Car designer Larry Shinoda

When you walk into the museum now, one of the first things you notice as you enter the front doors to the Pavilion is a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray. I pass by the car every day on the way to my office, and I always see visitors stopping to admire it.

Photo by Gary Ono

But why a Corvette in the Japanese American National Museum?

It’s because it was designed by Japanese American automotive designer Larry Shinoda, and it’s part of the Drawing the Line: Japanese American Art, Design & Activism exhibition on view through February 19, 2012.

Untitled drawing (Stingray), Larry Shinoda. Pencil on paper. Gift of the Shinoda Family, Japanese American National Museum (2003.124.3).

Upstairs in the exhibition galleries, we also have a number of his original drawings and sketches of various other cars he designed like the Mako Shark concept car, and the Boss Mustang. There’s also a bunch of historic photos, trophies, and other memorabilia that were donated to the museum by his family after his passing in 1997.

I have to admit that I don’t know much about cars, but the aerodynamic sporty style is very cool to see, and his personal story is very interesting too. His father died when he was a young child. From early on, he was always interested in cars and in drawing. He and his family were incarcerated at Manzanar during WWII. After the war, he grew up in Southern California where he built and raced cars, leading to his work designing and building cars.

The Watase Media Arts Center created a video about Shinoda for the exhibition with interviews with his sister and a long-time good friend:

The video is included on the exhibition DVD available for purchase through the Museum Store: Drawing the Line: Japanese American Art, Design & Activism in Post-War Los Angeles (DVD) >>

By the way…Shinoda didn’t just design cars. He also worked on pretty much anything that moves such as Roger Penske’s race trailers, motor homes, tractors, big rig trucks, and even the Goodyear Blimp logo. And for those who were wondering…no, he’s not related to the other famous Shinoda that we have featured at the museum!

One more bit of trivia…the wedding dress currently on display in our Common Ground exhibition was made by Larry Shinoda’s mother!

Vicky Murakami-Tsuda

Communications Production Manager at the Japanese American National Museum. I coordinate printed publications, manage web-based projects, and lots of other stuff. I also write an occasional column for our project.

One thought to “Car designer Larry Shinoda”

  1. I have the 1995 larry shidoda Convertable Mustang GT, built in 1994 as a concept to expand the shidoda line up. But later abandon as looked to much like all the rest? It was sitting for 12 years because the last owners mechanic; 😁😂🤣 thought he blew up the motor🤣 the retard took off the rotor and then put it back in the wrong slot, then readjusted the idel😅 when all it needed was the I.A.C. to be replaced😂🤣😂!! Laughing yet! Thks is not even the Funny part! O.K. this clown sells it to a friend because he was clue less! His feiend who buys the car thinks he can figure it ot he can not, surprise surprise! So he sells it to one his friends🤣 this guy thinks he is Mr. Mechanic😂 NOT! Ne has not even got a clue🤣🤣 so this steaming pile of💩 sells it to me for (now get this) $ 1,200 im not a ford guy, but my friend was a retired FORD ENGINEERING from Dearborn Mi. He has me start the GT up listened to to for a out 10 seconds tells me to shut it off. Replaces the I.A.C, readjust the idel pits the rotor back where it belongs he restarts the car, notices the dash lights are acting funny pulls the cluster notices the plug on the cluster is half way out, plugs it back in the odometer reads 076,892 miles plugs in his manufacturers obd unit and see’s that is the actual mileage on the (O.B.D.1) car, starts the car it sounds like the car just rolled off the showroom floor😂🤣🤣😄😂🤣🤣 L.m.a.o!! After ward’s the guy finds out😲 and is pissed! Me im laughing my a$$ off🤣😄😅😂😆🤣! The storale of the mory is this; If your going to put your hands in a engine bay, make sure you know just, what in the fluck your doing!

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