Quicksilver: The Story of the 1960 Ford

The year 1960 marked a transitional period for Detroit’s automakers, as they navigated the shift from the flamboyant designs of the 1950s to a new era of styling. This is the story of the Quicksilver Ford, a unique and short-lived design that showcased Ford’s response to the changing automotive landscape.

As Ford prepared for the 1960 model year, they initially planned to offer a slightly updated version of the successful 1959 body design. However, rumors about Chevrolet’s bold and extravagant batwing styling for 1959 reached Ford’s intelligence sources, causing concern among the company’s top executives. Ford realized they needed a design that could rival Chevrolet’s flamboyance and captured the attention of potential buyers. That’s when they turned to an internal project known as Quicksilver.

Designed by Ford’s advance design team, the Quicksilver concept featured a long, low, and wide shape that deviated from Ford’s traditional styling. To incorporate the Quicksilver design into the 1959 platform, adjustments had to be made to both the body and chassis. The wheelbase was stretched by one inch to 119 inches, and the overall dimensions of the car increased significantly. The 1960 Ford was an imposing vehicle, measuring nearly 214 inches in length and 81.5 inches in width, pushing the limits of vehicle width regulations in many states. However, its most distinctive feature was the pair of horizontal rear tail fins, which may not have been as extravagant as Chevrolet’s batwings but still managed to make a statement.

Unfortunately, the market response to the 1960 Ford was not as Ford had hoped. Buyers did not embrace the full-sized Fords, leading to disappointing sales figures. However, Ford found solace in the success of their newly introduced Falcon compact car, which resonated with consumers and sold over 435,000 units. The Falcon’s popularity helped compensate for the declining sales of the full-sized models and brought Ford’s overall volume close to its 1959 levels.

For the 1961 model year, Ford decided to retire the Quicksilver look and return to a more traditional styling approach. The big car line adopted pie-plate tail lamps and a formal greenhouse, departing from the distinctive design of the previous year. Interestingly, times and tastes have changed since then. If you were to ask car enthusiasts today about their opinion on the unusual one-year styling of the 1960 Fords, you would likely receive a positive response, with many appreciating its unique and eye-catching design.

The Quicksilver Ford of 1960 stands as a testament to Ford’s willingness to take risks and respond to market trends. While it may not have been a commercial success at the time, its bold and memorable design has earned it a place in automotive history and the admiration of car enthusiasts in the present day.

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