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E.T. "Bob" Gregorie, Jr.
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Gregorie, E.T. "Bob", Jr.

Carroll Gantz
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E.T. "Bob" Gregorie, Jr.

U. S. automotive designer who was born in New York City and raised in Cedarhurst, Long Island. As a teenager, he modified Model T Fords and was fascinated with sports cars. In 1927, without any formal education, he started as a nautical draftsman at the Elco Boat Works in Bayonne, New Jersey, then moved to the more prestigious yacht designers Cox & Stevens in New York in 1928. In 1929, he decided to concentrate on his first love, automotive design. He began at Brewster & Company, maker of custom coach bodies for Rolls Royce. Later the same year, he joined General Motors with Harley Earl's group. But almost immediately the stock market crash cost him his job, and he returned to Cedarhurst. After a few years of unemployment with his family in their homestead in South Carolina, in 1931 he was offered a position at the Lincoln Motor Company as a body draftsman, and jumped at the chance! He gained in experience, earned the admiration of Edsel Ford with his design of the front end of the 1933 Ford, and in 1935, Edsel placed him in charge of the newly established styling group at Ford. He designed the 1936 Lincoln Zephyr, considered by the Museum of Modern Art to have been the first successful streamlined car in the U.S. He also designed the first Mercury introduced in 1939 and the classic Lincoln Continental introduced in 1940. With the death of Edsel Ford in 1943, Gregorie briefly left the company and opened his own consultant business in Detroit. He returned in 1944 to head the post-war styling studio with a staff of 75 at the request of Henry Ford II. Postwar Ford management changed, by trying to blend engineering and design. New management chose the design of the first new post-war design, what was to become the 1949 Ford, by design consultant George Walker, rather than Gregorie's own design. So in 1946, knowing his days were numbered, he closed his business and returned to his other love, designing boats. He retired to sail for 15 years on the 42-foot trawler he designed, The Drifter. In the mid-1970s he retired to St. Augustine, Florida, and reached the distinguished age of 96.

100 Years of Design consists of excerpts from a book by Carroll M. Gantz, FIDSA, entitled, Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-produced Designs of the 20th Century, published August 2005 by Schiffer Publications, Ltd.
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