Who Designed the 1949 Ford?
By Jim and Cheryl Farrell
There’s most likely extra controversy at this time about the place the design of the 1949 Ford got here from than ever earlier than. Designers George Walker, Richard Caleal, Bob Bourke, and Bob Koto have all, at one time or one other, claimed some credit score for it. Others declare the design got here from an unused or discarded Studebaker design. Bourke believed he designed the spinner grille for the ‘’49 Ford based mostly on related spinner grilles he had beforehand designed of Studebaker proposals. Ford pictures appeared to have solved that problem of the grille design, and now it’s typically accepted that Joe Oros got here up with the spinner grille on the ’49 Ford. Nearly every thing else remains to be up within the air with the a number of claims as to who designed what options on the automobile. Hopefully, time will inform us extra.
Right here’s the brief story of how the design of the ’49 Ford happened. Henry Ford II was younger and inexperienced, so a seasoned GM government named Ernie Breech was employed to show Henry the automobile enterprise. Bob Gregorie, then the pinnacle of the Ford Design Division, had already designed the 2 ’49 Ford proposals Ford deliberate to market. When Breech first obtained to Ford, he didn’t suppose the smaller Ford automobile would earn a living, so he organized for its sale to Ford of France. The bigger of Gregorie’s Ford proposals Breech thought was too large to be worthwhile, so he proposed a contest between Gregorie and Breech’s good friend George Walker to design new ’49 Ford proposals. Whoever’s automobile was chosen would turn out to be the brand new ’49 Ford.
The small Walker proposal was designed by Caleal, Koto (possibly) and Bourke (possibly), however Walker’s full-sized clay mannequin for the competition itself was designed primarily by Walker staff Joe Oros and Elwood Engel, loosely following the small mannequin Caleal, possibly Koto and possibly Bourke had designed. The Walker proposal as constructed beat out Gregorie’s proposal to turn out to be the ’49 Ford, and subsequently Gregorie resigned.
It has been typically mentioned that the ’49 Ford was the automobile that saved Ford. Overstatement or not, the ’49 Ford was virtually all-new (aside from the flathead V-8 engine) from the bottom up. Manufacturing for the 1949 mannequin 12 months got here to 1,118,308 vehicles, and earned Ford a $77 million revenue. It beat out Chevrolet gross sales for 1949 by about 100,000 vehicles. The ’49 Ford additionally helped solidify younger Henry and Breech because the leaders at Ford.
The pictures have been taken by Ford photographers throughout the design contest. They have been positioned in what was then known as the Ford Industrial Archives. (Now known as the Ford Archives.) Many have by no means earlier than been printed. The photographer began with the armatures upon when every full-sized proposal was began. Sadly, the pictures finish earlier than Ford designer Gil Spear productionized (and modified) the ’49 Ford made by Oros and Engel.
Photographs: Ford Design