The 1960 Buick
Design & Styling
(continued)
George Edward "Ted" Moon was hired by Harley Earl in 1954. He was given control of the Buick interior studios in 1957. His first project in this capacity was the 1959 Buick. When Moon retired in 1987, he was the head of all GM Interior Design.

I was fortunate to have known George Moon, albeit for a short time. We had many conversations about his design of the 1960 Buick interior, most of which I was wise enough to transcribe and retain. My favorite story is the one shown below, which is told in George's own words.
George Moon
1930-2004
"I remember the day [Harley] Earl came through the studios to review all the '60 [instrument] panels. He started in Chevy Interior with Bob Bartholemew, then to Pontiac with Fidele Bianco, Oldsmobile with Ed Donaldson, and to me, in Buick Interior.

"We had a fullsize, airbrushed rendering, mounted on the large 20 foot board, and the rendering was framed in a walnut frame we had made in the woodshop. We spread a red carpet in front of the board, placed 3 Bertoia wire chairs in front of the rendering, turned the lights down, and in comes Earl, preceded by our boss, Steve McDaniel. It was obvious Earl was not pleased what he had seen in the 3 previous rooms. He came in, stood in front of the rendering...I presented the ideas, our reasons, very briefly...a long silence...'God damn it, George...God damn it...that is great! That is great! You get that into production just as it is. God damn it, that is great!' And he left.

"A few minutes later, after he visited Bob Scheelk in Cadillac, Harley called me, and reiterated we had done the best job, and he was really pleased...so pleased he wanted me and my studio to have the rest of the day off. Unknown to us until later, he brought all the studios into our room and chewed them out for falling below the standard, and extolling our IP as what should be done. One of the great moments in my design life. We put it into production just as we first designed."
Other recollections of George Moon:
(More) on the 1960 Instrument Panel:
"We designed the '60 panel in the latter part of 1957, and it was into fiberglass before [Harley] Earl retired. He never stopped liking it. I had a great relationship with Earl, having done his dining room when I was in the Exhibit Group, and in my early design work for Buick."
On Mirro-Magic Speedometer:
"The adjustable mirror speedo was my idea, and became a favorite of Buick's new Chief Engineer, Oliver "O.K." Kelley. He wanted it carried over into the next [1961] IP design."
On the 1960 Buick Dash Clock:
"Jim Stockham did the freestanding clock on the '60 panel, basing his design on a Herman [Howard?] Miller clock designed by George Nelson."
On the Pleating of the Dash Pad:
"Steve McDaniel [Moon's boss] asked us to put the simulated pleat lines in the nose pad; Steve liked lines in everything, or on everything!" (George also told me McDaniel was responsible for the concentric circles in the window crank handles.)
_________________________________________________
Urban Legend Confirmed
The 1960 Buick wheel cover was a unique one-year design. It is somewhat unusual in that it has no brand name identification or logo. This, combined with the attractive styling, has made it a perennial favorite of customizers.

Personally, I've always felt this was one of the all-time prettiest wheel covers. In fact, it is a key reason why I believe the 1960 Buick has a more refined appearance than the 1959 (sorry, '59 fans).

Several times over the years, I had heard a tale that this wheel cover was originally designed for a Chevrolet truck. I was curious to learn more, but remained skeptical.
The Deluxe cover (LEFT) was optional on LeSabre, and standard on Invicta and Electra.

The Super Deluxe cover (RIGHT) was standard on Electra 225 and optional on all other models. It was made by adding chrome die cast pieces to the Deluxe cover.
In August of 2005, I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Paul William "Bill" Buschler, the man that designed the 1960 Buick wheel cover. He confirmed the stories I had previously heard, and explained how it all happened:

In the early fifties, he had worked at the GM Styling Studios. His primary responsibility was the design of accessories. He styled things like door handle scratch guards, fuel door guards, and wheel covers.

Buschler confirmed that the 1960 Buick design was initially intended as a proposal for a Chevrolet truck accessory wheel cover. He cannot recollect the exact year of truck, but agrees the Buick cover bears a strong family resemblence to the '55-'56 Chevrolet car and truck wheel covers.

Bill remembers his original clay model, along with a variety of other wheel cover proposals, was prepared for a showing with the GM executives. His clay model was inadvertently damaged and pulled from the show at the last minute. It was forgotten, for the moment, and Buschler went back to the daily grind of designing accessories. Not long afterward he left GM (for unrelated reasons).

Years later, he saw what he recognized as his design on the then-new 1960 Buicks. He surmises the damaged clay model was repaired and, somewhere along the line, became a mainstream design for the 1960 Buick program.
LEFT: Shown here with my 1960 LeSabre, former GM designer Bill Buschler (far right) recounts his days as a GM sylist to yours truly (straw hat) and my good friend Tony Hossain.
For reference, here are the 1955 (LEFT) and 1956 (RIGHT) Chevrolet wheel covers. There is a definate family resemblence to the 1960 Buick covers.
(photo courtesy of Terry V. Boyce)
COPYRIGHT 2005 by Gregory L. Cockerill. All text contained herein, including interviews/recollections of other parties, is my original work and is owned by me. This also applies to all images of my white 1960 LeSabre convertible. As such, the aforementioned material may not be used without express written permission. Other images presented herein are either from the public domain or used with permission of the owner(s).