JOHN TELNACK
2016 Inductee

John J. “Jack” Telnack grew up within walking distance of Ford’s sprawling Dearborn facilities. As a youngster, he peered over the Ford proving ground walls to sketch the latest models. Shortly after graduating in 1958 from California’s Art Center for Design, Telnack landed a job at Ford. Within a few years, he was working for Joe Oros on wheel covers and fastback designs for Ford’s new sporty car, the Mustang.

After a stint as chief designer for Ford of Australia, Telnack returned to the U.S. in 1969 to take charge of the Mustang studio just in time to influence the 1971 Mustang. Telnack continued his rise through the company by spending two years heading up Ford of Europe’s design department, where he worked with the aerodynamic Sierra. He returned to the U.S. in 1976 as executive director of Light Car and Truck Design. Sketches and models for the 1979 Mustang were well underway, most of them similar to the Fairmont, but Telnack’s studio produced a design that was radically different. Instead of slab-sides with a flat nose, Telnack proposed a more European look. With a few tweaks, it became the 1979 Mustang and the most aerodynamic Mustang ever produced.

With the success of the 1979 Mustang, Telnack was promoted to Ford’s global vice-president of Design in 1980, where he continued to develop his aerodynamic style by producing cars like the 1983 Thunderbird and 1986 Taurus.m