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John Najjar was a lead designer and executive stylist at Ford Motor Company for over 40 years. He is credited for having co-designed the first prototype of the Ford Mustang known as Ford Mustang I with Philip T. Clark.[1][2]

John Najjar
Born(1918-11-11)November 11, 1918
DiedJanuary 6, 2011(2011-01-06) (aged 92)
NationalityUnited States
EmployerFord Motor Company


Najjar was born to a working-class Greek Orthodox Christian Lebanese family in Omaha, Nebraska.[3] He joined Ford Motor Company's Apprentice School in Dearborn, Michigan. While working there as a machinist, he was approached by Henry Ford during a plant tour who asked him if he enjoyed his work. Najjar's response that he'd "rather be drawing cars" led to an invitation for him to add his talents to Ford's newly created Design Center.[citation needed]

He continued working as a designer for Ford for over 40 years. He worked with E. T. Gregorie, George Walker, Elwood Engel, Gene Bordinat, and Lee Iacocca. For many years his work was centered on futuristic show cars whose revolutionary features later appeared in many Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.[4]

The Advanced Styling Studio developed the 1962 Ford Mustang I concept car - so named because of his love for its namesake, the North American P-51 Mustang fighter plane. His design contributions span decades and include the M4A3 Sherman tank and B-24 bomber in the 1940s, the 1957-58 Lincoln Continentals, the Mercury XM-800, the LevaCar concept[5]

Najjar also co-designed jointly with fellow Ford Motor Company stylist Bill Schmidt the groundbreaking Lincoln Futura, a futuristic concept car that served as a base for the Batmobile for the 1966 TV series Batman, as well as for the first movie adaptation of the Batman comics.

Najjar and his wife Virginia retired to Sarasota, Florida, in 1985.[6]


  1. ^ Bakken, Douglas A.; Crippen, David R. (1984). "Automotive Design Oral History Project: Remembering John Najjar". University of Michigan. p. 3. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  2. ^ "Original Mustang Designer - Phil Clark or John Najjar? Original Mustang Sketches". Muscular Mustangs. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  3. ^ Bakken, Douglas A.; Crippen, David R. (1984). "Automotive Design Oral History Project: Remembering John Najjar". University of Michigan. p. 1. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  4. ^ Auto Editors of Consumer Guide (February 7, 2007). "John Najjar: Designer of the Ford Mustang I Concept Car". auto.howstuffworks. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  5. ^ Tate, Robert (February 25, 2014). "Remembering the Levacar Mach I by Ford". Motor Cities. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  6. ^ "John Najjar - Obituary". Herald Tribune. January 12, 2011. Retrieved December 23, 2014.