Examine the World of Automotive Styling With Book “Detroit Steel Artists”

Matthew Kilkenny, a fan of the classical car era, has traveled far and wide to explore the world of cars. During his travels, the car restorer and coveted judge uncovered some key truths which he captured in his book Detroit Steel Artists: How Edsel Ford, Ray Dietrich, Tom Hubbard, and Ralph Roberta Turned Motor City into a Styling Mecca Before Harley Earl.

The Contradictions

Car-styling has been around for a very long time and Harley Earl is a name that is very important in the field. He’s credited with setting up the first proper car styling department in 1930 with General Motors. However, Kilkenny discovered that even though Earl is an important figure, there were many unsung heroes of the period who helped turn cars into more than just a means of transport and made them into an item that soon became a personality extension for many people. According to him, his book is the first all-inclusive story of the history of car styling. With a foreword by Jay Leno, this book chronicles the styling industry and its many untold stories.

The Unsung Heroes

The pioneers that Kilkenny has captured in his book include Amos E. Northuo, the person to run the first automotive styling studio, Ralph Roberts, whose studio at Briggs surpassed that of Earl’s GM one, as well as Elsie De Wolfe, who was allegedly the first female designer in the industry and was responsible for designing Locomobile’s 1910 closed car interiors. The book also features many photos taken by professionals like Bill Pack and Michael Furman. The treasure trove for car fanatics also included archival materials from places like Benson Ford Research Centre and Harrah’s National Automobile Museum. Kilkenny, who himself has owned and restored a vintage 1934 Packard, also commented on how today’s designers actually had 135 years’ worth of industry knowledge but are often bound by many constraints like regulatory issues.

Facilitating Factors of Formula 1’s US Boom

The United States is currently witnessing a rapid increase in the popularity of Formula 1. While the British and French Grand Prix both exceeded the one million mark of average viewership, the United States also is setting records in almost every season. With an average of 946,000 viewers per race, the current season has experienced a significant 56% increase in viewership from the last season and a 41% upsurge from 2019. There are several driving factors behind this surprise boost of F1 in the US.

The Netflix Factor

According to John Suchenski, the director of programming and acquisitions of ESPN, the Netflix documentary series named Formula 1: Drive to Survive has certainly helped to create a larger fan base of Formula 1 in the US. The series has brought along more casual fans, who probably were not even dedicated Formula 1 fans. This also has made the US a priority, bringing more opportunities of investing in promotional weight. Using this opportunity, more grassroots level exposure is being benefited by the current ESPN and Formula 1 partnership.

Partnership With Sky

According to Suchenski, in the world of sports broadcasting, the channel Sky does the best job. So, working continuously with their partners in Sky and taking some of Sky’s shoulder programming as well, has helped ESPN to expand its target audience base and to strengthen the dedicated viewership. ESPN has taken Sky’s lead-up on Sunday, which has helped the audience to get under the tent earlier and creating a build-up for the upcoming race. ESPN is also broadcasting Sky’s post-race show digitally, which is helping the fans to continue their F1 experience, even after ESPN or ESPN 2 goes off-air. ESPN has been broadcasting the world championship since 2018, which is also a facilitating factor. The continuity of these F1 contents has bred a familiarity for the viewers, making the sports more easily accessible and ensuring dedicated viewership for a longer span.