The 1957 Ford Mystere Story
By Jim and Cheryl Farrell
The Mystere was an idea automotive initially supposed because the Ford stablemate to the Lincoln Futura through the 1955 present season. The ’55 present season started with the forty seventh annual Chicago Auto Present, which began on January 8, 1955. The Futura was there. The Mystere, nevertheless, was not—nor was it at any auto present that season. Right here’s what occurred.
In July 1954, after designer Invoice Boyer completed design work on the ’55 Thunderbird, he was requested by Ford design studio head Frank Hershey to design a brand new Ford idea automotive for the 1955 present circuit. Hershey was knee deep designing the ’57 manufacturing Ford with different studio designers, so the one route he gave Boyer was that the brand new idea automotive’s design needed to emphasize the distinctive finned swoosh that was deliberate for the perimeters of the ’57 Ford. Boyer made one sketch and confirmed it to his studio supervisor, Damon Woods, who cherished it. Woods grew up in France and prompt they name the brand new idea automotive the Mystere after the French Mystere jet fighter airplane. Package deal measurements had been decided by Hershey, Bob Maguire (exec) and Woods. Studio designers had been then given two days to adapt Boyer’s design to a full-sized blackboard rendering, which they needed to redo when Hershey elevated the wheelbase of the Mystere to 121” to make it look longer and extra built-in.
There was no engineering finished on the Mystere. A 3/8-scale exterior clay mannequin was made along with a full-sized inside buck. Designers who labored on the design of the Mystere had been Woods, Boyer, Invoice Braathan, Ralph Ortiz, Pierre Crease, John Van Tilberg, John Vanchovie, Ed Jaquet (pupil/intern), Jim Quinlan and Gale Halderman. The entrance finish was modified from Boyer’s authentic design when it was decided the unique entrance finish design wouldn’t work.
As a result of Ford’s Design Shops weren’t but fully staffed after the transfer to the brand new constructing the yr earlier than, the Mystere’s fiberglass physique was constructed by Artistic Industries who additionally made the Plexiglas high and the automotive’s chassis from metal I-beams. The Mystere had no engine or working gear.
The Mystere was completed in December 1954. It was constructed to look as very similar to a jet battle as was possible given the very fact it was speculated to be powered by a gas-turbine rear engine (not put in). Different supposed options on the Mystere included an airplane-like inside with a U-shaped steering wheel with buttons and triggers controlling most of the automotive’s features; a steering wheel that could possibly be flipped from left to proper facet; keyless entry; buttons for the ignition swap; and floating instrument gauges.
In the meantime, on the similar time the Mystere was being designed after which constructed at Artistic Industries, Hershey, Maguire, Woods and different studio designers had been busy ending up their design for the manufacturing ‘57 Ford. After he checked out their proposal, Henry Ford II requested Ford’s design guide George Walker to judge what Hershey and crew deliberate for the 1957 Ford. Walker mentioned he might do higher. HFII mentioned “OK, do it.” So Walker recruited Joe Oros, one among his staff assigned to the Ford studio, and Gale Halderman, a recently-hired Ford designer, to assist redesign the ’57 Ford. Walker, Oros and Halderman accentuated the Mystere’s exterior options much more on their ’57 Ford proposal. The tip result’s that there have been now two ’57 Fords—the unique one designed by Hershey and crew and the automotive designed by Walker, Oros and Halderman. HFII’s answer was to market each vehicles. The Walker automotive grew to become the ’57 Ford Fairlane and Fairlane 500 (118” wheelbase), and the Hershey proposal grew to become the Customized and Customized 300 sequence (116” wheelbase) ‘57 Ford.
Even earlier than design of the ’57 Ford was finalized, it grew to become apparent the Mystere telegraphed the design of the ’57 Ford, particularly the Fairlane 500. The answer was to postpone introduction of the Mystere till it was too late for different producers to repeat any of the Mystere’s options on their ’57 manufacturing vehicles.
In Could 1955, a yr and a half earlier than the manufacturing ’57 Ford was launched, Walker was appointed head of the Ford Design Division, which he promptly renamed the Styling Heart. Walker’s appointment was due at the very least partly to his redesign of the not but launched ’57 Ford. Frank Hershey promptly stop relatively than work below Walker. Walker then named Maguire to interchange Hershey as head of the Ford studio. Halderman was made a supervisor. A yr later, Walker named Maguire to interchange Alex Tremulis as head of the Superior studio. Oros was then appointed head of the Ford studio.
What occurred to the Mystere? Though the general public was by no means informed why one among Ford’s most implausible idea vehicles was launched after the auto exhibits had been largely finished for the yr, promptly at 11:30 am, on Wednesday, October 5, 1955, Walker, proud as a peacock, launched the fuchsia-pink and black Ford Mystere (with a pearlescent-white band excessive) on the Ford Rotunda. And two years later, on the finish of the ’57 mannequin yr, Ford had outsold Chevrolet, cementing Walker’s job as head of the Styling Heart and making HFII one extraordinarily joyful man.
Pictures: Ford Design