Stiff and bored already from the “comfort” of my airline seat on the Detroit to LA Sunday night shuttle some years back, I struggled to focus on my work as the miles slipped below us. The task light and my laptop keyboard weren’t enough to hold my thoughts however, when the gentlemen to my left pulled out a sketchpad, and started drawing. Sketch after sketch, with quick, spare strokes, he created a vision of sleek speed and purpose, with a generous hint of post WW-II GM luxury styling.
I was spellbound. After about 30 minutes my automotive “”jones” overcame airplane etiquette, and I initiated a conversation. He was gracious and talkative. “It was just a little design project for a friend” he said, and we talked for an hour or more over car projects including my own hack efforts. By then the pile of drawings, all variations on the same theme, were a pile on his portable drawing table. He offered his card, and suggested a resource for a project I was struggling with.
The gentleman doing the sketches was Larry Erickson, stylist at Cadillac at the time, with many credits to his name already, and many more to follow. The sketches became “Cadzilla”, now famous as a Boyd Coddington creation for Billy Gibbons, front man for ZZ Top. For those all-too-brief minutes, I was transported not just to another city, but to that special place that “car guys and gals” go, if only for the moment.