The success of Ford's aerodynamic design movement of the early 1980s has a lot of fathers, but one was surely Uwe Bahnsen, the former Ford of Europe styling boss who died July 30 at age 83.
The Hamburg native, who began as an apprentice window dresser, oversaw the design of the landmark 1982 Ford Sierra and the 1985 Scorpio. Both were sold in the United States under the short-lived Merkur brand, and their "aero" look was mirrored by the first-generation Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable. They were controversial at the time but are considered milestones today.
Bahnsen helped create several key Ford models during his 28 years with Ford. He started by helping chief designer Wes Dahlberg with the 1960 Taunus P3, a car renowned in Germany as the "Bathtub."
He also led styling work on the European-market 1973 Capri II and the 1975 Escort II.
After retiring from Ford in 1986, Bahnsen joined the Art Center of Design's European branch in Vevey, Switzerland. He was director of the school until 1995.