- Written by webmin
The Ford Capri oozed just the kind of image and style that appealed to buyers in late-1960s Europe. More than 200,000 were sold in the first year alone, thanks in no small part to the coupe’s classic long-nose, short-deck styling. But the identity of the stylist responsible for the car’s lines has been an enduring mystery – until recently.
The credit belongs to Phil Clark, an Iowa native who graduated from the Pasadena Art Center College Of Design in 1958, and went to work for Ford in 1962. Clark is known as the designer of the Mustang’s galloping-horse logo, among other designs, but was only positively linked to the Capri after his daughter, Holly Clark, began piecing together his surviving art folios. Holly was 2 years old in 1968 when her father died of kidney failure at the age of 32.
“Code-named GBX, his drawings and clay models for Project ‘Colt,’ the name given to Capri preproduction planning within Ford, range from 1964 through 1966,” said Norm Murdock, executive of the Ford Capri Hall of Fame, which inducted Clark earlier this month when the news came to light. “Early Clark renderings show nearly all the classical Capri hallmarks: Long hood, short rear deck, fastback pillars with notchback rear window, squared-off rear quarter, upswept front valence, dramatic side crease, etc.
“In February 1964, Clark was transferred to Ford of England’s Research & Engineering Center in Essex, working for John Fallis and Roy Haynes in Design, and Stan Gillen, the American CEO of Ford of Britain,” Norm said. “There, Clark worked on many other projects in exterior design such as the Ford Transit and the Zodiac-Zephyr. He also contributed to designs coming out of the Merkenich studios of Ford of Germany, run by Uwe Bahnsen, and later Hans Muth.”
The Mk I Capri, as it came to be known, was imported to the United States from Germany and England from 1970 to 1977, and was sold in Mercury dealerships.