The Mustang I Designer and Corvette teammember- Phil Clark
© Holly Clark , Wolfgang Kohrn - 2005, Last update January 2013


One of the Designs out of Phil Clarks portfolio from the Art Center School of Design.
Obviously Phil had developped some really advanced ideas

Holly has a stack of original GM Mustang designs in the portfolio. Paul Tasteos and a number of other class mates confirm that Phil promoted his Mustang idea throughout the Art Center Design School and in his portfolio for GM. 

Phil was initially a Corvair enthusiasts. Here are two of his Corvairs. One is a 62 Roadster, while the other a 62 or 63 coupe.
The black convertible is the first off the line. Phil asked for it at GM and got it. At the time of the pic he was already working at Ford.

Below is Bob H. Corvair Monza pictured in the backround. This one is reported to have appeared in a Mustang concept car picture from the Ford Studios, since they needed one for a comparison and Phil could help out with Bob's car. Bob was a designer at GM.
Both the Mustang concept car and Bobs Corvair are pictured in Gary Witzenburgs Mustang Documentation, that we can only quote and recommend so often.

Holly would like to find those 2 cars. 
If you know about their whereabouts, pls. let us know the VIN and Holly could confirm it
















Compare yourself Phil Clark working on a Lincoln_Mercury design and then look at the ear and head of the guy on the right in the GM pic.......


but then.....Dave Newell (Corvair Historian) is sure about his research on  this GM studio pic on the right:

Acc. to that the studio pictured here was a mock-up studio that was set-up by GM for the colour shots done by Len Bailey, the photographer working as a freelancer for the TIMES. This is the body studio. 

Acc. to Daves interview with Larry Shinoda, the guy at the desk at the lower bottom is Emil Zowata (or similar spelling). It's an early 1964 shot.

Thanks to Dave for this very interesting insight.

We'd like to accurately date this pic, therefore one indication might be the Sports Car Graphic issue lying on the desk under the drawings. 

We have searched on the web, but not yet found this issue with the red letters.
Anybody who has this issue with the red SCG logo on the top might contact us. It should then be one of the Jan - March 1964 issues. Please help.

We are not oblivious to the truth, whatever it might be, so anybody who'd like to add to the history  with some proof, is invited to join the research.

Phils Design career started at GM before he went to Ford and he went back in 1966 with Corvette designs in 1966 (as a freelancer) for Larry Shinoda
The Mystery about the GM Mustang might get finally solved

Phil was hired out of  the Art Center Design School from a GM exec to work on the 1964 FUTURAMA cars for the New York World Show. Chuck Jordan confirmed that this was a common procedure back then. 
The designers themselves were not present, when the GM execs checked out the School class presentation.

Phils portfolio with outstanding designs found immediate admirers in the GM jury. Holly has this portfolio still in her posession and Ponysite is proud to have the permission to publish a few of them in the oncoming month. You'll see the whole portfolio in her second book out in late 2006 or early 2007.

Phil joined GM together with some classmates - which exceeded meanwhile to a high level in the auto companies. After the time limited job was done, he was overtaken into GM Special Designs. He stayed for about 8 or 9 month working for GM  from mid 1961 to March 1962.
The tracing back of the Mustang name and first studies leads through these studios back to the Art Center School of Design, where Clark promoted.

Is this the Design that was turned into the GM Mustang, a prototype created by the Special Designs Studio for Bill Mitchell?
The prototype was confirmed by Chuck Jordan, however after GM heared about the Ford project around May 1962, they stopped this one. We have yet to assume that this GM protype might have been the Corvair based Super Spyder.

Note the letters on the hood in this early 1961 design from Phil Clark.  (Detail shot will be in Hollys book)

Since Phil worked in the GM studio with Larry Shinoda at that time, we've yet to guess around, who did what and where the ideas came from, but more bits of the GM part of Phil Clarks life are currently pieced together. Remember this design was in Phils portfolio, when he did have no clue of the Monza Spyder or Corvair studies!

