Hudson Motor Company hired Betty Thatcher Oros as the first female American automotive designer in 1939. Oros designed the 1939 Hudson Big Boy truck that was based on the Hudson Commodore sedan, but turned it into a beautifully streamlined pickup. Her contributions to the 1941 Hudson included exterior trim with side lighting, interior instrument panel, interiors, and interior trim fabrics.
Oros designed for Hudson Motor Co. from 1939 into 1941, when she and Joe Oros were married. As Joe Oros was working in the Cadillac Studio at GM, Betty resigned from Hudson to avoid a conflict of interest. Joe went onto design for Ford Motor Company.
Joe Oros interview coming soon – https://youtu.be/5ExbyhV9ktI
Recorded in 2003.
0:00 – Hudson Motors hires Betty in 1939
1:40 – Arthur Kibiger and Frank Spring
2:38 – Industrial Design at Cleveland Institute of Art
3:16 – Designing Hudson interiors
4:49 – Design office and work environment
6:29 – Hudson traditional design
7:19 – Other women in automobile design
8:24 – First female automotive designer
9:43 – Leaving Hudson Motor Company
10:09 – Marrying Joe Oros designer at GM and Ford
11:20 – Salary at Hudson
12:14 – Learning to drive
13:58 – Betty’s dad wanted her to be a secretary
15:15 – Cord automobile design influence
16:08 – Married to an auto designer
16:51 – Hudson design drawings