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Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up
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john samsen
Posted 2010-03-03 12:39 PM (#212346)
Subject: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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Hey Mopar fans...
I just joined this forum. I was a designer in the Chrysler corp. styling studios from 1955 through 1976. I'm now 82, and still going strong- well, fairly strong!
You can see lots of info and videos on my website http://www.CollectibleArt.net/

I will be presenting an audio-visual program on styling the classic Mopars at the Carlisle PA All-Chrysler Nationals show, July, 2010.

If anyone has questions about the designers and styling programs at Chrysler Corp. during the classic era, post them, and I'll try to answer them.
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57burb
Posted 2010-03-03 2:52 PM (#212363 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: RE: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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WOW!!

First, thank you for joining our site! I won't be able to make the meet in PA, but I am interested in hearing anything you have to say about the Chrysler styling studios during the '50s and '60s. Some of the best looking American cars of all time were produced from your group. What role did you have in the studio?
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BigBlockMopar
Posted 2010-03-03 5:29 PM (#212380 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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Welcome to the site John!

I'm wondering, how did you 'look' at the final production styling of the cars you had drawn a couple of years earlier?
What would be, for you (perhaps in hindsight), design and styling-features that shouldn't have been incorporated or made it into production cars of certain years?
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lawrence
Posted 2010-03-03 8:33 PM (#212406 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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Welcome John!

I have a question too. Is it true that the designs of the cars were almost 10 yrs before production?
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58Donnie
Posted 2010-03-03 8:48 PM (#212411 - in reply to #212406)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up


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Welcome. Thank you for joining this forum. I sent you a PM
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Ex-finlover
Posted 2010-03-03 10:41 PM (#212426 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: RE: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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FYI - John Samsen's made a great DVD about his career in the car design business. Lots of styling studio sketches and behind the scenes stories. If you can't make Carlisle - think about getting a copy of the DVD from his website. It's also on ebay if that's easier for you.

http://stores.ebay.com/ArtFindsUSA-car-design-art-and-DVD__W0QQ_fsu...

If you like car design and automotive history - you don't want to miss it!

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john samsen
Posted 2010-03-06 2:58 PM (#212720 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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Hi all!

First, we usually worked three years ahead on new body designs. However, some ideas we designers came up with were not seen in production until many years later.

"I'm wondering, how did you 'look' at the final production styling of the cars you had drawn a couple of years earlier?
What would be, for you (perhaps in hindsight), design and styling-features that shouldn't have been incorporated or made it into production cars of certain years?"

We were never completely happy with our designs that made it to production, because they were modified by engineering and the personal taste of company execs. We had to make our styles conform with the look that our management wanted; Exner, Engle, etc. I personally did not like much ornamentation on cars, and wanted all wheels to be fully shown. I did not like the exaggerated fins that some of the later F.W. cars had, and thought grilles were too wide- i.e. 1962 Plymouth. My taste fit pretty well with Ex's.

I did this concept in 1955; it was not what I personally would have wanted but we had to go along with the trends of the time.


Edited by john samsen 2010-03-06 3:03 PM




(DS 57 9x72.jpg)



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Attachments DS 57 9x72.jpg (40KB - 430 downloads)
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2010-03-06 3:21 PM (#212723 - in reply to #212720)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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Hi John,

Wow, ... isn't this a golden opportunity !

OK, ... I'll start with :

I have always been baffled by the incontinuity of the 1959 cars - the rear end treatment in particular - from the rest of the evolution.

What was going on in the halls and around the water cooler that caused the fins to slant forward and the otherwise crisp lines of bumpers,
hood edges, headlights, etc. suddenly get bulky, only to radically change back in 1960 ? I will use the 59 Chrysler rear bumper and grille
integration as examples.

Where did the ovoid / round dot theme come from on otherwise angular, jaunty cars ?

Thank you for joining our group. I look forward to your input here !
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hemidenis
Posted 2010-03-06 3:53 PM (#212728 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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Wow is great to have you here

i knew that 57 were the first Exner designed cars, i have a picture of the final clay model of my 1961 Chrysler and is dated 4/17/1959. John please post any comments you would like 55-61 models before a gazillion guys in here ask for a particular model.
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B/G 61
Posted 2010-03-06 4:11 PM (#212729 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: RE: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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I'll dive in like many will with a question about a specific car - the '61 Dodge . . . Is it true the final design was picked out of the trash on a crumpled piece of paper ??? ANYTHING you want to say about the '61 Dodge and its design I'm ALL EARS (eyes )
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sidesho_bob1961
Posted 2010-03-06 4:47 PM (#212734 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: RE: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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John, I really like that concept drawing!!! Kind of a combination of forward look and Ford styling of the late fifties (which I'm also fond of). Side trim and body lines are similar to a 57 Ford. Roof line and glass definitely looks like forward look. Please post some more!!
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john samsen
Posted 2010-03-09 6:59 PM (#213123 - in reply to #212723)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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r.e. Dr. Desoto's querie...

I have never noticed a discontinuity in the late '59's. Thanks for calling my attention to it! We were working on the '59's during 1956 and '57. So were the other Am. companies. The pressure was on to keep finding different looking fins- and naturally, this led to some pretty bizzare designs. Also, quad headlamps were in, which created wide front fenders. Carrying fender shapes back through the doors led to more bulbous shapes. A sketch of mine (which happens to be in the upcoming Barrett/Jackson auction at Palm Beach) led to the rear end design for the 1960 Desoto. I also directed the clay modelling of the 1959 Desoto rear end, and have the design patents for the rear sheet metal and bumper. (I'm not attached to this concept, and if anyone thinks it stinks, I won't object.)

