Ford Designers Al Mueller and John Orfe

By Jim and Cheryl Farrell

In the gallery there are six photos from John Orfe. One is of the Mark II but with quad headlights. I have always understood the quad headlight Mark II proposal was designed by Howard Payne, but H.Payne and Orfe did the Marlin together at about the same time. I can’t say Orfe wasn’t involved with the Quad headlight Mark II, but who knows.

The rest of the photos are from Al Mueller. I doubt that he did any of the clay models but he could have. Mueller was manager at the time. The clays were done at McNamara’s request to “test” interchangeability of panels between Ford’s cars. The photo of the charts is also from the interchangeability studies. The rest of the sketches of cars are from the Stylerama program. Muelller was in charge of putting together sketches of the proposed cars that were going to be in the program. Some of the sketches he probably did, but most of the designs themselves were done by others as described in the Ford book. 

Photos: Ford Design 

Books by Jim and Cheryl Farrell

Ford Design Department—
Concepts & Showcars

1999, 10×13, 400 pages, Fully indexed
900 photos. Includes 150+ designers and sculptors, and highlights 100 concept cars.
ISBN 0-9672428-0-0


Lincoln Design Heritage:
Zephyr to LS (1936-2000)

2021, 10×13, 480 Pages, Fully Indexed
1,600 photos and illustrations
ISBN 978-0-9672428-1-1

The Ford book is $50 plus $7 S&H (US). The Lincoln book is $85 plus $10 S&H (US). Both books bought together are $110 plus $17 S&H (US). To order, email:

  1. Some really great illustrations, some of which look like they evolved from Alex Tremulis’ Advanced Styling Studio. Al Mueller’s outstanding collection includes Jim Powers’ Volante flying car, and his Nucleon, of course. Then there’s Buzz Grisinger’s DePaolo with Tremulis’ headrests from his DePalma, a couple Lincoln Diplomats and what looks like interiors for Chuck Mashigan’s La Galaxie, along with what looks like Mercury XM Turnpike Cruiser concepts. It also appears some Edsel concepts were thrown into the mix. As Tremulis said, they tried fronts on backs and vice versa, trying anything to save the already doomed project. Both John Orfe and Howard Payne remained good friends of Tremulis long after he parted ways with Ford. The depth of talent and creativity Ford had with their designers in those days was limitless!

  2. Andrew Danish

    Was there a year listed on any of there?

  3. Lee Shuster

    Excellent! Any chance you could enlarge image 7? It would be interesting to view the details of McNamara’s common panel study. While not shown, there also would have also been some additional common panel interchange among the LARGE 58 Edsel and 57/58 Mercury. Ford styling did a very credible job providing a unique marque identity in 57/58, in spite of McNamara’s penny-pinching style.

  4. Yes, Steve, I thought of Tremulis when I saw some of these.

    Otherwise, what a farrago!

  5. Norman Gaines Jr.

    Some of the “commercial” concepts here look quite a bit like the Ford turbine truck. Any of these designers involved with that wonderful experiment? Also, the “personal luxury” concept which I assume were Lincoln ’55-’60, are knockouts. What a great thing it would have been to have a real competition for the Riviera. Ford’s response was to attempt to use the Thunderbird for that purpose – kind of like upgrading a skiff when you needed a ski boat.

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