From within Alex Tremulis' archives he provides a vivid snapshot into one of the most creative design periods in Ford's history, the 1950's. The accompanying photos were probably requested by Tremulis to document the various proposed stations within his Advanced Styling Studio. Many photos are dated 12-21-1955, giving us a preview of his proposed tour for Henry Ford II, and hopefully recreates the tour exactly as if you were part of Henry Ford II's entourage...
During the first week of January , Mr. Ford and members of the Product Planning Committee are scheduled to visit the Advanced Styling Studio.
As acting chief of the studio, I am expected to present the case for the Advanced Styling Studio. I am sending you for your inspection a transcript of what I plan to say. At this time I would deeply appreciate any criticism or suggestions. After welcoming the Product Planning Committee I shall take them through a planned tour of the exhibits and this is what I will say.
Gentlemen, on your right we have for your inspection several design themes. You will notice that on this panel we have covered several phases of design. As an example, we have several sketches here that are highly suggestive of a continental type of car. Another interesting car here, known as the Ventura, is worthy of your attention as this design clearly shows a parallel in the thinking that led the Packard Styling Section to the development of their Balboa Sedan.
We also have here several sketches depicting the rocket school of thought, such as this sketch on the wall. It is an airborn type of vehicle; the absence of wheels here clearly illustrates one point. The artists here are all trainees and we allow them at this early stage of development complete freedom of expression. This freedom sometimes evolves in refreshing new basic shapes and forms that would never have been discovered had their designer been geared to thinking in terms of a conventional four-wheeled automobile chassis. This car is quite obviously powered by some unknown propulsion system as yet undiscovered on Earth. There is no doubt in our minds that most of these designs can be readily refined and developed into successful automobiles.
To your left we have another interesting exhibit in which we would like to show how a design is born, nurtured and sometimes refined to use in a production automobile. As an example, here is a sketch of a B-36 or B-47 jet pod, which is one of the most inspiring component parts to be found on an airplane.
The next logical step was to place the jet pod in a very advanced design, such as this sketch shows. We then refine this pod to show a more conventional type design, such as this sketch clearly shows. After further refinement the jet pod may resolve itself as a bumper ending on a production car such as this 1957 Lincoln proposal suggests. It is quite obvious from this design that the B-36 jet pod originally inspired this sketch.
We have some charts here for your inspection. Here is a list of the contributions that the Advanced Styling Section has made to the production cars. I will read down the list and then go on to the next chart in which I will read off the items that we are now exploring.
Here we have a chart that shows the degree of training that we give to all the men in this studio. We have listed several different phases of design, such as ideas, 3/8th rendering, full-size rendering, layout and perspective rendering. The first chart shows the evaluation of experience of the trainee when he first enters the
studio. The second chart here clearly shows that designer “X” has increased his experience considerably in the three months he has been with us.
The third chart shows the experience that designer “X” has amassed after he has been with us for six months. If all the bars here in this chart are reasonably full, designer “X” is ready for work in one of our production studios. From this chart it is quite obvious that he can be expected to do all the phases of work required in the production studios, such as full-size air brush renderings and most important, design. One alternative would be to send him downstairs prematurely and let him sink or swim. Unfortunately, by so doing he would only tie up experienced design personnel, who would have to neglect their duties to train him. We would much prefer that if a designer is to do any floundering that he do it here in this studio where we have the time, facilities and patience to correct his faults.
I would like to show you the Terra-Cobra. This car merely illustrates an effort in approaching the maximum lowness possible in a car design, while keeping the driver and front passenger in a sitting position.
Before we arrived at a 40 inch height we made sure by the contour seat study here that such a car would be feasible. The tractor unit of four small wheels is necessitated by the fact that the cowl height of 27 inches is approximately 9 inches lower than the GM LeSabre, and it might merely be a study of minimum frontal area. I might even justify this sketch by saying that a stylist should on occasion be allowed to blow his top.
With the Terra-Cobra we might have said, how low is low, and in this design, the Calcutta, we might say, how small is small. This original model was done by one of our trainees as a school project. It clearly depicts a very interesting swept-back feeling of canopy design. By designing around larger wheels this design was improved with the following results. We like to call this car the Calcutta because it suggests the car for undeveloped countries. I can see further refinement of this design winding up with relatively few stampings and a three-wheel chassis powered by a scooter-type power plant. It could also be readjusted into larger dimensions and still become a very attractive car.
