EyesOn Design car show celebrates ‘Design Masters: A Lifetime of Design Achievement’

This 1935 SS1 Airline Saloon is owned by Jim Hendrix. (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Grosse Pointe Shores — Here we are at the 37th annual EyesOn Design vehicle design car show at The Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan.  Another hot day as in previous years, but us car lovers can handle it.  The 2024 theme was “Design Masters:  A Lifetime of Design Achievement.”

I spoke with Jim Hendrix (no not the guitarist, songwriter and singer) of St. Louis, Missouri who owns the silver 1935 SS1 Airline Saloon.  “The British automaker had five names:  Swallow Sidecar Company, Swallow Sidecar Coachbuilding Company, SS Cars Limited, SS Jaguar and finally just Jaguar.  I’ve owned the SS1 for 30 years now and worked on it for 25 years.”

“The vehicle was made in Coventry,  England and has a 2663cc inline six side-valve engine with two RAG carburetors. It took eight years to find the RAG carburetors and get them to run,” says Hendrix.

“William Lyons, the designer, wanted the interior to be like his office chair–blue bucket seats.  The wood-look on the inside doors and dashboard is stenciled to look like real wood.  There is a picnic table in the back seat.  The sunroof opens two thirds of the way back. The windshield tilts forward and the manual calls it “air conditioning,” added Hendrix.

“Another interesting feature was the rear of the SS1 which contains a tailgate drawer of tools separated by rubber to form fit the tools in place.  The vehicle has an electric start and uses regular unleaded gas which gets 15 miles per gallon.  As of now, it has 45,602 miles on it, and the cost was 365 pounds which is $2,500 back in the day.  There is an owl light (because it looks like an owl) in the rear exterior of the car–one for the back up light, brake light, and running light.”

My husband, Jerry, talked to Raphael Gabay regarding his green 1966 Lamborghini 400GT.  “I was born in Israel, but lived in Philadelphia all my life.  I own six Lamborghinis which is considered the first supercar in the world,” says Gabay.

“The engine is in the middle of the car which is connected to the axle.  The Lamborghini 400GT has 400 horsepower with 12 cylinders and is capable of going 170 mph.  It is considered the fastest car of its time in 1966.  Lamborghini is named after a bull.  Miura is a wild one.  The front headlights have eyelashes on it and the front looks like a bull,” added Gabay.

“This Lamborghini 400GT uses premium gas, and is a V-12.  I’ve owned it for over 12 years and restored it.  It was at Pebble Beach last year and won first in its class for Lamborghini.  The lime green is the original color and the body is made of aluminum.”

Professor Gordon Murray CBE was the recipient of the 2024 EyesOn Design Lifetime Design Achievement Award.  His 1992 McLaren F1 landed on this year’s poster which was painted by Nicolas Rousselet, a native of France who now lives in metro Detroit.  The McLaren F1 represents speed, character and emotion and regarded as the fastest production road car ever made.  In 1992, there were only 106 F1s that were hand built during its six-year production run.  In 1998, one of them won the Guinness World Record as the fastest production car with a speed of 240.1 mph.  Just as a note of interest, several F1 owners are:  Ralph Lauren, Jay Leno and the Sultan of Brunei.

Bill Warner, Founder, The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance was the 2024 Honorary Chairman. “It is here we’ll celebrate the world of the designs as it was Alfred P. Sloan who recognized the importance of automobile design to the consumer nearly 100 years ago and Larry Fisher who hired Harley Earl who established the future of design back in 1927 with GM’s ‘Art and Colour.‘”

David J. Goldman is the newly appointed director of the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology (DIO) who replaced Philip C. Hessburg who retired recently.  The DIO’s mission is to assist and educate the visually impaired, helping them maintain the dignity and live satisfying lives in a sighted world with one day to hopefully cure blindness.  To help the blind and visually impaired, the DIO offers several support services such as:  support groups, education, research congresses, the friend of vision who offers transportation to meeting and events, etc.

I really enjoyed my time at the car show this year.  I was in awe to see the passion and commitment of some of the best designers in the world all in one beautiful setting on the grounds of The Ford House, as they have been in the past.  Hope to see you next year on Sunday, June 15, 2025!

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