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HomeCar DesignGeorge Walker and the 1964 Lincoln Continental Mark IX – Dean’s Storage

George Walker and the 1964 Lincoln Continental Mark IX – Dean’s Storage


George Walker and the 1964 Lincoln Continental Mark IX 

By Jim and Cheryl Farrell

When George Walker turned a advisor to Ford in late Nineteen Forties he extracted circumstances from Henry Ford II which included Walker’s management of all publicity about Ford design. Walker was additionally in a position to maintain his profitable non-public design enterprise and his curiosity in one other enterprise (Trim Developments) that bought automotive trim components to a number of producers.

The final situation given Walker was the suitable to insert two of his staff, Elwood Engel and Joe Oros, into the Ford Design Division. Oros and Engel, though not staff of Ford, have been there full-time, and had the suitable to design and create clay fashions of their very own Ford, Lincoln or Mercury proposals in the event that they didn’t just like the designs proposed by Ford designers. That association didn’t work very effectively and brought about much more dissension amongst Ford designers.

On Could 22, 1955, HFII’s answer was to make Walker a Ford vp and normal supervisor of the Design Division, which Walker promptly renamed the Ford Styling Middle. Engel then turned Walker’s assistant supervisor, and in 1956, he named Oros as head of the Ford design studio.

Ford coverage mandated that each one executives retire at age 65. As Walker approached his sixty fifth birthday in 1961, he was obsessed that Oros or Engel (ideally Engel) succeed him. Gene Bordinat, as head of the Lincoln-Mercury design studio, was Engel’s major competitors to succeed Walker. That meant that Walker was actively attempting to undermine Bordinat and construct up Engel.

Ben Mills, then head of Lincoln-Mercury Division, didn’t belief Walker. He felt Walker and Engel had pushed by way of the design of the disastrous 1958 Lincoln with out a lot consideration of its salability. Mills additionally needed a smaller Lincoln that displayed apparent continuity with previous Lincolns. That directive was made clear to Bordinat who was presupposed to be designing the ’61 Lincoln in his studio. Mills additionally needed an extended nine-year design cycle for Lincoln.

Walker and Engel each have been conscious of Mill’s displeasure. Though Engel’s design for the ’61 Lincoln began out as a Thunderbird proposal, it later turned a Lincoln proposal. Walker noticed it as a feather in Engel’s cap regardless that his ’61 Lincoln design had no continuity with previous Lincolns. Engel’s ’61 Lincoln proposal beat out the one from Bordinat’s studio that had an unlucky similarity to the 1958-60 Lincoln—which by that point, almost everybody at Ford disliked. Bordinat adopted the foundations; Engel didn’t—and Engel’s automobile gained.

All the above is prologue to what occurred after Engel’s profitable ’61 Lincoln proposal was moved upstairs into Bordinat’s Lincoln-Mercury studio to be productionized. Though Walker and Engel had lucked out with the profitable ’61 Lincoln design, Walker shortly discovered that if Engel was additionally in a position to design the subsequent Lincoln Continental, which beneath the outdated guidelines was due for change in 1964, it might go a great distance in the direction of Engel‘s appointment as his successor. Walker inspired Engel at hand choose the most effective designers out there, and to shortly started work on a automobile they known as the 1964 Lincoln Continental Mark IX.

Designers of the Mark IX have been Engel, Gale Halderman (supervisor), Colin Neale, John Orfe, Invoice Dayton, and Phil Payne. Though the completed Mark IX seems to be longer, it’s truly shorter than the ’61 Lincoln. When completed, the Mark IX was so effectively preferred by all who noticed it that Walker had designer Ray Smith set up a small electrical motor and steering so it might be truly pushed at about 5-mph. The Mark IX was ultimately in-built fiberglass with 4 opening doorways and a full inside. The particular options of the Mark IX have been all picked by Engel, together with a small opening compartment on the hood to verify fluids, a full vinyl roof that prolonged onto the truck, and a partially-retracting backlight. Everybody at Ford together with administration thought the Mark IX was a great-looking Lincoln.

Invoice Ford was not a fan of George Walker. After the Mark II had been discontinued, Invoice Ford turned a Ford VP and titular head of Ford design. Walker, who was additionally a VP and head of the Styling Middle, disliked Invoice Ford and overtly referred to him as “that f—king child.”

When it got here time to decide on Walker’s alternative, Engel obtained caught in a scandal. He double billed for bills he incurred throughout an oversight journey to Europe, which disqualified him. Walker then started supporting Oros as his alternative. Walker even informed Oros he was a shoe-in, and photographs have been taken of Walker introducing Oros as his alternative. In the meantime, Henry Ford II was hospitalized with mononucleosis, and Bordinat took this chance to current a slick-looking booklet to Invoice Ford explaining why he and never Oros ought to turn out to be head of the Ford Styling Middle, and why Invoice Ford ought to management the choice. Bordinat additionally organized to satisfy with Eleanor Ford, the matriarch of the Ford household, who gave her blessing to Bordinat. Invoice Ford and Mills then recruited different members of Ford’s board of administrators. Invoice Ford even gave a unbelievable speech to the board supporting Bordinat. After the board chosen Bordinat as Walker’s alternative, Invoice Ford will need to have loved coming again to the Styling Middle to inform Walker his candidate had misplaced, and his successor was Bordinat.

When Henry Ford II obtained out of the hospital, he agreed to maintain Walker on the payroll so Walker may train Ford inventory choices that matured solely after he turned 65. He additionally despatched Walker and his spouse on an all-expense paid journey to say goodbye at Ford vegetation worldwide. Walker was nonetheless bitter, and all over the place he went he badmouthed Bordinat and members of the Ford household, together with Invoice and Henry Ford II. When phrase of his badmouthing obtained again to Dearborn, Henry Ford II recalled Walker and instantly retired him. Designers report that Walker by no means once more set foot in Ford’s renamed Design Middle.

In November 1961, Walker was in a position to engineer Engel’s appointment as the top of Chrysler’s design division. Walker additionally tried to speak Oros into going to AMC as head of their design division. Bordinat had a chat with Oros. The top end result was that he and Oros loved a very good working relationship for the remainder of their lengthy careers at Ford. After Engel obtained to Chrysler, he provided Neale, Orfe and Dayton jobs on such advantageous phrases they couldn’t say no.

What occurred to the Mark IX? Bordinat was clearly NOT keen on the automobile. Mills was profitable in extending Lincoln’s design cycle to 9 years, and the Mark IX simply pale away. Moreover, after Engel went to Chrysler, there was little probability Ford would produce a automobile Engel designed.

The subsequent Lincoln was the 1966 Continental, which was a well-executed refresh of the ’61 Continental.

If Engel had changed Walker as head of the Ford Styling Middle, would the Mark IX have turn out to be the 1964 Lincoln Continental? Who is aware of. However even a retired George Walker might be very persuasive.

Pictures: Ford Design

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