Virgil Exner was born in 1909 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He attended Notre Dame University where he studied art. Upon graduating he began working for General Motors at the Pontiac design studio. In 1938 he left and began working for Raymond Loewy industrial design firm. He stayed there for more than ten years where he produced many designs for marquees such as Studebaker.|
In 1949 he was awarded a position at Chrysler as head of advanced styling. When he arrived at Chrysler he was surprised to find that body engineers, rather than designers, supervised the new model development. Through much persistence, Exner was able to change that policy and gave control back to the designers.
In 1955 Exner's first production cars were ready, featuring the 'Forward Look' design of the Imperial and 300. His 1957 Imperial design was the first to use curved side glass in a production automobile.
In the early 1960s, Exner left Chrysler and created his own industrial design firm in Birmingham, Michigan. Before his death in 1973, he worked on a variety of projects, even non-automotive.
Exner designs', creativity and expertise greatly affected the designs of the automobile for many years. He was Chrysler Corporations first vice-president of styling. His contributions to the automotive community are numerous and his designs are truly visionary.