P.S. I think the 1957 Desotos were the best designs of the series. A designer Jack Koenitz was chiefly responsible for the '57 Desoto and Chrysler body. Exner was not involved in that design, except to OK it.

Edited by john samsen 2010-03-09 7:18 PM




(57-60 DS rear green 5X72.jpg)



(59 DS rear6x72.jpg)



(60desoto rear.jpg)



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Attachments 57-60 DS rear green 5X72.jpg (26KB - 419 downloads)
Attachments 59 DS rear6x72.jpg (56KB - 393 downloads)
Attachments 60desoto rear.jpg (30KB - 383 downloads)
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john samsen
Posted 2010-03-09 7:31 PM (#213127 - in reply to #212729)
Subject: RE: 1961 Desoto



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My father once told me that If I couldn't say something nice, then don't say anything! So I won't tell how much I dislike the '61 Desoto front end. I'm glad I didn't work on this. I don't like slanted headlamps on this year's Desoto and Chrysler, and didn't like them on Lincolns. If anyone cherishes a '61 Desoto or Chrysler, let me try to soften this critique by saying it is cool to own rare collector cars, like Edsels, etc. even if they didn't take prizes for their styling. There is something neat about strange designs. Evidently the public thinks so, because they buy the square box cars that Honda and others put out.



(1961DeSoto_1.jpg)



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Attachments 1961DeSoto_1.jpg (29KB - 463 downloads)
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dukeboy
Posted 2010-03-09 7:47 PM (#213133 - in reply to #213127)
Subject: RE: 1961 Desoto



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john samsen - 2010-03-09 7:31 PM

Evidently the public thinks so, because they buy the square box cars that Honda and others put out.


Mr. Samsen, IMO, the buying public is always looking for a way to "Be Different" and they have taken this to the extreme with the above mentioned "Boxes" from Honda and Nissan...Same thing with the '61 Desoto, and Chrysler's canted Headlamps...While different, it really is that way because nobody else really cares for it all that much....Now the "in" thing when trying to be different is to get ahold of some of those "Huge" Rear fins that you thought were to much...People just love those big 'ol fins...

Edited by dukeboy 2010-03-09 7:49 PM
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suburban61
Posted 2010-03-09 7:53 PM (#213136 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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hello john and welcome...

i would like to ask who exactly designed the '61 plymouths? there has been names thrown around here and there, and also the fact that the front was originally designed as a rear... are you able to clear this up? also i have long wondered which name should take credit for the gorgeous illustrations of the '61 plymouth and valiant range in the sales brochures, unfortunately they were not given the credit that they deserved, unlike art fitzpatrick who was allowed to initial all his pontiac illustrations and receives recognition... there also seems to be a huge void when it comes to images available of the '61 plymouth production, being lack of concept sketched, photos of clay models etc... there seems to be these images for other years/ models but not for the '61 plymouth...

sorry that was alot of questions, but i hope that you can clear a couple of them up at least...

thankyou for your time...

adriana
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1960DesotoAdventurer
Posted 2010-03-09 8:02 PM (#213139 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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john samsen - 2010-03-03 12:39 PM

Hey Mopar fans...
I just joined this forum. I was a designer in the Chrysler corp. styling studios from 1955 through 1976. I'm now 82, and still going strong- well, fairly strong!
You can see lots of info and videos on my website http://www.CollectibleArt.net/

I will be presenting an audio-visual program on styling the classic Mopars at the Carlisle PA All-Chrysler Nationals show, July, 2010.

If anyone has questions about the designers and styling programs at Chrysler Corp. during the classic era, post them, and I'll try to answer them.




Welcome John!
Wow! it sure must have been exciting to work in the Chrysler design dept. during 1956-1961 when the Forward Look cars were pushing the styling envelope to the limit and turning dream cars into production models.
I am curious,what is your personal favorite Forward Look model of all? Did you ever get to see any of Virgil Exners personal experimental cars? I recall seeing a photo of a plymouth he designed where the fins were almost as tall as the roof!

Edited by 1960DesotoAdventurer 2010-03-09 8:06 PM
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1960DesotoAdventurer
Posted 2010-03-09 8:16 PM (#213145 - in reply to #213127)
Subject: RE: 1961 Desoto



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john samsen - 2010-03-09 7:31 PM

My father once told me that If I couldn't say something nice, then don't say anything! So I won't tell how much I dislike the '61 Desoto front end. I'm glad I didn't work on this. I don't like slanted headlamps on this year's Desoto and Chrysler, and didn't like them on Lincolns. If anyone cherishes a '61 Desoto or Chrysler, let me try to soften this critique by saying it is cool to own rare collector cars, like Edsels, etc. even if they didn't take prizes for their styling. There is something neat about strange designs. Evidently the public thinks so, because they buy the square box cars that Honda and others put out.


I'd have to agree with you on this one.
I dont think the '61's are ugly,but they certainly are an anticlimax after the beauty of the 1960's.
the top grille looks out of place and tacked on,and I dont like the tailight treatment as much as the 60's,although the Chryslers suffered even worse and had their beautiful boomerangs replaced with chrome inserts.
I also like the "winged" chevron style bumper on the 60's best.
I guess it would be like the 1957-1958 Plymouths,I have never liked the '59s as much with the "toilet seat" on the trunk and scalloped headlight brows.

