The Career of Phillip E. Payne

1968-Lincoln-Coupe'-sketch-in-black Payne’s career in automotive styling began in 1960 upon graduation from the Cleveland Institute of Art with job offers from GM and Ford. He chose Ford, in large part because of an internship there in 1959. He stayed at Ford (just weeks shy of his 21st anniversary) until he received an interesting job offer from the AMC Board of Directors placing him as executive in charge of their Soft Trim Interior Design Studio and their Trim and Color Studio. After five years he was moved to head up the passenger car interior and exterior studios. Beijing-Jeep-final-sketch,-Pen-&-Ink,-Spray-Marker,-&-Prismacolor-pencil-on-Canson-paper When Chrysler purchased AMC, Payne was put in charge of Dodge Truck Exterior Design. Following the introduction of the wildly popular ’94 Dodge Ram Pick-up, he moved on to Chrysler International, and later retired in 2000. Shortly thereafter he was called back to Chrysler and returned to China in late 2000 (and again in 2001) to direct design efforts on Beijing Jeep products. Programs of Payne’s involvement are: 1965 Mustang, 1966 and ’67 Lincoln; 1967 Mercury; interior design and space planning for several floors of the Ford Tower at Detroit’s Renaissance Center (now GM’s headquarters); a private suite at the Waldorf-Astoria, NYC, for Mr. Henry Ford II; Ford’s Nashville Glass Plant Lobby and Offices (Payne is a member of ASID); 1983 Ford Topaz; 1983 Renault Alliance and ’84 Encore interiors; 1984 Jeep XJ interior and  Jeep Wrangler; and the planned facelift for the 1991 Renault Premier. At Chrysler he worked on Dodge trucks, including the replacement for the D600 Medium Duty Truck in Mexico and Latin America, which outstripped previous production. Other international work included Beijing Jeep products and Chrysler/Mitsubishi vehicles. Text and Artwork Scans provided by Phillip Payne.
15 Comments
  1. Tony Miller

    Phil has a beautiful, clean drawing style. The black Lincoln coupe, particularly, is an elegant design; they should have built that one.

  2. Clark LIncoln

    I agree with what Tony Miller says above – Phil Payne worked much as I tried to – to illustrate design concepts clearly and realistically, and that they would be tastefully appropriate. Thanks for posting this review of a very talented designer that I was unaware of.

  3. Walter Gomez

    The Lincoln coupe was built from 1966 through 1969 in this body style. The roof line and quarter windows were changed slightly in 1968. It appears that this was done so that the quarter window could be also be used in both the 1967 through 1971 Thunderbird coupes and 1969 through 1971 Continental Mark III coupe.

  4. Phillip E. Payne

    Mr. Gomez makes an interesting assumption but that was not the case. My assignment was to come up with an attractive 2 door Lincoln. The body we had pretty well completed but the greenhouse was still open territory for design. The “touch down points” (common meeting places for parts shared or otherwise) was not the same for the Thunderbirds, as I recall, so no intent for shared parts there. Maybe Mr. Gomez is on to something we should have considered.

  5. Norbert Ostrowski

    Happy to see the talent is still going strong. Best wishes and good health. Norbert Ostrowski

  6. Matthew Haase

    Thanks, Phillip, for the best-looking pickup truck ever designed!

  7. Phillip E. Payne

    Dear Matthew,
    You are most kind, but no one ever designs something all by himself or herself. I had a great crew. We had fun designing the new “Goat” as we called them. The code name, for the ’94 Dodge Ram pick-up, was T300 which appears on a couple of my sketches.

  8. James O'Flaherty

    ……”You are most kind, but no one ever designs something all by himself or herself. I had a great crew.”
    Still, it’s always made easier for that crew when the original concept drawings can be clearly understood. These are drawings that could put a modeling crew well on their way well before a tape drawing was completed.

  9. Phillip E. Payne

    Dear Jim,

    I remember you from our days at AMC. You were a fine modeler and your departure a loss for the team. Thanks for your kind comments. I tried to make things as easy for the talented modeling team and they reciprocated by often saving my backside.

