Richard Arbib

Richard Arbib : 1917 - 1995

Richard Arbib : 1917 – 1995

Would many of us be collecting Hamilton Electrics if it wasn’t for Richard Arbib? I doubt it.

The images on this page are shown with kind permission of Jeffrey P. Hess of St. Petersburg, Florida, Hamilton Researcher and Collector.  You can read the interview Jess Hess had with Richard Arbib here.

From Wikipedia: ”

Arbib graduated from the Pratt Institute in New York City in 1939 . He worked as a designer for the Henney Motor Co. of Freeport, Illinois, a manufacturer of professional car bodies such as ambulances, hearses and limosines. Henney was Packard’s sole professional body supplier. He started his automotive design career consulting with Harley Earl at GM Styling in the late 1930s. He came to the attention of Henney after serving in World War II. He was responsible for the design of the commercial line of Packard built by Henney from 1951 to 1954. One of the distinctive features of these models was wrap-around rear side windows. Arbib designed the Packard show car Pan American for the International Motor Sports Show held in New York City at the Grand Central Palace on March 29, 1952. It was based upon a 1951 Packard 250 convertible and built by Henney. The Pan American won the first-place trophy for most outstanding design at the show.

Richard Arbib's artwork for the Ventura

Richard Arbib’s artwork for the Ventura

In 1955, Arbib was hired by American Motors Corporation (AMC) to create a unique look for the Hudson line that was to share the senior 1955 Nash body. His main design theme was to use a “V” form throughout the car, which he dubbed V-Line styling. The design was to correspond with AMC starting to build its own V8 engines to replace the Packard V8 it was using in its Hudson and Nash models.

He also designed, and Andrew Mazzara built, the Astra-Gnome “Time and Space Car” concept car that included a “celestial time-zone clock permitting actual flight-type navigation.” The design was influenced by space travel forms. The vehicle was based on the Nash Metropolitan and was Arbib’s vision of what an automobile would look like in the year 2000. The Astra-Gnome attracted attention at the 1956 International Automobile Show in New York, and was also featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine’s September 3, 1956 issue.

GM Bonanza as designed by Richard Arbib

GM Bonanza as designed by Richard Arbib

He designed asymmetrical cases for the new Hamilton electric watches in the 1950s, including such notable models as the Ventura, Everest, and Pacer. He also designed watches for Tourneau, Benrus, Sheffield and Gucci. He designed boats for the Century Boat Company in the 1950s, notably one of their most successful and expensive models, the Coronado, as well as the Arabian model.


The following are a selection of Richard Arbib sketches from the Jeff Hess collection.