I dont think change for change sake was a good idea.

P.S. was the "flight sweep" treatment (faux wheelcover) objected to by any of the designers? I have read many people didnt like it and derisively nicknamed it "toilet seat"

Edited by 1960DesotoAdventurer 2010-03-09 8:19 PM
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1960DesotoAdventurer
Posted 2010-03-09 8:30 PM (#213147 - in reply to #212720)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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john samsen - 2010-03-06 2:58 PM

Hi all!

First, we usually worked three years ahead on new body designs. However, some ideas we designers came up with were not seen in production until many years later.

"I'm wondering, how did you 'look' at the final production styling of the cars you had drawn a couple of years earlier?
What would be, for you (perhaps in hindsight), design and styling-features that shouldn't have been incorporated or made it into production cars of certain years?"

We were never completely happy with our designs that made it to production, because they were modified by engineering and the personal taste of company execs. We had to make our styles conform with the look that our management wanted; Exner, Engle, etc. I personally did not like much ornamentation on cars, and wanted all wheels to be fully shown. I did not like the exaggerated fins that some of the later F.W. cars had, and thought grilles were too wide- i.e. 1962 Plymouth. My taste fit pretty well with Ex's.

I did this concept in 1955; it was not what I personally would have wanted but we had to go along with the trends of the time.



John this concept drawing is breathtaking!
This car should have been made!,I love the rocket worked into the side of the tailfin and leading to an afterburner tailight! and the roofline is so gracefull and sleek.
What model was this a concept for?
In my opinion when the Forward Look ended,the fins and Jetsons dashes were gone and Chrysler no longer used the twin boomerangs as their logo things would never be the same again.
Those are the most beautiful cars made,and I personally think everything that has come since has been a step backward...we dont know what futuristic is anymore,the cars now are ugly and things that are supposed to be futuristic,just look plain nerdy and clumsy.

Edited by 1960DesotoAdventurer 2010-03-09 8:33 PM
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john samsen
Posted 2010-03-10 10:32 PM (#213288 - in reply to #213133)
Subject: RE: Exner, big fins, etc.



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Hi all!

So you like big fins! So did Exner; obviously, the bigger the better!

I still get a smile when I see the Chrysler with big fins. I remember when we designers saw this clay outside in the viewing area, and most of us couldn't believe it!

Edited by john samsen 2010-03-10 10:37 PM




(Chrysler BIG fins 8x72.jpg)



(XNR hardtop 8x72.jpg)



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Attachments Chrysler BIG fins 8x72.jpg (71KB - 476 downloads)
Attachments XNR hardtop 8x72.jpg (39KB - 452 downloads)
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john samsen
Posted 2010-03-10 11:12 PM (#213294 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: RE:Exner styling



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First, I must say I don't know who worked directly on the '61 Plymouth. At that time, I was still in the Desoto studio. Hal Pilkey was manager of the Plymouth studio at that time, and probably had something to do with that design.

As to my favorite FWLK car, I have always liked the 1957 Desoto Fireflite the best- clean lines, well sculpted forms. Unfortunately, new models usually are the best designs, and facelifts often spoil or add unnecessary elements to the original design.

Now I'd like to talk about Exner, who I have always respected as a good designer. Like all good designers, he came up with great designs and bad designs.
He came to Chrysler to develop advanced design concepts. During the early fifties, he and his team of designers, Cliff Voss, Maury Baldwin, etc. created the twenty-some concept cars that were hand-made at Ghia body works in Italy. As you know, the designs were "automotive looking" rather than like aircraft and rockets, like Earl was doing at GM. All the Am. car companies except GM were considering following European styling, and Ford had three concept cars from Cisitalia, Hudson, Nash, and Packard had cars styled by Farina. Then somehow, the companies decided to do what GM was doing, and went "futuristic". Evidently it was a wise move, as the public loved that trend.

I believe Exner personally liked the "automotive look", which was to feature the wheels with fender forms, and use elements from past cars such as radiator/grilles, visible spare tires, visible exhaust systems, louvers, etc. Basically, I went along with his philosophy, and the old design cliche "form follows function".
Now when I arrived at Desoto studio in 1955, I was shown a 3/8 size clay model that looked just like the production '57 Desoto. The story I was told was that Desoto designer Jack Koenitz designed it. They told me that the studios produced their designs for the '57 lineup in competition with the models from Exner's private studio. Ex's designs were similar to the K-310, while the studios' designs had big fins, etc. The company execs bought the designs from the studios. After that, Exner jumped on the fin bandwagon. I thought his XNR assymetrical design was really clever, but he went to EXtremes with the models shown above.

I have discussed this with my friend Virgil Exner Jr., and he didn't know about this story. At any rate, Ex used his basic design package on a number of his designs. The 1960 Valiant is pure Exner. His design was used on the Karmann/Ghia VW. Most of us designers were against using "toilet seat" dummy spares and Virgil Jr. says he tried to talk Ex out of that cliche' on cars that the two Exners collaborated on, like the reincarnated Stutz, but failed.

Here is an Exner sketch for a concept car- his basic design themes.

