Last November, Jack Telnack told his wife that he wanted to do a little market research.
So he drove the black 2002 Thunderbird he had purchased a few days before Thanksgiving from their home in Stuart, Fla., about an hour south to Palm Beach. The plan: lunch at Breakers Hotel, shop on Worth Avenue and gauge the reaction to the T-Bird.
After a short time shopping, Telnack returned and found a crowd around the car. "That to me is market research," the 65-year-old Telnack said. "That tells you if you have a winner. I never had a car with this reaction. It made me feel good."
Telnack, Ford Motor Co.'s former vice president of corporate design, produced a string of winners during a nearly 40-year career at the automaker. His portfolio includes trend-setting vehicles such as the first Ford Fiesta, 1979 Mustang, 1983 Thunderbird, 1986 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable, 1996 Ford Ka, 1997 F-150 pickup, and the 2002 Thunderbird. And though he retired to Florida four years ago and spends much of his time on his 50-foot sport fishing boat, the car business remains a part of Telnack's life.