It's flattering to be called the father of the minivan. But Hal Sperlich says there's more to his career.
Although Ford Motor Co. missed opportunities with minivans and front-wheel-drive vehicles, Sperlich, 73, remembers the company as having a knack and willingness for innovation.
Sperlich should know. He spent 20 years at Ford before being fired in 1976 and moving to Chrysler Corp. in 1977.
It was at Ford that Sperlich conjured up the minivan. Even though Henry Ford II rebuffed that idea, Sperlich made significant contributions at Ford.
Sperlich led development of he Mustang; the Fiesta, Ford's first transverse front-drive car; and the Fox and Panther programs, platforms that were the basis for Ford's mid-sized, full-sized and luxury cars during much of the 1970s and 1980s.
Sperlich was a casualty of the bitter dispute between Ford President Lee Iacocca and Henry Ford II. He spoke with Ralph Kisiel.