Edited by john samsen 2010-03-11 9:38 AM




('51 SKETCH C. SPL 8x72.jpg)



(1953 CHRYSLER D'ELEGANCE 8x72.JPG)



(Stutz 8x72.jpg)



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Attachments '51 SKETCH C. SPL 8x72.jpg (42KB - 379 downloads)
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Attachments Stutz 8x72.jpg (130KB - 374 downloads)
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roadkillontheweb
Posted 2010-03-10 11:30 PM (#213296 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: RE: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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I am sure this is a long shot but do you think you could identify these two guys making the clay mock up for the 1958 Plymouth Fury JR?



(plymouth clay.jpg)



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Attachments plymouth clay.jpg (94KB - 441 downloads)
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john samsen
Posted 2010-03-11 8:23 AM (#213325 - in reply to #213296)
Subject: RE: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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roadkillontheweb - 2010-03-10 11:30 PM

I am sure this is a long shot but do you think you could identify these two guys making the clay mock up for the 1958 Plymouth Fury JR?


I remember these guys, and worked with them, but their names don't pop up in my memory yet. Maybe later.

After designing all kinds of fins for several years, Exner told us that fins were a passing fad, and in the sixties, they would die out. Our task was to come up with other treatments for the rear quarters that wouldn't look like we were going backward to previous car design. That was difficult. Another thing Ex said was that future cars would be wedge shaped- low in front and high in back. The fins gave that look, but we had to find ways to get from the low front to a high, short rear deck. When Engle took over, he directed our design along the lines that GM and Ford were taking- fenders higher over the front wheels, taspering down to the rear, usually with rear wheels hidden, to some extent. Most of today's cars are wedge-shaped, and show the wheels. And most grilles are narrower. I think Ex would like todays style, which is not too different from many of his Ghia concept cars.. However, Ex was a passionate innovator, and wouldn't want his cars to disappear among the many generic-looking cars of today, so he would probably be off in a new direction.

I just came up with a theme for my Carlisle presentation- I think I'll call it "The Forward Look and the Backward Glance". The Exner era of innovative design, followed by the Engle era of following GM and Ford designs. This change came about as Tex Colbert who wanted to lead the industry in design gave control of the company to Lynn Townsend, who just wanted to make money and play it safe. I liked Engle, as a person, and thought him a rather good designer, but he wasn't passionate about good design as Exner was. The rear of his Chrysler Turbine car was an example of his design style, and was a takeoff from the Ford "La Galaxie" show car.

As to seeing Ex's concept cars, yes, we saw most of them. One of the perks with being a designer was that we got to test drive most cars of the competition as well as Mopars, and for a while I was able to lease four cars per year. We went to the big dealer introductory shows, like "Suddenly its 1960!" and other car events and races. We also could buy Mopar cars that hea been used for various purposes at a very low price. I got my parents such cars as 1959 Plymouth, 1958 Imperial, 1964 New Yorker, etc.

One day, Elwood dropped the keys to a Turbine on my desk, and told me to drive it for a while.


Edited by john samsen 2010-03-11 9:11 AM




(58lagalaxie 8x72.jpg)



(JRSturbine 8x72.jpg)



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Attachments JRSturbine 8x72.jpg (79KB - 369 downloads)
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john samsen
Posted 2010-03-11 9:31 AM (#213329 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: Re "Virgil Exner, Visioneer"



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For those interested in how the FWLK cars came into being, and don't already have it, I highly recomend Peter Grist's new book "Virgil Exner, Visioneer". Much of the material and pictures in it were from Virgil Exner Jr. I also contributed some info and images to Peter, and a couple of my design sketches appear in the book.
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catman
Posted 2010-03-11 9:48 AM (#213332 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: RE: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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John,

Thanks for sharing. I read every post with great interest.
As an owner of a 1959 Dodge Custom Sierra, I am curious to see if you have any anecdotes and stories about station wagon development. Maybe you have sketches and pictures you can share?

Thanks.

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Billy-Jack Ebare
Posted 2010-03-12 1:45 AM (#213498 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: RE: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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It is truly an honor to have you on board Mr. Samsen. I speak for many undoubtedly when I say thank you for allowing us this rare opportunity. Many of us here have been passionate about the cars of the Forward Look, and Virgil Exner for many many years. Your wealth of information and knowledge on this subject is truly astounding, and appreciated. Being a 1960 Desoto Adventurer owner, I would like to know any information you could tell me in regards to this design. Likes/dislikes, how this became the final 1960 design concept, how much influence did Virgil Exner have on it, and who decided what changes were made to models sold internationally, i.e. interior packages, badging etc. My particular Desoto was sold new in Windsor Ontario, Canada, and was fitted by Chrysler Corp Canada with a 1960 Saratoga interior. Any information you might have would be greatly appreciated. Below are a few pics of my 1960 Canadian built Adventurer 2 door Hardtop. Thank You.



(Billy Jack 1960 desoto 002.jpg)



(2277097640043366320VgqmyG_fs.jpg)



(2212866000043366320koLVzK_ph.jpg)



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Attachments Billy Jack 1960 desoto 002.jpg (193KB - 349 downloads)
Attachments 2277097640043366320VgqmyG_fs.jpg (212KB - 375 downloads)
Attachments 2212866000043366320koLVzK_ph.jpg (74KB - 340 downloads)
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roadkillontheweb
Posted 2010-03-12 6:47 AM (#213509 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: RE: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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I have a 1956 Desoto Diplomat Utility Coupe (UTE) that was built in Australia. And as you can see it has a 54 plymouth body even though is was built in 56

The car based truck was a good seller in Australia since the 30s and Chevy and Ford got on the ball in the late 50s here in the states with the ranchero and El Camino but Chrysler never embraced the concept here in the states till the 80s.
WHY?


