For Alex Tremulis, induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame completes a full circle of a long and storied career. First, the induction ceremony was held in the same building and same auditorium where the great Harley Earl directed the continuing efforts of his famous “Art and Colour” styling studio, one of the most advanced styling teams in automotive history, and the same general area where a young Alex Tremulis first took art classes at GM's training school in 1933 and then refined his techniques while designing for Earl’s Oldsmobile Division in 1937.
"When Auburn-Cord folded I went to the Oldsmobile Division of General Motors. One of the first things they wanted me to do was to buy a new Oldsmobile at special employee rates. I think they offered the car to us for $600. I still couldn’t afford a new car so I kept on driving the same old 1935 Ford Roadster, the first car I owned.
We had a big styling department picnic for the Oldsmobile Division. All of the stylists had just bought their new $600 1938 Oldsmobiles. All of them had 6 cylinders except the boss’s car which had eight cylinders. On the way to the picnic, the boss went by all the six’s, and then I made the mistake of going out after him, and passing him. I guess he was pretty embarrassed.
The next day I was called into my supervisor’s office where I was told what I had done had been in very poor taste. And that I should not have embarrassed the entire styling section with an old 1935 Ford. They even accused me of cheating because my car was practically a race car. I was told I had to give up the car. This I refused to do. In a matter of a month I was laid off."
The second image of Ralph DePalma pushing his race car to the finish of the 1912 Indianapolis 500 taught the young Tremulis to be tenacious and to never give up. DePalma had led the race for over 196 of the 200 laps and when his Mercedes finally gave out and he had to push his car over the finish line. In those days, if you didn't complete the entire 500 miles, you didn't get paid. As fate would have it, DePalma's feat was heroic, yet all for naught, as the rules stated the car had to finish under its own power, negating the laps logged while the car was broken down. It only served to further the point that no matter what the outcome, you have to give your best effort and never give up, a lesson he would revisit many times throughout his career, especially as an early pioneer of streamlining and aerodynamics.
In still yet another twist of fate, perhaps it's serendipity, that Preston Tucker and Alex Tremulis are reunited in the Automotive Hall of Fame, as they'll be linked side-by-side alphabetically for what will probably be a very, very long time.
A lifetime of working within the exciting environs of the auto industry has brought me into contact with so many fine and great people I feel greatly rewarded, rich though I am not.
There have been achievements aplenty to give me pleasure, but failures and set-backs in sufficient quantity to prevent me from being complacent.
I look back at my many auto models, prototypes, drawings and production cars with great fondness and pride and feel that each of them, in their particular way, was great. But my wildest feeling of excitement and raw pleasure comes from anticipating what that car, the car of tomorrow, will be..."
All the members of the Tremulis family, both in attendance and in absentia, give our sincere thanks to Bill Chapin and the nomination committee at the Automotive Hall of Fame, the entire crew of the College for Creative Studies for their magnificent and historic facilities, Jack Telnack for his wild recollections and insight into Alex Tremulis, and to all those who have shared and supported Alex's vision for a better tomorrow.