Mustang Designer John J. “Jack” Telnack

Mustang Designer John J. “Jack” Telnack

1979 Ford Mustang

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When you see a classic Mustang cruising down the roadways you see an entity that seems to exist autonomously. The driver is at the helm, but the vehicle seems to be an independent piece of machinery.

You know that it was assembled in a factory, but you can sometimes lose sight of the fact that human beings with specific artistic and engineering ideas had to spearhead design projects.

Ford MustangAlthough there are few names that have risen to the surface over the years such as that of people like Harley Earl, Virgil Exner, Carroll Shelby, Bill Mitchell and John DeLorean, in a lot of cases automotive designers work behind the scenes and get very little glory.

However, true classic car fans dig in and scratch the surface to find out who they have to thank for their favorite collectible motor vehicles.

With the above in mind, fans of classic Mustangs should be aware of the name John J. “Jack” Telnack. Telnack started out as an employee of the company back in 1958 and worked for Ford as part of the design team for nearly four decades, and he had a lot to do with the Mustang from its inception.

Like anyone else he rose through the ranks, and many would say the culmination of his life’s work to that point was the design of the 1979 Ford Mustang. Telnack had spent much of the previous four years in Europe as a design vice president, and he brought back some of the European styling ideas and implemented them in the 1979 Mustang.

Ford Mustang“It was such a departure from anything we were doing here,” said Telnack when asked about the car by the Consumer Guide, “It had the first slantback front end we had done in Ford U.S.”

Without question,  classic Mustang fans certainly owe a debt of gratitude to the often overlooked designer Jack Telnack, a man who devoted his professional career to the Ford brand.

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