Sure they slapped a set of station wagon fenders on a truck for a few years with the septsides but the whole light truck on a passenger car platform was never attempted.

1957 Desoto sweptside (for export only) only known photo and nobody seems to know where it went.
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suburban61
Posted 2010-03-12 7:22 AM (#213513 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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lee, how did your ute get to the states? did you import it yourself or did you find it over there? we dont even see them over here... ive seen a few of the chrysler royal wayfarers (utes) but i dont think ive seen any of the earlier chrysler corp utes... adriana
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john samsen
Posted 2010-03-12 8:33 AM (#213516 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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Billy Jack,

Your Adventurer is outstanding!

It's dificult to give many details about designing these Desotos because of the way Exner set-up the design process. At GM and Ford, designers worked in the same rooms where the full size clay models were developed, and guided the clay modeling. Exner had the clay models developed in separate rooms from the designers' studios, and we were discouraged from entering the clay rooms. Designers produced lots of concept sketches, and the studio manager and assistant studied them, then guided the clay models. If our ideas were used on the clay, we usually were not told. We did have 3/8 scale clay models in our studios to develop our ideas in 3-D, and a few clay modelers to sculpt them.

I came up with a concept for the 1960 Desoto-Chrysler body, and our manager, Tom Bannister, liked it and had a modeler do a 3/8 model of it, with my guidance. When Exner's assistant, Cliff Voss, came in the room and saw it, he was extatic. "This is it- the '60 Desoto" he exclaimed. "Wait till Ex sees it!!" The idea of the design was to have a fin peaking over the rear wheel, and a reflected shape below it; the sketch is shown below. There was to be a show to choose the '60 design from models in the Desoto and Chrysler studios. When Ex was brought in, he said he liked the design. I was excited, hoping to have my design chosen. The next day, Ex and Voss came in, and Ex asked that the upper fin be moved back a few inches. I could see that this would destroy the symmetry, but didn't say anything. The following day they returned, and the model looked worse. I hoped Ex would let me move the fin back where it belonged, but instead, he said to move it further rearward. It looked worse, and when they saw it again, Ex said to move the fins all the way back. After this was done, Ex decided not to put this model in the show. I was really disappointed.

When Engle came to head up the design department, he had the designers and full size clays together, and designers guided the modeling of their designs, as was done at Ford. We designers were much happier with this system.



Edited by john samsen 2010-03-12 8:38 AM




(57 reflected fin 8x72.jpg)



('60 DS Refl fin rendering 8x72.jpg)



('60 DS refl fin SV 8x72.jpg)



('60 DS refl fin clay 8x72.jpg)



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john samsen
Posted 2010-03-12 9:16 AM (#213518 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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Here's a picture of Desoto design studio in 1956. That's me with the striped tie in center.

Edited by john samsen 2010-03-12 9:17 AM




(56 Desoto studio 8x72.jpg)



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57burb
Posted 2010-03-12 9:56 AM (#213519 - in reply to #213518)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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john samsen - 2010-03-12 8:16 AM

Here's a picture of Desoto design studio in 1956. That's me with the striped tie in center.


John-

I work for an advertising company, and if I were to take a picture of our Creative Studio here, it would look eerily similar to this photo! You can see on our website that we have the same color palette. Maybe there is something inspiring in those colors! http://www.rapp.com/home/

I'm working on a '57 New Yorker, which I think was one of the cleanest and most elegant designs to emerge from the Mopar studios. When I was looking for a project, I was set on a big-body '57-58 Chrysler or DeSoto, with '57 preferred. This is a Photoshop of what my car will look like when done. http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a274/46Tbird/NewYorker/57NYer10.j...

I appreciate your sharing some of those images of Exner's projects. I don't think I've seen any of them before. I like the asymmetrical stuff that was being done and would like to have seen it in production.

That drawing you did of the '60 DeSoto design just flipped a switch in my head. I always knew there was something that needed to be integrated better with the front-end design. The rear bumper shown in the drawing is very derivative of DeSoto styling for '57, which I would guess is the timeframe it came from. Very interesting to see, and would make a tasteful customization of an original '60-61 car.

Thank you for letting us bend your ear!
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JERSEYBOB
Posted 2010-03-12 10:08 AM (#213520 - in reply to #213516)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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John,
I'll repeat what everyone else has already said; Thanks so much for your input here. This is the stuff we are passionate for. The photos, stories and sketches are invaluable. It is truely a unique experience for us.
I was wondering, when Ex had you move the fins back, why did you change the rear edge angle? The trailing edge on your green sketch would have been a departure, and therefore evolution to the existing fins. I love the svelte lines of the 2 dr sketch. If only the production models could have portrayed that vertical to horizontal scale...
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BigBlockMopar
Posted 2010-03-12 6:58 PM (#213563 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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John,
of course the fin's were a design-feature, but were some fin-designs ever put into windtunnel-testing to see if they had any postive or negative effect on highspeed car stability or roadmanners?
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StillOutThere
Posted 2010-03-12 9:34 PM (#213587 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: RE: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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John,  Thank you for honoring us with your reminisences and willingness to respond to questions.   And thanks for your work on the design of the 1960 Chrysler from a 300F owner.



