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He seemed destined for automotive design. Harley Earl’s father was a coachmaker who formed Earl Automobiles in 1908 and began making customized parts and accessories for cars. Harley, born in 1893 in Los Angeles, Calif., attended university but returned home before completing his engineering studies to focus on styling. By the time he was 25, Earl was creating custom auto bodies for most of Hollywood’s elite. His trademark was the outrageous and adventurous.