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Ask any fashionista, and she'll tell you: Don't even think about wearing those chandelier earrings with shorts and tennis shoes. No way. There are, after all, certain rules that apply to fashion and accessories. Ask Earl Lucas, exterior design manager for the 2010 Taurus, and he'll tell you those same accessorizing rules apply even if you're designing a sophisticated sedan. Just like a person, every car has a personality and an image to convey, says the former jewelry designer. The "accessories," which in this case are the headlamps of the 2010 Ford Taurus, must be designed and detailed to project the proper image. The Taurus is a confident, well-balanced car. It has the jewelry to match.
Blending form and function
Headlamps can be beautiful, but if they don't light the way, it doesn't matter what they look like. Headlamps must meet certain government and engineering specifications in terms of illumination and reflection, and it all has to fit within a finite space.
The lamps themselves break down into three components – but there's nothing that says the components can't be beautifully detailed. Starting from the inside, tapering outward into the fenders, these include the turn signal lamp, projector beam and side marker light. Thanks to a sophisticated internal switch, one lens executes both high- and low-beam function. The technology within allows for more aesthetic appeal with no compromise on headlamp function.
Beneath the projection canister, the lower surface features functional louvers, which allow ventilation to cool the projector bulb. Amber side markers finish the lamp, with a graceful character line across the lens that leads into the fender. When illuminated, these lamps lead with a hot spot that gracefully fades away. Each component inside the lamp has a distinct shape, offering sculptural enhancements embellished with subtle lines – all designed to draw the eye toward the upscale grille.
In all, there are three finishes in the headlamp. In terms of value – or what the customer will notice first – they are chrome, satin and black plastic imbued with metallic flake. There are also two grains offering textural relief: a lighter satin and a velvet etch, which provide a rougher, sandblasted-type contrast to the edging.
Adding the proper accessories, or how the Taurus got its jewelry
This year, fashion designers and trend-watchers are talking about bold jewelry, accessories that make a statement, tell a story, get remembered. And we'll see them, of course. Because there's always that woman in the room who's confident, tasteful and perfectly accessorized. Just like the Taurus.
Designer Earl Lucas applied chrome sparingly to the 2010 Ford Taurus, using it only on choice components in the headlamps, the side vent and across the bottom front mouth of the SHO and Limited edition.
"On the Taurus, we used quiet elements of chrome," Lucas said. "This is a very tall car. You don't want to put chrome everywhere – you would lose the value. You do it in key spots, to get attention. Anything you put chrome on, that will get attention. The Taurus is a confident car; it doesn't need that much extra attention."
Making the switch from jewelry design to industrial design isn't quite the jump it seems, Lucas says. Balance, form and function all play major roles in designing, whether you're designing vehicles or earrings, he said. "You start with a mass, a shape. You have an image. Then you layer, you accessorize. Good lines, good proportions and proper detailing are what set your product apart."
"I love working with metal, all kinds of metal, be it sheet metal or precious metal. I still design jewelry. I love seeing how something small, the tiniest detail, something impossibly ornate, can make such a big difference. Whether you're designing a car or jewelry, you're using the same principles."
– Earl Lucas,
2010 Ford Taurus Exterior Design Manager
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 201,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.
Sept. 29, 2009