Model cars, Fisher Body Craftsman Guild to exhibit at Concours

The Dayton Concours d’Elegance Sept. 19 event at Carillon Park will include a display of scale model cars organized by Bellbrook resident Randy Derr that features original designs by teenagers generations ago that competed for college scholarships in the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild.

The Guild was a philanthropic initiative by the Fisher brothers of the General Motors Fisher Body Division during the Great Depression. Initially it offered scholarships for craftsmanship in finishing a model kit of the trademark Fisher Body coach, and then evolved into an original design competition of 1/12th scale model cars.

ExploreConcours d’Elegance roars into Dayton Sept. 19

The contest ran from 1930 to 1968. It was a great source of design ideas and talent, with many of the Guild winners going to work for GM, Ford, Chrysler and Studebaker, as well as foreign auto manufacturers.

Credit: James Razor

Credit: James Razor

Guild alumni have displayed their models at Detroit’s 2004 “Eye on Design” show, Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 2008, Scottsdale’s famous Barrett-Jackson auto auction in 2013, Pasadena Art Center College of Design in 2016 where many auto designers were trained, and four times at the Dayton Concours.

Dayton’s Charles F. Kettering was a great promoter of the Guild’s youth outreach and General Motors Institute (GMI), later renamed Kettering University in his honor, where a number of Guild winners were educated before entering the automotive industry.

Credit: James Razor

Credit: James Razor

A very special Guild contest artifact will be on display as part of the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild exhibit at this year’s Dayton Concours: It is an original, unrestored Fisher Body Napoleonic Coach model that was entered in the first FBCG contest in 1931.

This exquisite scratch-built model was built and entered by Russell Nielsen of Minnesota, and will be represented at the Dayton Concours by Russell’s nephew, Jeffrey Nielsen, who is also a Guild alumni. This rare and unique coach model, now 90 years old, is a beautiful example of the hand craftsmanship typical for the early days of the contest.

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Those early FBCG judges recognized the high level of build quality, as it was honored with a First Place Award for the state of Minnesota. Be sure to see this wonderful and significant piece of Guild history during your day at the Concours.

The public is invited to view the Guild winning models and experiences at the Dicke Transportation Building at Carillon Park on Sept. 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The cars of the Roaring ‘20s will be featured at the 14th Dayton Concours d’Elegance at Carillon Park on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021.

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