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The Ford orientation studio I started in, where I began my design career in 1952. Photo was taken before I joined.
All the newcomers started here and the studio chiefs can look them over for production studio assignments. I went to Mercury Exterior from here. Looking back, I think what a great place to start an automotive career, and how sad to think of what FOMOCO was then, and what it is now. After I got my job here, the first thing I did was buy a 1948 Midnight blue Lincoln Continental with 13,000 miles on it (like the one, lower left) from a Lincoln product planner. I was making $450 a month and the car was $1800. No money down and 1% a month to the Ford credit union. The car had power windows, but it also had a manual choke, 16 years after Oldsmobile introduced automatic chokes! With all it’s chrome, I love it still.
Bob’s ’48 Continental was like this one.
At that time, I dated a senior in Dearborn high school who was a dead ringer for Elizabeth Taylor, no exaggeration. She decided she didn’t want to get serious, but when her mother saw the Continental and found out I was a Ford stylist, her mother had other ideas. When we broke up, I found out the girl had already bought her silverware or dinnerware, whatever soon-to-be-married girls did in those days! Her mother then tried match me up with her younger sister—who was not a Liz Taylor lookalike.
When winter came, to keep it from the salt, I loaned it to the Henry Ford Museum for 18 months, where they displayed it next to the Presidential limousine used by Roosevelt and Truman. No storage costs, I could visit it whenever I wanted. It was kept a room temperature and dusted regularly. What more could one ask for? When I joined Loewy’s Studebaker design office, I sold it and replaced it with a ’52 Studebaker convertible.
What should be of interest in the photos was that in 1951 Ford was designing Lincoln Continentals in versions that haven’t been seen. In the foreground, the barely seen navy blue car on the left apparently is a stock ’48, the three red cars adjacent are three possibilities, three different concepts. One is apparently close to the original, one is a potential body style in the regular Lincoln line and the radical one is similar to the X-100 concept car that was built, and overall a very sharp car. It’s too bad that it never came close to production.
1953 Studebaker Lineup—What Could have Been
Loewy would have been a hero if this had been the lineup in ’53. The 1953–54 Studebaker sedan and ’54 wagons were tall, narrow and uninspiring. There never was a convertible, but there should have been. So I put this together for the Avanti club meeting in Palm Springs two years ago. I figured that they would be interested in what undoubtedly would have been a far more successful lineup in 1953.
I saw a survey in 1953 showing that 20% of the public preferred the Studebaker coupe design over everything that General Motors, Ford, or Chrysler offered at a time when Studebaker had just 3% of the total market, if that. A full line of Starliner-based cars, coupe plus sedan, convertible, and sport wagon, would have certainly been a success and, in all likelihood, changed the fortunes of Studebaker and Raymond Loewy’s contract with them to everyone’s huge benefit.
The Avanti club knew a modelmaker in Brazil who I contacted. He made a model from blueprints I sent him, of the Starliner sedan as it would have looked.
Chrysler K-body FWD cars
I had a personal crusade to increase the comfort in our K-body FWD cars. As Chrysler’s special vehicle projects manager, I proposed and designed the “Executive Sedan” show car and both production versions. They, in turn, led to Chryslers roomier, much-touted “cab-forward” cars and the industry followed suit, for awhile anyway. I proved that you could have small, fuel-efficient cars that had more legroom than the biggest cars on the market.
This is the actual prototype I designed and then supervised it‘s creation for the auto shows. ASC produced the show car, and then the production car conversions.
There never was a design illustration except for a simple side elevation (not even to scale) drawing to show how it was to be fabricated. Including the B pillar forward, it has stock four door sedan components. The rear quarter, from the trailing edge of the rear door, is the back end of a club coupe (the front end was from a LeBaron, the coupe end was a Plymouth Reliant, as I recall). The rear door had to be new. It might well have been fabricated from the leading half of a four door rear door and the trailing half of a two door. door. I learned that from studying old Cadillac limousines.
Here’s the Executive Sedan interior that was actually inspired by my (Art Center, 1951) $125, 1940 Lincoln-Zephyr–foot hassocks and all. Those Zephyrs had 48″ of rear seat legroom!
The Executive Sedan went in to limited production in two versions. The Executive Sedan (like the show car) and a stretched “Limousine” version of with two folding jump seats and a glass divider: a real mini-limo.
Marcks, Hazelquist and Powers Design, Dearborn
Marcks, Hazelquist and Powers would hire Syd Mead whenever he had any downtime and we had something that he could do for us (which was a lot, if we could afford him!). We had worked together with him at Ford and remained good friends. It was 39 years ago when he did these illustrations for us when we had assignments from Toyota’s marketing department. Now, 39 years later, Toyota has hired him again, to do ad illustrations for the 2010 Camry, which is to be introduced very shortly.
A new Corona was first introduced in the Summer 1970 issue of Toyota Today with the attached drawings from my Hollywood design firm and ad agency, Marcks, Hazelquist, and Powers. Who knew at that time what a huge success Toyota would be in the future!?