Panel Discussion: The Shape of Speed

July 18, 2018 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

The Shape of Style: How Streamlining Led the Way to the Modern Automobile

Ken Gross, Guest Curator, The Shape of Speed
Peter Mullin, Art and Automobile Collector, Founder of the Mullin Automotive Museum
Richard Adatto, Author and French automobile expert
David Rand, former General Motors Executive Director of Advanced Design

In the 1930s, the automobile evolved from a boxy, utilitarian conveyance to a sleek, aerodynamic work of rolling art. Join this distinguished panel of collectors and experts for an insightful discussion examining how the art and science of streamlining helped create some of the most beautiful cars and motorcycles ever designed.

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The Portland Art Museum is pleased to offer accommodations to ensure that our programs are accessible and inclusive. All spaces for this program are accessible by wheelchair. Assistive listening devices are also available for lectures. All restrooms have accessible stalls but no power doors. There are single-stall all-gender bathrooms available. Please ask staff for directions.

We will do our best to accommodate your needs when you arrive, however, we need 2-3 weeks advance notice for some specific requests. Please email requests to, or call 503-226-2811.

Stout Scarab, 1936. Photo: Peter Harholdt.
Stout Scarab, 1936. Photo: Peter Harholdt.
Aircraft designer William Bushnell Stout believed the use of lightweight, aircraft construction techniques could result in a streamlined, futuristic, faster and more economical car. He envisioned a startling shape—the result of a monocoque (unitized) chassis and body, with a rear-mounted powertrain. All four wheels were located at the corners of the vehicle, for a more spacious interior. The seats could be reconfigured; there was a folding table and a small divan. Stout’s Scarab anticipated the modern minivan.