One of Earl's biggest fans in GM management was Harlow "Red" Curtice (background here), who is given credit for saving Buick during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Because of their friendship, Earl did Curtice a number of favors styling-wise. One example was the 1938 Buick Y-Job concept car, perhaps the first of its kind by a major manufacturer. Another Earl favor for Curtice had to do with the fender line of certain 1942 Buicks, the subject of this post.
In my book on automobile styling (see sidebar) and elsewhere, I've contended that automobile styling went through an evolutionary period from around 1930 to around 1950. There was a strong trend away from separate elements such as headlights, fenders, spare tires and such to streamlined-appearing bodies that integrated most of the previously distinct elements. Part of this meant the elimination of four separate fenders either by making them low-relief parts of the main car body or merging them into a single slab on each side -- "pontoon fenders" as some call this.
Fender evolution reached the "suitcase" stage by about 1940, where fenders were squared off or puffed-up shapes residing fore and aft of passenger doors. The next step was extending the trailing edge of the front fenders over part of the front doors. GM did this on 1939 Opels in Germany, 1941 Cadillac 60 Specials, and on almost all of its 1942 line.
The final step was for the extension of front fenders until they touched the rear fenders. This was commonplace by 1947-49 on American cars. But for practical purposes it first happened on a few 1942 Buick models -- a favor to Curtice by Earl to enhance the brand's image.