Earle S. MacPherson
Earle Steele MacPherson was an automotive
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality,...

, most famous for developing the MacPherson strut
MacPherson strut
The MacPherson strut is a type of car suspension system which uses the axis of a telescopic damper as the upper steering pivot. It is widely used in modern vehicles and named after Earle S. MacPherson, who developed the design.-History:...

 in the 1940s.


Earle S. MacPherson was born in Highland Park
Highland Park, Illinois
Highland Park is a suburban municipality in Lake County, Illinois, United States, about north of downtown Chicago. As of 2009, the population is 33,492. Highland Park is one of several municipalities located on the North Shore of the Chicago Metropolitan Area.-Overview:Highland Park was founded...

, Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 in 1891, and attended the University of Illinois. He worked successively for the Chalmers Motor Company
Chalmers Automobile
Chalmers Motor Car Company was a United States based automobile company located in Detroit, Michigan. It was named after Hugh Chalmers of the National Cash Register Company. The brand is currently owned by Chrysler.-History:...

 and for the Liberty Motor Car Company
Liberty Motor Car
The Liberty Motor Car Company was a United States automobile maker in Detroit, Michigan from 1916 to 1924.Only one model named Liberty Six was offered, propelled by a monobloc 3394 cc 6-cylinder engine. Late in 1923, the company was acquired by Columbia Motors....

 in the early 1920s, and joined Hupmobile
The Hupmobile was an automobile built from 1909 through 1940 by the Hupp Motor Company, which was located at 345 Bellevue Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. Its first car, the Model 20, was introduced to the public at the Detroit Auto Show in February 1909...

 in 1923. In 1934, he joined General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

, becoming chief design engineer of Chevrolet
Chevrolet , also known as Chevy , is a brand of vehicle produced by General Motors Company . Founded by Louis Chevrolet and ousted GM founder William C. Durant on November 3, 1911, General Motors acquired Chevrolet in 1918...

 division in 1935.

MacPherson was the chief engineer of the Chevrolet Cadet project, a compact car intended to sell for less than $1,000. MacPherson developed a strut-type suspension for the Cadet, partly inspired by Fiat
FIAT, an acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino , is an Italian automobile manufacturer, engine manufacturer, financial, and industrial group based in Turin in the Italian region of Piedmont. Fiat was founded in 1899 by a group of investors including Giovanni Agnelli...

 designs patented by Guido Fornaca in the 1920, although the Cadet did not use a true MacPherson strut design.

After the Cadet was canceled in May 1947, MacPherson left GM, joining the Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

 later that year. One of his first projects was to adapt his strut suspension design for the 1949 Ford Vedette
Ford Vedette
The Ford Vedette is a large car manufactured by Ford France SA in their factory in Poissy from 1948-1954. Introduced at the 1948 Mondial de l'Automobile in Paris, it was designed entirely in Detroit , but featured the Poissy-made 2158 cc Aquillon sidevalve V8 engine of Ford's Flathead engine...

, for Ford's French subsidiary
Ford SAF
Ford SAF was the French subsidiary of the American automaker Ford Motor Company, which existed under various names between 1916 and 1954, when Ford sold the manufacturing business to Simca....

. This became the first car to use the true MacPherson strut suspension. Ford's Poissy plant got off to a slow start with the Vedette, however, and the Fords Zephyr and Consul which captured the headlines at the 1950 London Motor Show have also been claimed as the first cars to appear "in mass production" with MacPherson struts.

MacPherson became chief engineer of Ford Motor Company in 1952, a position he retained until his retirement in May 1958. He died in 1960 peacefully in his sleep.

External links

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