Auburn Hills, MI - The designers in the studios at DaimlerChrysler’s Technical Center in Auburn Hills, Mich., have gotten quite used to developing vehicles with the world-renown HEMI® engine.
Now, their lives are imitating art.
The company was approached by the Community House of Birmingham, an independent not-for-profit organization, for a unique fund-raising idea. DaimlerChrysler and other participants were asked to paint or design 40-pound fiberglass dog sculptures that will be placed on Birmingham street corners from July 15 through Oct. 13. The dogs will then be auctioned on Oct. 13 to benefit the Community House at its “OUR TOWN" Gala.
“We were given our dog with design instructions and requirements for painting it,” said DaimlerChrysler’s lead pound keeper on the project, Mark Allen, Senior Manager in the company’s Jeep® studio. “But we’re designers – we don’t do anything by the book and usually see things a bit differently. At that point, we decided to give our dog a bit of horsepower.”
The result was a canine version of the 1970’s television show “The Six Million Dollar Man,” as Allen and his team completely rebuilt HEMIDOG, inserting a mock HEMI engine – complete with chrome exhaust pipes – into the back of its fiberglass Fido and arching its design forward to truly show the illusion of speed and motion.
Allen is quick to note that no real dogs were harmed in the making of HEMIDOG, but it was a bit painful parting with his team’s version of man’s best friend.
“The people in the studio had a great time doing this project and it provided a bit of diversion in our traditionally hectic workdays,” said Eric Kurtz of the Jeep Design Studio and the sculpture of the HEMI-powered pooch. “Creativity is an outstanding gift, but using any talent for such a good cause is simply a bonus.”