A One-Off Falcon Grille
Samuel Von Brock is a former Ford Motor Company Stylist who created the linear sculpturing design concept, which was further utilized and developed by the Ford Styling Studio. It went forward to anchor the final production design of the second-generation Falcon line of automobiles and automotive products. Now a retired industrial designer, Samuel is still involved in the design of a variety of products. “Automobiles have always been the most challenging and enjoyable to create.” Putting his skills to work, he now has designed a more aggressive one-off grille, fabricated and installed on his 1964 Futura convertible. He attended and graduated from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena. The major Auto Corporations came to Pasadena to interview and hire graduating designers. After graduating in the early 60s, he was assigned to the Pre-Production Styling Studio within the Dearborn Ford Styling Center. There he began his career developing styling designs for future Ford production automobiles. “During this assignment, J. R. Halderman, head of the Ford Division Styling Studio, toured our studio and —unknown to us—kept one of my sketch proposals featuring a highly sculptured, thrusting linear body concept. This sketch—not noticed at the time—was taken to the Ford Styling studio for evaluation and further design development, and ultimately became the design anchor for the final development and ultimate production of the second generation of Ford Falcons.“
“A totally restyled concept, featuring crisp, tailored lines, created a more sporting image for the Falcon and resulted in contributing to the production of nearly one million Falcons in a two-year period—a record only to be exceeded by the introduction of the highly successful Mustang also during the 60s.”
J. R. Halderman is the acknowledged designer of the original Mustang, as well as the ‘64 Falcon. “Considering this Falcon to arguably be the best design of the Falcon line of Ford automotive products, I believe that he should also be recognized by the Falcon Club of America for this accomplishment.”
Reflecting on the styling and design trends during this era of the 60s, his recent grille design used a design proposal which could have been on the initial introduction of the ‘64 Falcon line, or later on the ‘65s. “This design added to the aggressiveness and thrust established within the existing sculptured body lines and presented a total design unity, further establishing what is called “design integrity”—always desired in the design of highly successful automotive product lines.”
Mr. Von Brock adds, “We worked with very proficient modelers to develop full-size clay models of our design proposals, and apply a stretchable color film over the clay to create a very realistic automobile design. While computers accomplish a lot, it still requires a full-size example for final decisions to be made. Sometimes a fiberglass battery-powered model is fabricated to travel around outdoors to catch the contours of the proposal in a variety of realistic settings.”
He worked with great people like Alex Tremulis,
who is known for his work at Duessenberg and Tucker Automobile, Syd Mead, a Futurist designer for Blade Runner movie and unique illustrator, Jack Telnack, a friend who later became VP of Ford Styling. He worked with William Clay Ford on a project developing a convertible folding glass rear window on the Classic Continental line.
Expecting future assignment to the Ford Styling Studio, he continued to create additional design proposals—including this aggressive grille—but further opportunity for the final selection of a final production grille was pre-empted by his assignment to the Lincoln-Mercury Styling studio for involvement in the final design and development of the ‘65 Mercury Comet.
Mr. Von Brock joined Chrysler in the mid-60s, working within design staff of Elwood Engle, VP Chrysler Styling, in the design and development of the ‘68 Plymouth Fury product line. He obtained a Master’s Degree in Industrial Design, and later left Chrysler to join faculty of Ohio University as Asst. Professor of Design and Head of Industrial Design Department. He also returned to Industry as Design Manager for various companies.
— Samuel Von Brock (FCA #15362)
Gulf Breeze, Florida
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