Monday, January 2, 2017

1955 Ford Mystere Show Car

One mid-1950s Ford show car that I've never liked was the 1955 Mystere.  The name might have been inspired by the French Dassault Mystère jet fighter that first flew in 1951.  Moreover, its ornamentation includes several jet fighter motifs, as we shall see below.

The Mystere falls into the dream car / flashy concept category.  That's because it was almost entirely impractical and, with the exception of the tail fin color scheme treatment, was not predictive of future production Fords.


1955 Ford
To set the scene, here are views of 1955-57 Fords featuring the J-shaped side trim theme also found on the Mystere.  It first appeared for the '55 model year.

1956 Ford
This is the 1956 version.  It's a bit more gracefully shaped than the 1955 version, but still is rather awkward.

1957 Ford
The best version of the theme was on '57 Fords where the aft part blends with the tail fin.  We see this on the Mystere.

General view of the 1955 Mystere dream car.  Its three-tone color scheme colors are similar to those found on 1955 production Fords.  It seems that the entire roof dome was hinged at the rear to allow it to be pivoted upward to allow passenger ingress and egress.  The air vent at the top is the only source of passenger compartment ventilation.

Note this early application of those awful quad headlights that began appearing on 1957 American cars.  Otherwise, the front design is fairly clean and sensible.  The rear fender area with the side air intake and tail fins is jet-fighter inspired as was much American car ornamentation in those days.  The intake looks functional, but I can't tell for sure from the photos.

Side view with a group of what are probably stylists involved in the Mystere project.  That's Alex Tremulis at the far right.  The color separation side trim is awkward and does not enhance the car's appearance.  It does relate to the trim on top-of-the-line '55 Fords and previews the link to canted tail fins that appeared for 1957.  The placement of the passenger compartment seems too far forward.  One reason for that is that the engine (which the Mystere actually lacked) would have been placed at the rear.

Rear view showing the jet fighter theme of fins and jet exhausts.

Color view of the rear along with a model to provide scale.

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