The Man behind the Pony & More - Phil Clark
© Holly Clark , Wolfgang Kohrn - 2005, Last update September 6th, 2010


What the Capri was before the arrival of sb. that had a vision in design. John Fallis worked in the UK on this Saxon called project.
Picture Ford Media Design studies as of 1961

The Mustang I was shown at the IAA in Frankfurt/Germany in 1963 as a teaser and eyecatcher. It was actually driven around Europe as a promotion of Fords new sportscar direction. Asked about its future Ford Germanys Chief designer Hans Muth said it would be too expensive for a serial production. (Source Markt 4/1987 Capri History article) 

Don Creed is taking the credit for having sketched ths design 
Picture Archive Matthias Neumann/Capri club

One of the other "american designs"
Picture Archive Matthias Neumann/Capri club

Another visionary concept car - a rendering produced in the UK
Picture Archive Matthias Neumann/Capri club

One of the  competing car from Ford Cologne - the Ford Special concept car (1964), finally killed in favour of an "american idea"
Picture Archive Matthias Neumann/Capri club

The Taunus GT from Ford Cologne was finally killed.
Pics courtesy Markt 1984/archived by Matthias Neumann

We are soon diving into more details about the accurate timeline and Phils  design. 

Another of Phils Capri clay models showed two different styling ideas for the roofline and rear. Look at the right side and think forward a few years in Ford design history. Have you seen this on other Fords coming after the Mustang? You'll be the judge.




Don Creed takes the credit for this design below, but we are in touch with a few from this group to find out more about Phils influence.

Picture Archive Matthias Neumann/Capri club

The Capri being modelled in clay 
Picture Archive Matthias Neumann/Capri club

Capris arriving in the US after being shipped from Europe.
Coypright Wayne University 2004

Phil Clark's career did not end with his jobs on the Mustang I and his work in the Lincoln-Mercury Studio, there is much more that he influenced in the automotive world of Ford, when he went to England

Those that have followed the case up to now, might be surprised to read more about the further influence of Phil Clark during his stay in Europe. Paging through his notebooks brought up even more interesting facts about this talented Ponymaker, Mustang I designer and Mustang name creator - his possible influence on  the Ford Europe and  Capri Design and even later Mustangs?

As we learned Phil Clark left the Lincoln-Mercury Design Studio at Ford Motor Company in February 1965 to start work at the Ford UK Essex based Design Center for Europe. 
John Fallis came over to the US to offer Phil a job.

Phil worked as Head of Design with 4 stylists and 14 modellers supervising mainly the Anglia and Cortina projects and had obviously a dominant role in the first ever real VAN - the Transit Camper van. 

One of the stylists working under Phil Clark was Fritz Mayhew. Phil Clark was also linked up with Designer Hans A. Muth at Ford Cologne/Germany for close cooperation. 
Fritz Mayhew later went back to the US to become Head of North America Design and directed the development of the Ford Mustang II (Design project started in 1968 based on the european (and LM) Capri design in 1968. The final Mustang II actually was finished by Dick Nesbitt ). 

Designer Hans A. Muth went - after having been at Ford Cologne for a certain time - to Ford in the U.S. When he came back, he brought a Mustang with him. "I had quite some trouble to park it on my Chief Designer parking place near the Studios in Cologne" Hans told us.

Hans A. Muth is not an unknown designer in the Design world today. He has become famous for his later Suzuki Katana GSX-R and in the 90ies for his famous Mazda MX5 (Miata). Diving into this network of 1965-1968 friendships and colleague relations reveals some interesting history bits. The Ford UK Design center was closely knitted to Ford Cologne and intially the transatlantic influence a much desired flavour to be added. 

Some of the Ford Cologne designers worked in the UK center as well for a time period - there are several congratulations mentioned in Phils notes - being done on Phils job. 

Obviously he was able to develop a car at Ford UK completely on his own! Similar letters talk about the concept car from Ford UK called Ford GBX or Colt. Now what does this Ford GBX look like in mid 1965.

Early Ford GBX Colt Hardtop variation 1965
Ford GBX Colt Fastback approved July 14th.
1965 for further development by Uwe Bahnsen, who is today still consultant to Ford Europe.

The Ford GBX Colt Fastback ultimately led - with only minor changes in the rear window area to the Ford Capri - the European Mustang - sold in millions in Europe, introduced in 1968 to the market. 

We were still investigating the background about Phils involvement in the making of the Capri. Holly digged deep in the treasures and transferred these pics to us that carry a note of "Phils model" on them.

Phil was obviously fighting hard for his Capri designs, presented to the decision makers already in late 64 or early 1965. All Ford Europe history books mention the controversial viewpoints on several design issues and the final merging of Ford UK and Ford Germany in the "Red Cap" program..

Phil wrote in his notes already about a jellybean design -  at this time ! - a phrase that was put on the wall later in the US again. Remember that became a design direction for the Mustang II at a much later stage. At this time when Phil brought it up they simply could not be done by engineering.

If you don't believe that look again at the  Dick Nesbitt site and look there into the gallery to find a similar GBX based design in the upper right corner of early concept pics with the same shape of rear side window. 

There seems to be a very logical sequence, wait for the facts in Hollys books to come. We are still researching the accurate story with the help of some colleagues from the UK Design studios. 
 More details, background stories, designs, plus photos out of Phils boxes from his daughter Holly in the near future. 

Make sure you revisit this site, since we'll keep you updated on Hollies research.

The Ford GBX prototype as of April, 18th., 1966   Picture Archive Matthias Neumann/Capri club

The final Ford Capri, sold in millions. Phil Clark was right there at the heartbeat with a more advanced development. 

As of September 6th., 2010 Phil Clark was inducted into the Ford Capri Hall of Fame from the Ford Capri North America Club.

  Ford Stylist & Designer Phil Clark Inducted Into Hall Of Fame

 Phil Clark, born in Iowa and raised in Nashville TN, was the chief exterior stylist of the European Ford Capri Mk1, 1969-1974.

 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. 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.

 Clark graduated from the Pasadena CA Art Center College Of Design in 1958. He worked at GM immediately afterwards, until 1962 when he went to Ford in Dearborn working for the legendary chief Gene Bordinat. There he worked as a stylist for Lincoln-Mercury in the Design Center. He was involved in the Mustang I concept car of 1962, and created the iconic "Galloping Horse" Mustang logo used on the concept and production Mustangs ever since.

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. 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.

Clark died in 1968 at age 32 of kidney failure. His daughter Holly Clark, two years old at the time of his death, has since reconstructed much of Phil Clark's career from his surviving art folios, Ford Motor Company research (courtesy of Bill Ford, J Mays, and Jack Telnack), and Clark's former work associates at Ford.

Contact: Norm Murdock, Executive, Ford Capri Hall Of Fame,

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