(Front_sml.jpg)



(R_Side_sml.jpg)



(Rear_sml.jpg)



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roadkillontheweb
Posted 2010-03-12 10:50 PM (#213593 - in reply to #213513)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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suburban61 - 2010-03-12 6:22 AM

lee, how did your ute get to the states? did you import it yourself or did you find it over there? we dont even see them over here... ive seen a few of the chrysler royal wayfarers (utes) but i dont think ive seen any of the earlier chrysler corp utes... adriana :)


Actually I purchased two UTEs and had them shipped here to Iowa from Townsville Queensland AU

I have since sold the Plymouth but the Desoto stays. And I believe it is the only one in the states?
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roadkillontheweb
Posted 2010-03-13 4:54 AM (#213610 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: RE: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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Cars like these make me wonder why Chrysler never entered the light truck passenger car based market here in the states.
the rear rooflines might not look the best but the fins lend well to the bed sides and the quarters flow into the cab much better than the Sweptsides. Also the tailgates do not seem to be out of place with the style like on the sweptsides. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have a sweptside but I think the forward look styling would have went well with the whole car/truck market.



(chrysler011.jpg)



(uteb.jpg)



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(chrysler000.JPG)



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suburban61
Posted 2010-03-13 8:03 AM (#213621 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: RE: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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you must have taken them all, as i have never seen one before... here is another chrysler royal wayfarer.... i think they are great... adriana



(P1000486.jpg)



(P1000492.jpg)



(P1000058.jpg)



(1960 Chrysler Royal ute.jpg)



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john samsen
Posted 2010-03-13 8:20 AM (#213622 - in reply to #213563)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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BigBlockMopar - 2010-03-12 6:58 PM

John,
of course the fin's were a design-feature, but were some fin-designs ever put into windtunnel-testing to see if they had any postive or negative effect on highspeed car stability or roadmanners?


Before the Forward Look, fins were used on racing cars for aerodynamic stability. The idea is to have the side view center of area behind the center of gravity, as on aircraft. Many of todays finless cars are wedge shaped, and this contributes to cross wind stability.

Some European cars used fins for this reason as well as styling effect.

Chrysler engineers did test the 57 Desoto in a wind tunnel, and this gave Ex a case for functionality for the fins, which satisfied the industrial design creed "Form follows Function".



(cisitalia_202_cmm_aerodyn1.jpg)



(cisitalia_202_cmm_aerodyn_1100.jpg)



(57 Ds wind tunnel.jpg)



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john samsen
Posted 2010-03-13 8:41 AM (#213627 - in reply to #213520)
Subject: Re: Evolution in design



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JERSEYBOB - 2010-03-12 10:08 AM

John,

I was wondering, when Ex had you move the fins back, why did you change the rear edge angle? The trailing edge on your green sketch would have been a departure, and therefore evolution to the existing fins. I love the svelte lines of the 2 dr sketch. If only the production models could have portrayed that vertical to horizontal scale...


To my knowlege, no one in Ford or Chrysler design considered evolution of design. The top execs, especially C CEO Tex Colbert, believed the public wanted exciting, unique cars, and the pressure was on to make each model as different as possible. As much sheet metal was carried over for two or three years, the models in between new ones were face-lifted, which sometimes looked like an evolution, but the attempt was to make them as different as possible. There was a conscious effort to carry on an identity of make on some cars, by continuing design themes of grilles, tail lamps, etc. as in the Cadillac and Pontiac grilles, the Ford round tail lamps, etc. Chrysler did not put much emphasis on identity, except in a few cars like the C 300... BTW, I really like that black 300 even with Exner's "potty seat"!

On the reflected fin design, I first moved the upper fin back, but it had no relation to the lower design shape, so I changed the trailing edge to relate to the lower element. I (and Cliff Voss) didn't like the mod as well as the first design, but Ex kept changing it and killed it rather than go back to what I originally had.

I do like the FW Utes, and think they would have been well accepted in the USA. We designers often questioned the descisions of Chrysler management!
The styling of export models (or Canadian-built) was not done in our styling department in Highland Park, so we didn'y know much about it.

Edited by john samsen 2010-03-13 9:02 AM
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john samsen
Posted 2010-03-13 4:26 PM (#213687 - in reply to #213332)
Subject: RE: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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catman - 2010-03-11 9:48 AM

John,

Thanks for sharing. I read every post with great interest.
As an owner of a 1959 Dodge Custom Sierra, I am curious to see if you have any anecdotes and stories about station wagon development. Maybe you have sketches and pictures you can share?

Thanks.

:cool:


Sorry, Catman, but the wagons were designed in a separate studio rather remote from the carline studios, and I had little contact with the designing there. The Station Wagon manager during the '50's was Jim Huggins, and one of the designers who worked on the show wagons Plainsman and Cabana was Dave Scott. I owned several wagons, and liked that body type a lot.



(1956_CHRYSLER_PLAINSMAN 8x72.JPG)



(1958_PLYMOUTH_CABANA 8x72.JPG)



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1960DesotoAdventurer
Posted 2010-03-14 3:30 PM (#213814 - in reply to #213288)
Subject: RE: Exner, big fins, etc.



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john samsen - 2010-03-10 10:32 PM

Hi all!

So you like big fins! So did Exner; obviously, the bigger the better!

I still get a smile when I see the Chrysler with big fins. I remember when we designers saw this clay outside in the viewing area, and most of us couldn't believe it!