We have here to our right a hood ornament exhibit. The rough sketches on the floor were the first days’ attempt in ornament designing. We then selected a simplified rendering technique used by one of the stylists downstairs and insisted that our trainees illustrate their best design in this technique. It was totally strange to them and illustrates the flexibility of their talents. I would like to point out here, as shown on this sketch, that a hot car can be inspired by a hood ornament or vice-versa.
We also have for your inspection a series of steering wheel and instrument panel designs.
We have here for your inspection a car known as the bikini. This car shows a violent study in its side treatment. The next logical step would be to move the canopy rearward in a more conventional position and by subduing the violence of the side treatment to evolve into a very attractive conventional type of automobile. Incidentally, this was the second and last full-size drawing that designer “X” made. The experience he derived on this sketch proved to be invaluable as he reported to the Ford Studio in the midst of a blitzkrieg program and handled himself very commendably.
If you will step around to the side of the board, gentlemen, I would like to present the case for Athodyd Mark I. In this design we were exploring new shapes and forms. This treatment again might be considered severe and violent, but again I might say, that its basic theme suggests innumerable possibilities for effective side treatments on production cars.
Now, unfortunately, we are limited in our displaying facilities, may I suggest that we inspect the clay models in process while my men set up a display of twelve 3/8th size sketches that we will come back to inspect.
This model is known as the Galax. In this design we have explored two entirely new approaches in fin designs. On the right side of the model we show a fin that is louvered in order to create a new identity. The other fin shape suggests a very strong canted feeling that creates a very pronounced mark of identity. The handling of the side treatment, in my opinion, does an awful lot to accentuate the length with this design. Another interesting feature of this car is the exposed oil cooler mounted in the concave surface and protected by a rub-rail.
I would now like to show you the Transonic Coupe. This design features a built-in wind-brake similar to the type of dive brakes used in aircraft. This car being highly streamlined might have a tendency to coast further than a conventional type car. This brake would be used merely to assist the wheel brake deceleration.
The third model that I would like to show you, which we call the Athodyd Mark II. In this design we are exploring the possibilities of blending a turnover structure into a unique fin shape. It is quite obvious from the rear of this model that we are exploring new rear-end shapes that I am sure you have never seen before. The value of these models is indispensible for design study. They also serve a valuable function in public relation affairs. Many of the models created in this studio have appeared in many magazines in the past and have successfully conveyed a message to the motoring public that we at Ford are leaving no stone unturned.
I see that the other sketches are now ready for your inspection, and if you will please step this way, gentlemen, I would like to tell you of a very interesting experiment we conducted. We pitched out the names of twelve geographical locations and each designer drew out of a hat a name of a car and he was expected to portray the feeling of environment that the location would inspire in a car design. As an example, in the case of the Taj Mahal, here we have a car imbued with oriental splendor. The black and maharajah gold augmented with a touch of cane work suggests a car befitting the name; the ivory encrusted medallion certainly brings out the personality further in this design.
Here we have the Hong Kong. The beautiful reds and stunning gold appliqués certainly are suggestive of oriental inspiration.
Here we have the Mikado. This one I consider very successful and it is quite obvious that the usual roof treatment could have only been arrived at because its very name suggested a pagoda-like influence that could never have been suggested any other way.
The Matador presents another successful venture in its design. One might say that the reds and the swept back fins might have been inspired by the thrust of the bandalleros of Manolette, the greatest of all bullfighters.
Similar descriptions will follow on cars such as the Aurora Borealis, the Sahara, the Pygalle, the Monte Carlo, the Congo, and the Texan. The results of this venture in our opinion furnish food for thought for management in the planning of interest in future show cars, much as new colors and names.
May we now retire to the showroom. There I will describe various models that we have on display.
After a few minutes of time in the showroom we will then return to the design room and we will then show twelve more 3/8th size sketches mounted on the same board over the other drawings because of the lack of space. These designs will be inspired by the planets. In this program we shall show many new variations in new forms and shapes of a very advanced degree.
I would like to end this meeting with a statement such as: These men, if allowed the freedom of expression, plus the courage of their convictions, in our opinion can make a tremendous contribution to the art.
I graciously thank the Committee for their time and tell them that we await with great pleasure their next visit, in which we promise more interesting developments.
I thank you.