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ENCYCLOPEDIA Tjaarda
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Tjaarda, Tom
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Description

Tom Tjaarda (Stevens Thompson Tjaarda van Starkenburg), born July 23, 1934, was an American automobile designer of Dutch origin. He was the son of the Dutch-American auto designer Joop Tjaarda van Starkenburg (1897–1962), who renamed himself John Tjaarda on coming to the U.S. in 1923. (The elder Tjaarda's creations included the Lincoln Zephyr.)

Early Life and Education

The parents of Tom divorced in 1939 and he lived with his mother in Detroit. Tom studied high school in Birmingham High School, Birmingham (Michigan, USA) (1953 renamed to Seaholm High School).

Tom lived with his mother in Detroit (Michigan, USA) 

College

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1950 Tom with his father 

09/1950–06/1953 Birmingham High School, Birmingham (Michigan, USA)
(1953 renamed to Seaholm High School)
09/1950 entered in 10th grade
winning records in athletic track and field events
195x 2nd prize in the General Motors Craftmen´s Guild competition for the construction of a model car
06/1953 graduated

09/1953–06/1958 Study of Architecture at the University of Michigan (USA)
09/1953 entered as a freshman
1958 Industrial design course from Prof. Aarre Lahti (Wyss 1981; Goodfellow 1999: Aaree Lahti)
06/1958 construction of a Sports Station Wagon model car for class thesis
Prof. Aarre Lahti recommended his pupil Tom Tjaarda to Luigi Segre (Ghia, Torino) whom he visited during his sabbatical in summer 1956
06/1958 degree in Architecture 

08/1958–10/1960 Carrozzeria Ghia, Torino (I)
(coachbuilder which was directed by Luigi Segre [1919–1963] from 1953 to 1963)

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11/1958 Ghia-Stand at the International Motor Show in Torino (I)

08–09/1960 sent by Ghia to Linke-Hofmann-Busch, Salzgitter (D): exterior and interior design of Alweg monorail train for exhibition “Italia 61”

12/1960–07/1961 Work with Gabetti & Isola, Torino (I)
(Architects and furniture designers Roberto Gabetti and Aimaro Isola)
exhibition design for exhibition “Italia 61”
06/05/1961 opening of exhibition “Italia 61 – Mostra della Moda, Stile e Costume” (= Exhibition for the History of Fashions, Style and Living Trends; Director Battista “Pinin” Farina [1893-1966]) on the occasion of the Centennial of Italy´s Independence 

09/1961–20/12/1963 Carrozzeria Pininfarina S.p.A., Grugliasco/TO (I)
(Chairman: Battista “Pinin” Farina, Director: Sergio Pininfarina; Design director: Franco Martinengo)

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01–04/1964 Work for Eliott Noyes, New Caanan (Connecticut, USA)

05/1964–11/1965 Carrozzeria Pininfarina S.p.A., Grugliasco/TO (I)
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12/1965–12/1966 Fergat, Torino (I)
(production of automotive stampings and wheels, owned by O.S.I., head: Giacomo Bianchi)

designing wheels and all Fergat exhibition stands

01–09/1967 O.S.I.(Officine Stampaggi Industriali), Torino (I)

+ additional projects as Freelancer

09–11/1967 Ital Styling, Torino (I) (name later changed to Italdesign)
(Founder: Giorgetto Giugiaro)

01/1968–10/1977 Ghia, Torino (I)
(Owner: Alejandro de Tomaso [10.7.1928–21.5.2003])

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Head of Design

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08/1970 Ford Motor Company, Dearborn (Michigan, USA) buys Ghia and Vignale from Rowan Industries Inc.

“It is to laugh. Ford Motor Company, the monolith of Dearborn, goes to Italy to buy some of that exotic styling in the form of two famous coachbuilding firms – Ghia and Vignale – and they end up with a designer born and raised in Detroit.” (Wyss 1973b)

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1972

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1973

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02/1977–06/1978 Consultant for Fiat, Torino (I)

07/1978–12/1981 Fiat, Torino (I)

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Director of Advanced Design Studio, which worked on studies for the following cars during that time:

  • 1985 Lancia Y10
  • several Projects for Fiat subsidiaries in Argentinia, Brazil, and Poland

Tom Tjaarda also oversaw propsals for the following cars:

01/1982–7/1984 Rayton Fissore S.p.A., Cherasco/TO (I)

(Owner: Giuliano Malvino)

08/1984 Dimensione Design S.r.l., Torino
Corso Matteotti 2, 10121 Torino (I)
(Tom Tjaarda´s first own studio; customer communication with the Name “Tjaarda Design”)

Home

08/1992 Bella Macchina award (People´s choice trophy) at Concorso Italiano, Carmel (CA, USA) for the Giacobbi Sinthesis

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1992

15/08/1997 Tom Tjaarda car display at Concorso Italiano, Carmel (CA, USA)

17/08/1997 special section dedicated to Tom Tjaarda at 47th Annual Pebble Beach Concours d´Elegance, Carmel (CA, USA)

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1999

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18/08/2000 De Tomaso Pantera meeting at Concorso Italiano, Carmel (CA, USA)

23/06/2002 Special guest and honoured designer of the Concours D´Elegance at Rainbow Lagoon Park, Long Beach (California, USA)

13/02/2003 Judge of the World Automotive Design Competition at The Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS) in Toronto (CAN)

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03/2003 at Geneva Motor Show

06/2003 Dimensione Design S.r.l. officially renamed to Tjaarda Design S.r.l.

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04–06/07/2003 Member of the Jury at 3rd European Concours d´Élégance in Schwetzingen (D)

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20–21/08/2003 Concours d´Élégance Paleis Het Loo in Apeldoorn (NL)

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14/03/2004 Meeting of the Registro Nazionale Fiat 124 Sport Spider in Campogalliano near Modena (I)

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07/2004 participation at the 45th De Tomaso Anniversary Meeting in Austria

23/07/2004 launch of www.tom-tjaarda.net as a present to Tom Tjaarda´s 70th birthday

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19/08/2005 De Tomaso Pantera meeting at Concorso Italiano, Carmel (CA, USA)

02–03/09/2006 Member of the jury at 5th European Concours d´Élégance in Schwetzingen (D)

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03/09/2006 honoured as “Homme d´Honneur” at 5th European Concours d´Élégance in Schwetzingen (D)

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8–11/09/2006 guest at the ItalianCarFest (ICF) in Grapevine (Texas, USA); honored model: De Tomaso Pantera
09/09/2006 presentation about car design at the 'ICF Saturday Evening at Gaylord' at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center

(2014) launch of Tom Tjaarda´s business website tomtjaardadesign.com


Tom Tjaarda passed away at age 82 on June 2, 2017. 

[Sources: Wyss 1973b, 1981; Goodfellow 1999; www.tjaardadesign.com; Tom Tjaarda, pers. comm. 14/01/2005]

 

Notable designs

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