HAH! Thats the one I was talking about!
I saw a photo in an old magazine of Virgil Exner driving the car home from work,if I kind find it I'll post it here.
Whatever became of the car?
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1960DesotoAdventurer
Posted 2010-03-14 3:49 PM (#213816 - in reply to #213621)
Subject: RE: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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suburban61 - 2010-03-13 8:03 AM

you must have taken them all, as i have never seen one before... here is another chrysler royal wayfarer.... i think they are great... adriana :)



THESE ARE AMAZING! I had never seen or heard of the wayfarer before!,why didnt we get this model in America??
I love these much more than the sweptside because it combines the look of the Plymouth car,fins and all with the bed of a truck,much like the el camino did.
How rare are these Wayfarers? how many years were they made?
I notice there is even a photo of one that says DeSoto on the tailgate.
GREAT NOW I WANT ONE!
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1960DesotoAdventurer
Posted 2010-03-14 4:01 PM (#213818 - in reply to #213294)
Subject: RE:Exner styling



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John Samsen-[The 1960 Valiant is pure Exner. His design was used on the Karmann/Ghia VW. Most of us designers were against using "toilet seat" dummy spares and Virgil Jr. says he tried to talk Ex out of that cliche' on cars that the two Exners collaborated on, like the reincarnated Stutz, but failed. ]


Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions and give us a greater insight into what was going on in the design dept. during the Forward Look era.
Its incredible to actually be able to talk with someone that was involved with these great cars!

Unfortunately,I have to agree with you and Virgil Exner Jr. the "classic elements" like the toilet seat look out of place and awkward on these futuristic cars. To qoute Will Darnell,I guess Virgil Jr. should have "talked harder".

I have to confess I have never liked the 1960 Valiant and actually think its quite ugly to be honest. It seems mis-shapen and clunky looking,like it was left out on a hot day and melted in the sun
I never understood how that car could have sold when it was up against the beautiful full sized finned Plymouths. I know they were trying to compete with the Falcon and the Comet,but the comet was a much more attractive car.
Besides,you could have the slant 6 in a belveder in 1960 and gotten economy and style,so what was the need for the valiant?

I would be interested to know what you and the other designers thought about the Valiant at the time......am I the only one who thinks its ugly? it didnt even seem to be a Chrylser product the way it looked.



Edited by 1960DesotoAdventurer 2010-03-14 4:08 PM
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2010-03-14 5:00 PM (#213832 - in reply to #213818)
Subject: RE:Exner styling



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One must keep the Valiant in perspective with the times.

The Valiant, Comet/Falcon, and the mondo-toady Corvair were all market RESPONSES to the 1958 recession and increased market share going to the Rambler and the new Lark.
and were rushed into production to meet an emerging market. As such, it is interesting to see how each company arrived "on the scene".

Ford was the perinneal purveyor of boxy (square) bodies covered in trim to decieve the eye into thinking it was contoured. The Falcon followed this design theme, with the Mercury
playing their usual hand as Ford's more "out there" version of the same car. Besides the more pronounced fins, even the Comet was a shoebox of slab sides and vertical/horizontal
proportions.

The Corvair was a disgusting looking little turd of a car. A true leader in "WTF?" styling that would sweep fins out the door in the early 60's.

While I cannot get with the truncated proportions of the Valiant and overly sculpted body panels for such a small car, but in comparison to the rest of the market, one could argue they
at least had character. Also, unlike the rest of the competition, the Valiant got a nod from engineering and could actually whoop some serious axx out on the track. So much so, that
organized racing quickly gave up the notion of a small car class because the Valiant simply trounced all comers.

Personally, I fall to a way of designthink that embraces the "futuristic" bubble-top look (about the only ovoid shape I accept from the period) and the angular, windswept look of well
proportioned fins. For this reason, I think the 56 Dodge rules the 1st generation cars, and the 59's are just plain bass-ackwards to a sweet and clear evolution of design and sheetmetal
fashion of the times. By the time the Valiant came on the scene it was likely a situation similar to when the cackroaches go scattering when the lights come on in all the design studios
to come up with something to gracefully exit the finned "future", .... something ALL mfr's dreadfully missed the mark on. This logic probably only holds true with the unabashedly fanatic
fin fan, which I proudly carry the torch for. But for me, all cars made after 1958 were, by degrees, less and less interesting, only briefly bouyed by some of the mid-late 60's cars. But
even these boxes were a far cry from the zenith of post-war design ... the FL era. As such, how can we even compare them ? Kinda like comparing the clouds overhead with a knife
wound. Just cuz Exner was "in da house" hardly constitutes a "given" that all his oversighted ideas were good ones, or kept to the original ideal that I personally favor. I mean, given
the constraints of designing such a small car, how else could one do it better ? It still doesn't mean I like it, but in the context of the design parameters, was pretty good. If I had to
choose from the Valiant-Comet-Falcon-Corvair-Lark-Rambler field, I would have no choice but to go for the Valiant ! Add a 58 Plymouth to the equation and even the Valiant is heading
for the crusher. I deeply resent the post fin cars as the harbingers of the end of all things cool. To me, the 62 offerings were nothing but parts cars for the "obviously" favorable earlier
cars. As such, getting too nitty about the post-acme designs is an increasingly futile argument of diminishing relevance.

