Ford Libre' Concept

Ford Libre' Concept

The Libre' concept launched at the 1998 Chicago Auto show although largely unnoticed, this fun-to-drive, quad door concept had the potential to become a cult classic. At the time I owned a Miata and wished we could fit the whole family in it at the same time. My solution was simple: build a four place sporty car. The Libre' was the perfect answer to this problem...and then some!

Ford Libre' Concept

Ford Libre' Concept

We built the Libre' in a record six months at "Special Projects Inc." in Plymouth, Mi., our concept shop of choice. It was a "runner" built on a Ford Fiesta platform.

Ford Libre' Concept

Ford Libre' Concept

As with any project, there were timing and budget constraints and Libre' was no different, the original concept was to build the car as a proper "Phaeton"+ Targa construction whereby either the front or rear passengers could independently ride open air or closed cabin with the addition of a centrally collapsable roll bar.

Ford Libre' Concept

Ford Libre' Concept

The interior was primarily designed by Walid Saba, another Art Center alumni, he, the late John Hartnell & I all had a hand in working on different components on the interior. The main theme was to create a minimalistic interior like that of the Porsche 550 spyder with exposed structural components. The seat pleating was inspired by 70's Ferrari seats. The painted interior panels were also a throwback to vintage motor cars.

Ford Libre' Concept

Ford Libre' Concept

This is a photoshop sketch made over the di-noc'd the full size model to have a sneek peek at what the entire car would eventually look like once assembled. The background was a captured photo of the Oakley headquarters in Irvine, Ca.

LibreRR34SketchWeb.jpg

LibreRR34SketchWeb.jpg

This photoshop sketch I drew was taken from a painted fiberglass hull of the model and I added details to visualize the completed concept car. This layout illustrates that the Libre' was strictly a four place car. Note the translucent tail lamps, a first, as no one had sculpted rear projector lamps yet. Also please note the egg crate lower fascia echoing the front with two stout exhaust tips protruding outward.

LibreTeamPhotoWeb.jpg

LibreTeamPhotoWeb.jpg

This team photo shows yours truly on the left (I was the exterior lead designer), and to the right, our chief: John Dowdy, (who also worked on the original Miata team), to his immediate left: the late John Hartnell (John's Assistant chief, and to Dowdy's immediate left: Walid Saba, interior lead designer.In the red shirt: Joe Bonachhi, master sculptor, and in the center: KennyYannis, owner of Special Projects Inc. & the rest of the engineering & fabricating team.

Ford Libre' Concept

Ford Libre' Concept

Another angle of placing tape shut lines on the model. Note the foam core egg crate I fabricated on the lower fascia. Also note several of Walid's and my sketches for the Libre', there were hundreds of drawings to complete this and every projects. I wish I could share them all but they all end up in the Ford library of show cars past somewhere...

Ford Libre' Concept

Ford Libre' Concept

Placing tape lines on the deck lid to indicate where the cut lines go. Also note the modeling in progress of rear projector lamps that echoed the form vocabulary at the front of the car.

Ford Libre' Concept

Ford Libre' Concept

I hand mocked-up the front egg crate grill by interlocking the horizontal blades with the vertical ones from quarter inch foamcore...good thing I learned all about mocking up egg crate grills previously in the Cadillac studio!