While attending Art Center School in Los Angeles from 1949 to 1952, among the various courses required, was an illustration class using many techniques and subjects. Whenever students were given free choice of subject (flowers, mountains, etc.) I chose vehicles. When the assignment was for a outdoor watercolor scene, I selected the, then-concept study, GM Scenicruiser, since I thought it was so cool. (My sister has that painting today in her ‘Bob Gurr Gallery’ in Texas.)
After graduation in 1952, I joined Ford Styling. I went to a car show in Walled Lake, Michigan where a new Scenicruiser was on display – I was entranced by it! Later in 2001 I toured some of the western States with a mountain biking group though AdventureBus which used… an old Scenicruiser rigged up as a hippie camper. We’d ride during the day, then sleep in it while driving to the next trail site. The poor thing had been modified with a tiny Detroit Diesel 8V-74, replacing the original monster W-style diesel engine. It would be flat out in second gear at 20 mph climbing any grade. But, it was a classic Scenicruiser… and I finally got my ride in one.
As a life long car nut and credentialed car tester at the annual Los Angeles Auto Show for many years, I get to drive every alternate-fuel car available on the show’s Green Drive Day. Advanced diesel, hydrogen fuel cell, and virtually every electric car available the past 18 years. My favorite is any Tesla – the Roadster, Model S, and now a big SUV, the Model X.
Thru the kindness of the Jason Knapp family, who are loyal Bob Gurr fans, I recently had one of these wondrous concoctions in my driveway. Jason had shared their Model S in 2012 and now had the big travel wonder for me to try out. Nothing on the planet is anywhere like this “On to the Future” machine. The falcon wing door X followed the previous month’s visit from Dave Tavres’ gull wing-door ’82 “Back to The Future” DeLorean. So it’s bird-wing car 2016 for sure.
Rather than listen to me gush over the big X, please go to this Autoblog link for a very interesting evaluation – www.autoblog.com/2016/03/11/tesla-model-x-p90d-first-drive/
A caveat; as most readers know, my historic design philosophy has been to keep stuff simple, even if it was the very first creation of it’s kind. The future is never free or easy. Stuff that sounds terrific as an idea can suffer the growing pains of eventual perfection. This stunning device is a huge leap into “automotive tomorrow” which will need to endure the course of all pioneers. I know the drill…Walt Disney wanted the first American Monorail and gave me less than nine months to do it. I spent a decade getting it right. I suspect the Model X will experience a dose of the same.
On Saturday, February 6th, 2016, Bob visited a couple of old friends at the Los Angeles County Fire Museum in Bellflower, CA. Those old friend were actually two fire engines from Ward Kimball’s private collection, which are now on display at the Museum.
Bob happily retold the story of the time he drove Ward’s 1916 American LaFrance fire truck in a parade in Temple City, CA. The engine was originally in service to the Venice Fire Department, in Venice, California until the Los Angeles Fire Department took over the Venice Fire Department. It then became LA Fire Department Engine #63, until it was retired and Ward Kimball bought it for his Grizzly Flats Railroad. Ward also used his new fire engine to drive around Disneyland with his band, the Firehouse 5 Plus 2.
When Ward Kimball passed away, his family donated the ALF fire engine and his 1888 Silsby Steam Fire Engine to the Los Angeles County Fire Museum.
Gary and Bob first met as pals in the Rolls~Royce Owner’s Club of Southern California in 1979, when he was the Chairman of the Club. Gary was fearlessly building or restoring the wildest cars. Some were very authentic and correct, but the best ones were totally original. His latest mad-man project is the LaBestioni Rusty Two.
More details here – Leno drives a 1915 American LaFrance fire truck roadster
A message from Bob:
Last Saturday I opened GarageBand for the first time. Yes, this app is magic… especially for an old dude who has no grasp of music. I suffered a complete failure as a trombone student at age 9, then utter disgust on piano at 10. Finally after a year of organ training at age 48, I learned I have zero aptitude. But with my love of ambient electronica (iTunes Stillstream, Machinengeist, etc.), ‘GurrageBand’ has given me another chance at 84.
This week, over several hours, I got a real hang of composing, auditioning and setting loop favorites. I started in for real on project “SecretWorld”.
Opening with rising wind as we respond to beckoning gamelon bells, but forewarned by a deep synth bass loop, we gently break thru with twinkly glass bells to find our way with diminished winds to ease slowly into a 32 trance underlay…
The latest version is “MindDrift 3”, which runs almost 6 minutes. I hope you can play it on a big sound system.
The most thorough behind the scenes stories ever told about Themed Entertainment design at America’s favorite destination resorts – Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Tour, Spectacular Las Vegas and more.
Legendary Imagineer Bob Gurr, as Principal Designer for hundreds of Themed Entertainment projects, takes the reader behind the scenes:
- Learn how Disneyland developed the first Monorail in America.
- See how Universal Studios Tour Animated King Kong came to be.
- A Pirate Battle Show and Sinking Ship in Las Vegas – how did they do it.
- Get the story of the animated Abraham Lincoln at the NY World’s Fair.
- Meet the team behind the Los Angeles Olympics Flying Saucer.
- And so much more…
Foreword by Marty Sklar
Design by Michael Aronson, Hard-bound. 216 full color pages.
Red and Blue Collector’s Edition
1,000 numbered and signed by Bob Gurr
Thanks to all of you for making this book a success!