What Jordan Has Been Doing All Day (and Night)

Thursday, June 5th, 2008 Horrorthon Posts

I’ve just returned from the small town of Auburn, Indiana, where my grandfather, Gordon Buehrig (who died in 1990) worked as a car designer in the 1930s. He worked on the Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg lines, developing the body surfaces for the entire Duesenberg J line (driven by Gary Cooper and others of that ilk), the Auburn Speedster, and, especially, the renowned Cord 810/812 (the first production automobile with front wheel drive and the first car anywhere with retractable headlights) which has been credited as the genesis of “modern” automobile design and recognized by art critics and by museum exhibitions as one of the greatest and most important cars ever built. All these cars were built and sold in Auburn, and I go there every Labor Day weekend with my family to attend the annual Classic Car Festival, in which hundreds of owners of restored Auburns, Cords and Duesenbergs from all over the world participate in a parade of classic cars and a competition in which their painstaking restorations are recognized and honored.

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg factory and showroom building (which is part of the national register of historical landmarks) has been turned into a classic car museum, and the museum (which stands on a street that has been renamed after my grandfather) received a grant last year from the Alcoa Corporation to create a special gallery honoring Gordon Buehrig and his contribution to the history of automobile design. This past weekend, the new gallery was formally opened: it features several of his most famous cars as well as his original drafting tools and other mementos from his work there. I created an exhibition for this new gallery, featuring a digital animation of the design of the Cord 810. I met with the museum directors last Labor Day to officially propose the project, and I’ve been laboring frantically over the past few months building a detailed digital model of the car, which is one of two reasons I’ve been absent from Horrorthon for so long. (The other is a book deadline, which is another headache.)

Here’s an article in the Auburn local newspaper about last weekend’s gallery opening. Here’s my animated presentation for the gallery (which is very much a work in progress and will expand a great deal over the months to come, now that the hard part—the car model—is complete). Here are some higher-resolution renderings of my Cord model and here are some photos from last year’s Labor Day ACD festival.

Anyway, hi everyone.