John,

I would be interested in your comments regarding the hierarchy of "trickle down" where form followed function, such as the increasing gov't pressure for safety bumpers, etc. and how it
effected your work. Were staff meetings held where Engineering gave Design the news that certain new things had to be made to work, and how did you feel about such "developments" ?

B.



Edited by Doctor DeSoto 2010-03-14 5:03 PM
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john samsen
Posted 2010-03-14 7:18 PM (#213849 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: Re: Valiant design



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Well, I, and a lot of designers I knew, liked the '60 Valiant. It has character, much more than the (duh) Falcon and other conpacts. I even accepted the toilet seat, as it seemed appropriate to the traditional Exner look, but liked the Dart rear better. I especially liked the Valiant wagon. I have always been partial to small cars, especially sports cars, and good handling is a must for me- something that most big cars of the '50's and '60's didn't have. The Valiant was not an exciting looking car, but looked solid and the styling held together as a whole.

I also liked the Corvair Monza converts, probably because they were small and innovative.

Inputs from Engineering and other departments were given to styling management, then passed down to the designers. Often we had to make changes that hurt our designs, but we had to go along with them. Usually we could see some value in the directives, but sometimes the changes were just for personal ideas if higher management people. Big Jim Zeder, VP of Engineering, sent down a directive to have all rear bumpers extend x-many inches behind and along side all sheet metal. Mrs. Zeder backed their Imperial out a long driveway that curved because of a tree. She continually managed to hit the tree with the rear bumper, and did some damage to the rear quarter. The gov't. mandated safety rules seemed reasonable to me, and I had no problem working with them. I did resent the mandate for air bags- I thought a better and cheaper safety idea was to have sharp blades in the panel and overhead that would intimidate drivers and make them careful!

We had engineering people in the studio often to advise as to if our shapes could be stamped, and what various designs would cost. We also had permanent studio engineers to work out door openings, window drops, etc. They acted as liason with Engineering, and often helped convince Engineering that designs would work. The inputs we most resented were from Product Planning, which always seemed to hold back innovative concepts. In time, product planning became very powerful, which is why many of today's cars look so similar. Evidently product planners convinced the companies that the public preferred "happy mouth" grilles, and almost all makes for the last fifteen years have variations of the same grille shape. Gone is grille identity.
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john samsen
Posted 2010-03-14 7:45 PM (#213853 - in reply to #213296)
Subject: RE: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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roadkillontheweb - 2010-03-10 11:30 PM

I am sure this is a long shot but do you think you could identify these two guys making the clay mock up for the 1958 Plymouth Fury JR?


I remember both modelers, and I'm waiting for my long-term memory to come up with the names. The fellow with the glasses is, I'm pretty sure, Paul.

I'll let you know when I have the names.

John
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2010-03-14 7:48 PM (#213854 - in reply to #213849)
Subject: Re: Valiant design



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john samsen - 2010-03-15 4:18 PM

I did resent the mandate for air bags- I thought a better and cheaper safety idea was to have sharp blades in the panel and overhead that would intimidate drivers and make them careful!



************************************

Hehehehe! ..... my kind of thinking !
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1960DesotoAdventurer
Posted 2010-03-14 7:51 PM (#213855 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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Doctor Desoto wrote "But for me, all cars made after 1958 were, by degrees, less and less interesting"

Whats your opinion of the 1959 Buick? In my opinion thats the most beautiful GM car ever made and it came late in the game.

I agree with what you say about cars after the fins were removed,and I understand about that Chrysler was trying to compete with the Lark,comet,rambler,corvair,etc,but still personally dont see how a company that came up with the "Suddenly its 1960!" cars couldnt think up something sleeker (and more finned) than the Valiant.
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1960DesotoAdventurer
Posted 2010-03-14 7:55 PM (#213858 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: Re: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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"Big Jim Zeder, VP of Engineering, sent down a directive to have all rear bumpers extend x-many inches behind and along side all sheet metal. Mrs. Zeder backed their Imperial out a long driveway that curved because of a tree. She continually managed to hit the tree with the rear bumper, and did some damage to the rear quarter."

Would'nt it have been easier and cheaper to either A.send Mrs.Zeder to driving school or B.Move the tree?
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2010-03-14 7:59 PM (#213859 - in reply to #213849)
Subject: Re: Valiant design



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john samsen - 2010-03-15 4:18 PM

I also liked the Corvair Monza converts, probably because they were small and innovative.

.


**************************

Better be careful what I ask for here (might awaken the Corvair demons! ), but when did the Monza first come out ?
Was it built on the early (toady) body, or only the later, sleeker bodies ?

I have had the fate ? misfortune ? of driving a few of these over the years. Several of my friends thought they were the bee's knees
and put up with their looks and mechanical problems. One was turbo/supercharged and went pretty good. They handled well enough,
although the whole Ralph Nader/oversteer problem was always in the back of my head when I pushed it. While the later ones looked
vastly better than the early ones, they never achieved a level that interested me. When there is a 57 New Yorker to be worked on,
driven, looked at, ... who gives a rip about a stupid Corvair ?

I did find the rather rare Corvair wagon to be such an oddity it ranked on my "cool" list.
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ripperace
Posted 2010-03-15 5:34 AM (#213920 - in reply to #212346)
Subject: RE: Mopar Styling info, 2010 Carlisle heads-up



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This is a very interesting thread. I love getting to read and see stories and pics from the past involving cars. Especially these cars. Thanks to John for sharing with us and giving insight into the design department.

Ripper
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