Ben Harrison --- April 1924 - November 5, 2014

Ben Harrison

Times Nominated: 1
Nominated Year(s): 2019
Last Year of Eligibility: 2024
Category: Pontiac Design



Benjamin Harrison, for those of you not familiar with his name, worked for PMD from 1965 through the 80's.

As head of the new Product Planning division of PMD Engineering, he reported directly to John Delorean, and was instrumental in the development of many new models, including the all-new 1969 Grand Prix.



BIOGRAPHY


It was his idea to boost sales and appeal of the flagging model by downsizing it. His concept was to develop a stretched "A" body platform for the Grand Prix and christen it the "G" Body. This would enable the model to blow the doors off competing models like the Riviera, Thunderbird and others, which were all still based on heavy full-sized chassis.

The GP's superior power-to-weight ratio and handling prowess, along with top-shelf luxury and cutting-edge technology, awoke the entire industry to the possibilities of this new direction, and ushered in a new era of Detroit Engineering excellence. Direct copies of the GP were produced by virtually all of the Detroit automakers right up through the 80's, and many FWD models since still espouse Harrison and Delorean’s vision of a sporty yet luxurious "Driver's Car".

It was Ben who was given the task by John DeLorean to come up with a name for the new 1969 GTO because it wasn’t getting the exposure Delorean wanted. Ben and his committee immediately went to work on making the GTO a supercar. Using what was already available, they used the RA III engine, Hurst shifter manual transmission, Rally wheels, up-level suspension, side stripping, a rear wing, and an eye-popping color… Carousel Red which was slated for the first 5000 cars.

Ben and his team decided to call the car E/T for Elapsed Time and made a sample car. This was presented to Delorean. After a few minutes of looking at the car, he said 'nice car'… let’s call it the Judge and that was that…

Ben was a brilliant engineer and the innovations that he championed at GM have changed the lives of everyone who drives a car today. "Car guys" like us, regardless of brand affiliation, owe him our eternal gratitude for the many ideas he had that forever changed the way cars are conceived, designed, and built.


ADDITIONAL MEDIA





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