer and went off to Indianapolis and worked on a car that won the Indy 500. T. - And whose car was that? L. - Pat Flaherty drove the car. It was an H.A. Watson-built car with an Offenhauser powerplant, and I had done the styling on it. T. - And then you went on to GM after Indy? L. - Yes. In September of 1956 I came onboard at GM as a senior designer.