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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-14-2007, 05:43 PM
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Re: Ford Designer Series: GEORGE W. WALKER

Those designs are so cool!!


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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-14-2007, 07:33 PM
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Re: Ford Designer Series: George W. Walker

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Originally Posted by Dick Nesbitt View Post
It's great to see this background on George Walker.
Ford achieved incredible success during the Walker years with an amazing variety of exciting,brilliant,original and very "aspirational" car designs that were often purchased every two or three years because people just wanted them--even if they didn't really have to replace what they already had.
Imagine a customer buying the "newest of the new" 1949 Ford--he is thrilled and very proud!
In just a few years,the all-new and very "modern" 1952 Ford is introduced,including the glamorous Victoria Hardtop,now in it's second year--and suddenly,the '49 is very "dated".
-- The '49 customer has got to have a new '52!!
A few years later--and the 1955 Ford is introduced................
It's got a "futuristic" wraparound windshield and a new,plush,high-level Fairlane series................
--The '52 is still nearly like new--but he has got to have a new '55..........
It just couldn't get any better than this --and then,the 1957 Ford is introduced........
It seems like it's too good to be true--with futuristic styling from the "Mystere" dream car!!
Two different sizes--Custom and Fairlane!!--The new Fairlane and Fairlane 500 are fantastic,and would make any Oldsmobile,Buick or Chrysler owner envious!!
Yes--the '55 is still like new--but he just can't live without a '57 Fairlane 500,even if it will take some overtime to do it.............

Ford had some serious quality problems during these years--but no one can deny the "gotta have it" appeal of the styling--almost year after year!
--There are several great cars available now--but how many are there we just couldn't live without???
Thanks,George --from '49 to'61,we will probably never see anything like it again..........
Dick Nesbitt
Wao! a new body every 2 or 3 years?????? Amazing!. I cant imagine an all new Accord, or Camry or Fusion every 2 years!

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-14-2007, 09:16 PM
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Re: Ford Designer Series: George W. Walker

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Wao! a new body every 2 or 3 years?????? Amazing!. I cant imagine an all new Accord, or Camry or Fusion every 2 years!

actually EVERY YEAR (starting with 1958)
www.musclecarclub.com: Fairlane (pictoral) History

Please forgive this tangent - I'm curious about Mr. Walker's involvement with, what for my money is, the surprise-winner of this era, the 1958 Fairlane!

compare ^this^ sleekness with the '57 & '59 at the MuscleCarClub page!

Perhaps Ford was just a bit busy with the new Edsels, but the Fairlane got a healthy dose of the new 4-seat Thunderbird in its front quarters - to me even more impressive since we're talking about a full-size family car with the Fairlane.

Wiki's Tbird page credits Joe Oros with the "Square Bird's" design but makes no specific mention regarding the '58 Fairlane - any confirmation? ...Mr. Nesbitt? ...Sobe?


also here're crossreferences for the above-mentioned Mystere concept-car SeriousWheels (1 large pic) & CarStyling.ru (2 small pix)
.
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-15-2007, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Ford Designer Series: George W. Walker

I guess that probably Walker's involvement with the 58 Ford was more supervisory than hands on. At that moment he was King of Design at Ford and like you said very busy with the Edsel.

Incidentally, even though the whole market suffered a meltdown in 1958 and everyone did really bad that year I think that the 58 Ford and Fairlane has been gaining much deserved recognition lately.







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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-15-2007, 02:19 AM
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Re: Ford Designer Series: George W. Walker

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...Incidentally, even though the whole market suffered a meltdown in 1958 and everyone did really bad that year I think that the 58 Ford and Fairlane has been gaining much deserved recognition lately.
Yup. When I was googling earlier, saw mention that the Tbird doubled its sales in '58 despite the recession - one of the few cars that achieved any increase.

ps, thanks for that great pic of the 2 cars side-by-side (gonna check out that site too!)
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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-15-2007, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Ford Designer Series: George W. Walker

I can only imagine the clashes between the ultra utilitarian Robert McNamara and Walker. I'll try to do some research on that.

It all ended for both in 1961 when one went home and the other to the Pentagon.





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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-15-2007, 09:38 PM
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Re: Ford Designer Series: George W. Walker

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I can only imagine the clashes between the ultra utilitarian Robert McNamara and Walker. I'll try to do some research on that.

It all ended for both in 1961 when one went home and the other to the Pentagon.

YesPlease+TY!