Let's dive a bit into the GM Special Design studio 

What we assumed so far seeing this pic in Phil Clarks personal belongings:

In this shot (acc. to a note on the original pic in Phils Archive early 1962 (but Jan-March 1964  acc. to Corvair historian Dave Newell and the Times editorial), you see a person drawing designs on the lower bottom. The Clarkf family and several colleagues believe this is Phil Clark himself. 
Larry Shinoda however told Dave Newell in an interview back then that it was Emil Zowata. Seeing this picture, Phils colleagues said, Emil looked very much different than this person and state that this must be Phil indeed.....

We are looking for more eye-witnesses or a proof to verify the exact date of this shot and the person in this photo. There are several indications that could proof this pic to be either way, a mock-up studio shot or a true shot with Phil Clarks personal pastells and things identfied on this desk. It's logical that a real 64 studio shot was not published in the Times, so it could have been a 62 shot or an early 64 mock-up shot. There must be some more eye witnesses out there.

Larry Shinoda was a GM designer from 1956-1968 working together with Anatole Lapine (later a famous Porsche Designer) and L.W. Johnson plus obviously Phil Clark and Emil Zowata.

"Dave Newell told me.. that Larry Shinoda actually sat Emile Zowata at HIS desk (the one where 'dad' is).. in front of HIS drawings.. So Larry said..those are HIS drawings..... The drawing in front of the designer became the Corvette in 1967, as Gary Witzenburg confirmed to me". Holly

In the rear you see the Monza GT produced for the New York Auto Show 1962 and the Monza SS Spyder at the right bottom. Aside from the 1964 Futurama cars, the Special Design studio team worked on several experimental cars and the Corvair studies.
As said confirmed by several indications, testimonials and acc. to Clarks family this pic out of the GM Studio shows most probably Phil Clark at the bottom left. However we have to believe in Dave Newells longterm research until we find the real proof.
This picture was in Phils personal belongings, so it must have had some importance to him and some of the designs seem to resemble the designs that Phil had in his portfolio. You'll be the judge after reading Hollys second book, where these designs came originally from. Unfortunately we can't go back to Larry to ask him, but we have hope to find some more genuine GM people. Emile Zowata (or similar spelling) has passed as well unfortunately.

Ever since the mid 50ies Designers working in the GM styling studio had some tendency to change over to Ford Advanced Studios, and so did Phil Clark and so did Larry Shinoda, Peter Brock as many others before them. 

Update Jan. 2013:
When the 60th Anniversary Corvette book was published - we found out that Phil Clark indeed returned to GM with his designs in 1966. How he passed his designs to GM - directly or through his friend Larry Shinoda is unclear yet, but as a freelancer at that time, it is logical that he worked for both - Ford and GM or let's say ... for his friends there. The fact that Ford did register the Pony logo very late in the 90ies is a clear indication that they had forgotten something back then - just after they found out, that Phil Clark indeed did much more than being an employee for some month. Since he was not accepted for a permanent contract due to his illness, he worked as a freelancer for both "parties". 

This is a design that appears from the GM historic archives. The caption in the 60th Anniversary Corvette book clearly states this as a Phil Clark design (visible is his signature at the right bottom).

The picture is dated 9-12-66 from a Madler (photographer of GM) and falls into the era of many a XP-__ design of GM for the oncoming Corvette designs.

Hiring stylists out of the GM studio was quite a preferred habit as John Najjar himself puts it in his interview with the Ford Benson Research Center. 

Pictures Markt
Note the signature scoops on the Monza GT, the fastback style fake air vents. 
While the scoop style element that might have originated in the earlier pre-57 luxury cars with their airconditioning systems,  it was definitely reused on the 67 Mustang and later german Capri. 

For Phil Clark those played a major role in his designs as well. We are researching this design element through the years. 

When Phil left GM, he drove a black Corvair Spyder with red interior, when he was at Ford he still drove a Corvair Coupe for quite some time. His Corvair was used in the comparison with one of the Mustang prototypes within the Design centre, as his colleagues recall. 

Phil Clark was deeply involved later in 1965 in Europe in the design of the Ford GBX that lead to the european hot seller Ford Capri.  Read on the separate site here about the American design that influenced the Capri in Europe and killed the german Taunus GT in favour of the side-scooped Capri. 

Now you may see the missing link in all these designs. Do you?  

Further interesting info about the visible cars in the above GM studio pic shown later at the New York Autoshow 1962.: Corvairs, Monza Spyder and Monza GT   
Check out the Super Spyder prototype there unwrapped in 1962!


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