An Influential Automotive Designer Finishes His Life’s Journey

April 6, 1983

Automotive designer Wellington Everett Miller died in Los Angeles at the age of 79. He developed a strong interest in the design of automobiles while attending an annual car show in Los Angeles in 1920, and subsequently took courses in mathematics and mechanical drawing to prepare for a career in that field. 

In 1921, Miller began work as a draftsman’s assistant for the coachbuilder Walter M. Murphy Company. He eventually became the company’s chief designer. Miller worked for the Murphy Company until 1925. 

Miller’s automotive design career over the next few years could be characterized as a generally peripatetic existence, and it included employment with a variety of companies and a wide range of unique assignments. After moving back to Los Angeles in 1933, he began his freelance work in earnest. Miller established himself as a talented and much sought-after designer in that part of the United States. His clients including Advance Auto-Body Works and Crown Body & Coach. 

Miller found an especially notable niche for himself designing customized automobiles for Hollywood legends like Clark Gable, Mae West, and Tom Mix. One of Miller’s best-known and most original creations was the three-wheeled Arrowhead Spring Water Car, which resembled a large tear-drop. This nationally renowned aluminum vehicle was built and introduced by Advance Auto-Body Works in 1936. 

Miller’s other trendsetting efforts for that company included the incorporation of such then-innovative features as one-piece windshields, chromed disc wheels, and integrated headlights into his designs. As part of his service on behalf of Advance Auto-Body Works, Miller also designed a highly distinctive series of streamlined tank trucks for the oil company Gilmore.  

While most widely remembered today for his automobile and truck designs, Miller drew up similarly inventive blueprints for a number of other types of vehicles. Those transportation modes included aircraft, motorcycles, tractors, and buses. 

Photo Credit:

For more information on Wellington Everett Miller, please check out W.E. Miller, Wellington E. Miller, W. Everett Miller, Wellington Everett Miller, Gilmore Oil, Arrowhead Water –

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