Ford's concept car archive now online

Last week I stumbled on some automotive news that Ford released their entire library of concept cars going back to the 1950s. It's a simple site that lets you search and if you put in Ford model names of popular cars, you'll be rewarded with weird concepts throughout the years.

Most outlets I saw mentioning this focused mainly on odd jet-age 1950s and 1960s cars, but today I decided to research my own hunch about a current model Ford Maverick.

I love small trucks and my first two cars were both 1980s mini-trucks, so when Ford announced a new compact pickup a couple years ago, I immediately got on the pre-order list and bought my first American car ever in early 2022. The photo above is the mockup from my pre-order (the color ended up being way less metallic and totally looks like a school bus yellow truck).

Back around 2000, I religiously read design magazines like Communication Arts, and I remember them doing annual design awards that sometimes mentioned cars.

I remembered that artist and furniture designer Marc Newsom once made a quirky city car for Ford that was never produced, but the interior was very orange and clean and Wes Anderson-y looking on the outside and it sat in the back of my mind whenever I got into the Maverick and looked at the interior where every surface you touch outside of driving has an orange color applied. Here's what the 2022 Ford Maverick looks like inside:

So I popped onto the Ford Heritage site and did some searches until I found Marc Newsom's concept, which has the codename Ford Europe 021C. If you run a search for it, you get all their archived photos of the car:

I remember the cool trunk designed like a drawer you pulled out and the interior and I can't say for sure that design cues from this 1999 concept ended up in the 2022 Ford Maverick, but they certainly remind me of it.

Next, I noticed my Maverick, though roomy inside with a big cabin (a feeling I get from the low seating position) has short side windows, kind of like a Chrysler 300.

I remembered another old Ford concept for a early 2000s Ford Bronco that was hardened for the city, it was like a Ford Bronco mixed with a armored truck and I remember it looking really tough and having a safe door for the rear, so I jumped on the Ford site to search and found its codename Ford Bronco MS15.

Again, not an exact lifting of any features between this concept and the new truck, but there certainly are design cues that remind me of the Maverick inside and out (as well as the new Broncos).

Ford Bronco Concept.

Anyway, I love that Ford released all their previous work in this massive archive. I hope other car companies follow suit, it's fun to just jump around the archives and see what all the first Mustangs, first Broncos, and first Ford F150 trucks looked like in the early design stages. In the past, I've had to do tons of Google searches to find old blog posts with photos like this one on the above Bronco, but those tend to go offline after a few years so it's good to see Ford get ahead of their own work and display it openly for all.