It was just by happenstance after I came across a previous blog post that today is the birthday for legendary automotive designer Larry Shinoda.
Shinoda was born 91 years ago on March 25, 1930, and his body of work includes a host of concepts including CERV I and II, the Mako Sharks, as well as his work in refining the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray. After leaving GM he would head to crosstown rival Ford where he would design the 1969 BOSS Mustang, and he is also credited with his early work on the Jeep ZJ which would become known as the Grand Cherokee.
Larry passed away on November 13, 1997, at the age of 67, and in 1998 he was posthumously inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame at the National Corvette Museum.
One of my favorite stories about Larry Shinoda comes from Petrolicious who profiled the designer back in 2016 and it tells the story of how Larry was put on the Corvette program:
One night when Shinoda was driving home from work, none other than GM’s Bill Mitchell pulled up next to Larry’s T-Bird at a stoplight. When the light turned green, Mitchell took off in his supercharged Pontiac, but Shinoda’s Thunderbird was modded with a Stroppe race-prepped Ford stock car engine and he easily outran GM’s Design Chief.
A few days later, Mitchell tracked down the White Thunderbird at the Chevy Design Studio and asked Shinoda to pull it into the garage. When Mitchell saw the car was equipped with a full roll cage, two four-barrel carburetors, headers and heavy duty shocks, he “just about had a heart attack.” The story goes that Mitchell recognized Shinoda as a die-hard racer and he was immediately switched to the Corvette program.
Larry was always drawing cars from a young age and some of his drawings have been displayed in various museums, including one drawing he did when he was reportedly in his early teens. During his time with GM, many of his memorable sketches would most certainly qualify as museum pieces, so we choose a few of our favorites which we present below.
Happy Birthday, Larry Shinoda!
This video on Larry Shinoda was created by the Watasse Media Arts Center at the Japanese American National Museum:
Detroit Art Exhibition to Feature Over 100 Vintage and Rare Corvette Drawings
Today is Legendary Corvette Designer Larry Shinoda’s Birthday
Rare 1991 Shinoda Mears Corvette Heading to Mecum Chicago this Weekend