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Plans and ideas that will surprise and amaze - an early Sixties look at Ford's Styling Center

Daniel Strohl Sep 20 2020


With the news that the Ford Product Development Center - along with its rotunda styling dome and open-air courtyard - faces the wrecking ball, we thought we'd go in search of more video of that institution and came up with a couple vintage behind-the-scenes glimpses of what went on there in the Sixties.
The first, a circa 1961 Ford adaptation of the Jack Douglas television series "The Secret Door," is unique in that it shows us a few steps in the development of an advanced styling project (the highlight, a car called the Astrion, is a bit of a mystery - it doesn't appear in the Farrells' comprehensive book on Ford concepts and showcars) and also gives far more credit to the clay modelers who worked on that project than to the designers who sketched it. In the video it also looks like we get a shot of Alex Tremulis demonstrating the Gyron's gyroscopic stabilizer system, some footage of the Futura going through testing, and plenty of reminders that Ford was serious about keeping a lid on its design process.
The second comes as part of a more wide-ranging 1969 video from the early Seventies, "A Car Is Born," in which Ford leads us through the process of a car's development. We get the Dinoc-over-clay money shot, sure, but we also see a lot (I mean a lot) of computer tapes used for product planning, some crash testing, and we hear plenty about how Ford was trying to be a good corporate citizen.
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