Automobile designer and car collector Dave Holls, who helped design some of the most memorable cars in General Motors history and rose through the ranks to become the automaker's design director, died June 16. He was 69.
GM hired Holls in 1952, after he earned a bachelor's degree in industrial design from Michigan State University, and GM design vice president Harley Earl soon put him in the Cadillac studio. Holls was part of the team that designed the high-finned 1959 Cadillac, according to the automaker.
In 1960, Earl's successor, Bill Mitchell, transferred Holls to the Chevrolet studio, where he contributed to the design of the 1963 split-window Corvette.
Holls in 1961 became chief designer of Buick, where he directed the design of the 1966 Riviera. From 1966-70, he helped guide the creation of the 1968 Corvette, 1967 and 1970 Camaros and 1970 Monte Carlo. Holls was named design director for Adam Opel AG in 1970 and moved to Germany.
When Holls returned from Opel, he was given a variety of executive positions in GM's advanced design area, and in 1986, Holls became director of design. As such, he oversaw development of the 1991 Buick Park Avenue and 1992 Cadillac STS. He retired in late 1991.
Holls co-founded the Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance in Michigan in 1979 with Don Sommer, president of American Arrow Corp., in Clawson, Mich. Holls served as Meadow Brook's permanent chief judge.
Holls co-authored A Century of Automotive Style, which was published in 1996, and was a contributor to Maurice Hendry's Cadillac, Standard of the World, published in 1983.