The Buick Y Job = First Factory Custom
The 1938 Buick Y Job is often touted as the first factory ‘concept’ car or as a GM ‘experimental’ car, but I would call this the first custom car built by an OEM manufacturer. The Y was a created purely to showcase the mighty General Motors resources to do whatever they damn well wanted, at a time that Vice President of Styling Harley Earl called all the shots. He was proving to the upper brass that new cars with high style and sex appeal would sell far more units than something frumpy showcasing practicality or utility. As you look at the exterior features like hide-away headlamps or push-button door openers, it’s obvious that Earl’s mandate was to make it feel like the car was in motion just sitting there… To remove anything unnecessary or bulky so the Y Job would look like something from 10 years into the future. And after all, isn’t that what every customizer from the Barris Brothers to Valley Customs was trying to create with lead sleds after the war?