Story of the Week

Posted: 03.11.2013
1942 De Soto Illustrations by Mr. Howard Scott
By: Robert Tate
Mr. Howard Scott was a very talented artist and gained respect among many automotive illustrators. From the 1930-1950s, Mr. Howard Scotts work was featured on many popular magazine covers and billboard advertisements throughout the world.

Mr. Scott was born in 1902 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. For many years even as a child, Mr. Scott always had a great passion and love for illustration design. In 1921 during his senior year in high school, Mr. Scott became the illustrator/artist for the school yearbook, and that was where his journey began.

In 1925, Mr. Scott graduated from the Pratt Institute program in general art and illustration, where he demonstrated great ideals and great leadership skills as a student. In 1935, Mr. Scott received his first award for his poster from Ford Motor Company which simply stated," Its no use, Mac, Its a Ford V8". The poster received many positive comments and recognition for its great work of illustration design art.

During the 1940's, Mr. Scott won the top two awards at the 16th Annual Exhibition of Outdoor Advertising, presented by the Art Directors Club of Chicago. The gold medal award was for a Heinz poster illustration that received much positive attention from the buying public. Another award which was the silver award was for a Nash Motors automobile poster that received great recognition. The famous and talented artists Mr. Norman Rockwell along with Mr. Raymond Loewy (Studebaker Designer) were among the great admirers of Mr. Scott's work.

Mr. Scott also served in the U. S. Navy during World War II, illustrating posters for the U.S War information Service. In 1942, which was a year for war time efforts among many Americans, the U.S. civilian auto production was coming to its last days of manufacturing for American consumers. Mr. Scott was given the De Soto advertising account to create and design illustrations that were richly illustrated for the American automotive market. The 1942 De Soto automobiles featured hidden headlamps which made them different by design from other automobiles. The 1942 De Soto hidden headlamps were featured and illustrated within Mr. Scott's advertising for De Soto and were called "Airfoil Lights". This was De Soto's acclaimed style of distinction. When not in use, the headlights were concealed by fender flush shutters, thus attaining perfect streamlining and protection for the sealed beam headlight units. Handy controls beneath the instrument panel automatically turned the lights on and off as the shutters were operated. A wide grille with curved bars was a distinctive De Soto feature as well. Mr. Scott's 1942 De Soto advertising illustrations created many positive family type settings, which many Americans enjoyed during the war time efforts. The 1942 De Soto advertising was a memorable series that will always have a special place in automotive history of design and illustration.

On August 17, 1983, the automotive world lost a great talented illustrator that created some of the best billboard advertising in the world which included advertisements for Campbell's soup, Mobil gas, Ivory soap, and Schlitz beer, just to name a few companies. Having successfully completed many years of great works of art, Mr. Scotts legacy will continue to be remembered as one of the foremost illustrated artists working on outdoor advertising illustrations. For many years, he was the recipient of numerous outdoor advertising industry design awards. For more information on artist- Mr. Howard Scott, please contact Duke University Libraries- Inventory of Howard Scott papers 1921-1984 and undated Bulk 1930's -1950's.

A special thanks to Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher, for donating the story to the MotorCities Story of the Week program. Photographs courtesy of Robert Tates Personal Collection.

Please do not republish the story and/or photographs without permission of MotorCities National Heritage Area. For further information contact Robert Tate at If you have a story that you would like to donate to be featured as a MotorCities Story of the Week, email Lisa Ambriez at

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