ABOUT JOHN HERLITZ
(1942 – 2008)
John Herlitz was an American Automotive Designer most commonly known for his styling of cars at Chrysler Corporation, particularly the 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, 1971 Plymouth Roadrunner, and Dodge Copperhead concept car.
John Eric Herlitz was born to Swedish immigrants Steven K Herlitz and Karen "Kay" Wikner in Pine Plains, New York. At 13, he started sending sketches of cars to Chrysler; company officials told him what education they would seek for stylists, and he proceeded to get a bachelor's degree in industrial design from the Pratt Institute. In 1963, Mr. Herlitz interned in the styling studio at General Motors in Detroit, his first job in the auto industry. Immediately on graduation in 1964, Herlitz started working for Plymouth, creating the Barracuda SX show car which greatly influenced the 1967 Plymouth Barracuda. Herlitz was then called to the National Guard before returning to Plymouth, where he led the styling of the completely new 1970 Barracuda and 'Cuda.
Mr. Herlitz married Joan Elizabeth Neinas in Grosse Pointe, MI on September 20, 1969, and had two sons and two grandchildren. After briefly living in Detroit, they lived the rest of their years in Farmington Hills and Bloomfield Hills, MI, as well as a retirement home in Naples, FL.
Following the 1970 Barracuda, Herlitz led the styling for the 1971 Plymouth GTX and Plymouth Road Runner. He assumed progressive responsibility in the design studios, working on the styling of progressive generations of vehicles including the K-cars, minivans, and cab forward cars as well as various concept cars. In 1994, Herlitz was named vice president for product design, working directly under former engineer Tom Gale; he was later promoted to senior vice-president for product design.
In June 2000, John Herlitz announced his intent to retire from Chrysler. He officially retired from Chrysler in January 2001. In his later years at Chrysler, he helped to establish the Walter P. Chrysler Museum, where his retirement party was held in November 2000. Afterwards, he helped to design a visual arts building in Michigan, served on the Interlochen Center for the Arts' corporate advisory council, and served as a judge in multiple car shows. He also served on the Board of Directors at both the Cleveland Institute of Art and Winnebago Industries.
In January of 2008, Joan Herlitz, his wife of over 38 years, passed away after battling Lupus, an autoimmune disease. John died in March 2008 from complications after a fall in his winter home in Florida. A memorial gathering for family and friends was held shortly after his passing at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum.
John and Joan's memories and support of the arts live on through endowed scholarships at Interlochen Center for the Arts, Pratt Institute, and the Cleveland Institute of Art. They also founded the Joan and John Herlitz Endowed Research Fund to support Lupus Research at the University of Michigan. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to the fund.
*this is a modified version of the Wikipedia page dedicated to Mr. Herlitz
This page is maintained by the family of John Herlitz.