by Dick Nesbitt
I worked with George Barbaz in the Lincoln-Mercury Advanced Design Studio during 1973. George was the “Senior” member of our studio, having started as a designer with Ford in 1945 after serving in the army infantry during World War II. He was of Hungarian descent, and had a great sense of humor, and very definite opinions on just about everything.
His career at Ford included participation in the design of a proposed 1949 Lincoln Continental and the 1949 Presidential Lincoln. Later, George contributed to the XL-500 “Dream Car” design and managed pre-production styling development of the controversial1958 Edsel.
An unusual and interesting assignment was the “lavish” exterior trim ornamentation George helped design for several Canadian Meteors and Monarchs.
One of his assignments I was especially interested in was his participation in the “Quicksilver” advanced design project. The Quicksilver became the radical, all-new 1960 full-size Ford, designed as a response to the really far-out 1959 Chevrolet.
It turned out the 1959 Chevrolet was not well received, and the angular, very conservative 1959 Ford outsold Chevrolet for only the second time since 1935. George said that when Ford’s “G-2″ spyguys got advance drawings of the 1959 Chevrolet, they first thought they had been found out and had deliberately been given this information as “misinformation!” Other talents George enjoyed sharing were caricature and cartoon drawing he excelled at. George was a pleasure to work with and he retired in 1981.