Guess there's hidden drama in every organization - just a lot easier for me to get excited about cars than ...umm... toasters.
&
(on a barely related tangent)
watched "Thirteen Days" on tv recently - about Cuban missle crisis(McNamara reference) - and there was an absolutely cherry '63 Mercury with the breezeway rear window in the film. At first I thought they'd used the wrong model-year cuz it looked so good and practically contemporary.
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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-16-2007, 10:58 AM
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Re: Ford Designer Series: George W. Walker

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2b2 View Post
YesPlease+TY!

Guess there's hidden drama in every organization - just a lot easier for me to get excited about cars than ...umm... toasters.
&
(on a barely related tangent)
watched "Thirteen Days" on tv recently - about Cuban missle crisis(McNamara reference) - and there was an absolutely cherry '63 Mercury with the breezeway rear window in the film. At first I thought they'd used the wrong model-year cuz it looked so good and practically contemporary.

On the hidden drama thing, I'd say that there was more than one reason that Time magazine referred to him at the Cellini of Chrome. It's interesting that they put his face on the cover with his most exuberant designs.

I, too saw "Thirteen Days", and him having access to a '63 Mercury in the fall of '62 would be plausible. I remember that, compared to "The Missiles Of October", "Thirteen Days" ran like an alternate history version of the story, in which you didn't know what the end would truly be. Actually, I saw that one in the theater.
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-16-2007, 02:34 PM
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Re: Ford Designer Series: George W. Walker

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...I, too saw "Thirteen Days", and him having access to a '63 Mercury in the fall of '62 would be plausible...

Yup - just the first time I saw it I primarily noticed the greenhouse and for some reason thought '65 - then googling showed it wasn't an anachronism afterall
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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 08-17-2007, 02:17 PM
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Re: Ford Designer Series: George W. Walker

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Originally Posted by 2b2 View Post
actually EVERY YEAR (starting with 1958)
www.musclecarclub.com: Fairlane (pictoral) History

Please forgive this tangent - I'm curious about Mr. Walker's involvement with, what for my money is, the surprise-winner of this era, the 1958 Fairlane!

compare ^this^ sleekness with the '57 & '59 at the MuscleCarClub page!

Perhaps Ford was just a bit busy with the new Edsels, but the Fairlane got a healthy dose of the new 4-seat Thunderbird in its front quarters - to me even more impressive since we're talking about a full-size family car with the Fairlane.

Wiki's Tbird page credits Joe Oros with the "Square Bird's" design but makes no specific mention regarding the '58 Fairlane - any confirmation? ...Mr. Nesbitt? ...Sobe?


also here're crossreferences for the above-mentioned Mystere concept-car SeriousWheels (1 large pic) & CarStyling.ru (2 small pix)
.
Some background on Ford's styling organization during the early to mid 50's might be helpful.............
George Walker became a styling consultant to Ford after the success of the '49 Ford design he had created with considerable help.
He had a very successful industrial design office business with many important clients and prestige similar to Raymond Loewy.....
--Walker remained a consultant to Ford until he was appointed Vice President of Ford Styling in 1955.
While Walker was still a consultant with his staff --Ford also had it's own "inhouse" styling staff!!
Charles Waterhouse--of Waterhouse Coachbuilder fame in the 1930's,was head of the Ford overall design operation,and reported to VP of engineering,Earl MacPherson..............
Ford division styling was directed by Frank Quick Hershey.
Hershey was one of Harley Earls first "Art and Colour" styling employee's at GM where he later created Pontiacs famous "Silver Streaks"in 1935,and Cadillacs P-38 inspired tailfins in 1948.
--Gene Bordinat directed Lincoln-Mercury styling.
Walkers designers were Joe Oros assigned to the Ford studios and Elwood Engle assigned to the Lincoln-Mercury studios.
Gil Spear directed Ford's Advanced Styling studio,and reported to Charles Waterhouse.
As can be imagined--this arrangement created quite a bit of friction....
--This group of design managers and their staff were most responsible for the actual "hands on"effort in styling FoMoCo vehicles of this era.
-George Walker was a "master politician" ,which enabled him to get the outstanding results Ford Styling was capable of--even when dealing with Robert Strange McNamara.......
This effort was really as important and significant as the "hands on" styling effort.
The 1958 Thunderbird was a spectacular sales success,and earned a great profit for Ford--unlike the 1958 Lincoln and Continental MK III,which shared floor space with the Thunderbird at the then new Wixom assembly plant.
--The only two cars to increase sales in 1958 were Thunderbird and Rambler.
--The 4 passenger Thunderbird was Robert McNamara's decision and it did turn out to be financialy very successful--even though 2 passenger Thunderbird enthusiasts were naturally disappointed.............
--Dick Nesbitt
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