  10. Ken

    I know the guy who actually come up with the New body style for the Dodge Ram that was produced for 94. This Guy was sitting in a Bar in Columbus Ga, talking to a business man with a brief case sitting in the bar.
    He and this so called business man somehow got on the subject of trucks in particular “Dodge”.
    This guy sitting at the bar told this business man, “I will tell what my idea of a good looking truck is”
    So he preceded to tell this business man to take the look of a Mack Truck and combine it with a pick up truck. Smooth down the corners where the headlights go. Give it that Beefy Grill Look. This guy said now that would be a truck worth paying 20,000.00 for.
    The business man asked this guy if he could draw it on a napkin.
    I remeber the guy saying, well Im a little buzzed but yeah, I will give it a shot. So he drew a quick drawing and it actually looked pretty decent. The business man asked him if he could keep the drawing. The guy looked at him and laughed a little and said sure, I guess. He thought it was a little weird wondering what was he going to do with that. Never really put no more thought into it. He did tell his wife about it. His wife fussed at him and told him to keep his ideas to himself. Then Low and behold he seen his truck that he drew hit the streets in 1994. He hates himself now! Just sayin! Thank You would have been nice. This happened around end 91-92. Dont remeber exact time frame just rember the conversation they were having.
    He figures GOD will make things right one day.

  11. Scott Brown

    Phil,
    First time visitor.. Very impressed by the work that you do and continue to provide to associates and friends.

    Best regards,

  12. Ken,

    Thank you, Ken, for your “enlightening” but completely erroneous commentary about, “the guy who actually came up with the New Body style for the Dodge Ram that was produced in 1994.”

    I’m sure, by the time this person was making his false claims we, at Chrysler, were way down the road past any “ideas” he may have wanted to claim.

    “Every good idea has a thousand parents and every bad idea is an orphan.” It surely applies in this case.

    The designs were all ours and nothing came from anyone outside the studio walls – despite any claims otherwise.

    The U.S. Patent Office is extremely thorough in investigating each patent application to make sure it is worthy of a patent and the person(s) applying are the true creators. My name is on the patent, not whomever you may want to claim.

    Bumped into a guy in a car model store in Saugatuck, MI, some years ago, who told me he was the styling designer that did the ’65 Mustang. Upon asking him some leading questions, and was unable to reply, he inquired how I knew so much about that project. His face turned beet red when another designer, who was with me, said, “Because the guy you are lying to was one of the team who styled the ’65 Mustang!” The guy could not get out of the store fast enough.

    I’m sure the other designers, listed here in Dean’s Garage, have endured hearing claims for credit of things they have done by those who were never involved.

    Such is life, Ken, and no, you really don’t know “who actually came up with the body style for the ’94 Dodge Ram” if you still believe that guy.

    Thanks for giving me a good grin.

  13. Hi Scott,

    Thank you for the kind words.

  14. Ron Wilson

    When discussing the 94 Ram,proper mention to the other designers involved in that project should be brought to light if I may. Clyde Ney was the principal designer on that great front end and body side and Joe Papai on the back end. Bob Nixon was Chief of truck design.

  15. Ron,
    You are mostly correct, and lack of mentioning them was no slight intended. The articles about the designers, modelers, etc., in Dean’s Garage, are about that person’s history and examples thereof not about all the people he or she worked with.

    Clyde Ney was a great spark plug for the design. Joe Papai contributed as well. When filling out the patent application I made sure their names were included, as was Trevor Creed’s who supported fully the direction I took for the design. Bob Nixon was there but his attention was focused on the Jeep Grand Cherokee so his name could not be included on the patent – per our “front design offices.”

    If you go back to my note, herein, of February 8, 2015, you see where I make sure readers understand I didn’t do it alone. We had a great team, including you as one of the clay modelers on that program. We caught everyone else off-guard, didn’t we.

    You and I, and the other studio team members can all attest to the fact that no one outside our studio “actually came up with the New body style for the Dodge Ram pick-up.”

    Glad you brought some of the other names to attention.

    Phil

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