“FIRE TRUCK” designer Chuck Miller talks about his works and his career [Special interview for Norton74]
From the beginning I set myself the goal of bringing original and interesting content, high-level MOCs and top notch photos to my fans. Everything written, built and photographed by myself.
That’s why today I submit you an exclusive interview with an american car designer father of the Fire Truck, the radical Show Rod I built few years ago via LEGO bricks.
His name is Chuck Miller and his nephew, Eric Miller, is a LEGO fan and he follows my FB page. When Eric spotted the brick-built Fire Truck he got in touch with me and he showed the model to his uncle who was really impressed. I was honoured for that and I had the chance to make few questions to Mr. Miller about his career and his famous vehicles.
Miller founded Styline Customs in Detroit in the late 1960s, specialized in building custom and concept cars designed to attract attention and win awards. One of his major successes came at the 1968 Detroit Autorama, where he won the prestigious Ridler Award with the “Fire Truck”.
You can read the full interview below: ladies and gentlemen starts your engine!
Hi Mr. Chuck Miller and thanks for accepting to have a chat with me. Just few questions about you and your creations.
N74: When your interest in cars and Show Rods started and why?
CM: It started when I was 10 or 11. I would draw in my school books while in class. When I was in high school I was a hall monitor and would sit and draw in a note book the whole time.
N74: Can you tell me a little bit about your background? I mean, are you a self-made car designer or did you study design or something like that?
CM: I have no formal designer education. I bought the body shop I worked at through high school when I was 20 years old. So my education started at an early age. Here the kind of schooling I have is called the “school of hard knocks”.
N74: In a few words, if possible, tell me which are your career milestones.
CM: One of my biggest mile stones were winning the Don Ridler memorial award for the Fire Truck in 1968. There are many more but this is the biggest.
N74: As you know I built the replica of your famous Fire Truck; can you tell me where the inspiration to build it come from and when?
CM: The idea was one that I have had for some time. In 1966 I started working with John Bogosian making some drawings. We would go back and forth with ideas and drawings until I made the final decision.
N74: Did it satisfy your expectations? Did it win any awards? Any curiosities about the Fire Truck?
CM: As with all projects there are always little things you wish you would have done differently. But I was very satisfied with the final outcome. The biggest award was the “Ridler” but there were many others. The curiosities are the fire extinguisher is the gas tank, the first aid kit is the battery cover, and my favorite is the top of the gear shifter is a handle from Miller Beer tap.
N74: Which are your favourite creations?
CM: This is like trying to pick your favorite child…
N74: Have you been influenced by other car designer? If yes, which ones?
CM: I paid close attention to many other builders such as George Barris, the Alexander brothers, Bill Hines, Gene Winfield, and Darryl Starbird.
N74: Are you working on something new or are you just enjoyng your time?
CM: Last year I made a clone of my 1969 Red Baron hot rod that Tom Daniel designed. This year I am working on remaking the set of Zingers I built in the 70’s. Now I work on something when and if I like.
N74: Recently I built the “Paddy Wagon” designed by Tom Daniel. The Fire Truck and the Paddy Wagon look having the same source of inspiration. Is this correct? Have you ever known Tom Daniel?
CM: I did not know Tom Daniel when I was working out the design. I have meet Tom one time in California in 1969 after I built the Red Baron.
Many thanks for your time Mr Chuck Miller, it has been an honour chatting with you and I’m sure LEGO fans will appreciate the interview.
Keep up the good work!
More info about Chuck MIller’s works: chuckmillerstyline.com