Go Speed Racer!

March 22, 1961
Raymond Loewy Designed His Dream Car

If you could design your dream car, what would it look like? Industrial designer Raymond Loewy made his dream come true on March 22, 1961, when he designed a sleek, futuristic sports car called the Avanti. Sherwood Egbert, president of the ailing Studebaker Corporation, asked Loewy to design a car bold enough to capture people’s imagination and boost the company’s sagging sales. Did the plan work?

Loewy and his team of designers showed a sample Avanti to the public in 1962. The car received rave reviews, but because of a series of production problems, the public had to wait to drive it. Studebaker Corporation closed in 1963, and it wasn’t until 1965, when the Avanti Motor Corporation was formed, that the Avanti went back into production. Does the Avanti capture your imagination? What other things do you think Loewy designed?

During his career, Raymond Loewy helped establish the profession of industrial design (the design of products made by large-scale industry for mass distribution). He became well known in the 1930s and 1940s for his distinctive design of a wide range of household products. In 1945, he formed Raymond Loewy Associates with five partners, the largest industrial design firm in the world, creating appliances, cars, furniture, interior designs for homes, offices and even a luxury cruise ship. In 1951, Loewy designed the state-of-the-art “Look” kitchen.

Raymond Loewy was also a “space age” designer. From 1967 to 1973, he worked for NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration), producing interior designs for the Apollo and Skylab spacecrafts. Talk about a challlenge. He had to create a livable space for astronauts in awfully cramped quarters.

What do think of Loewy’s design for this Teenage Room on the S.S. Brasil? Try to design your own futuristic car or bedroom and share your design with others. It could capture someone else’s imagination.