Ford’s 021c Concept: The Falcon Reincarnated

I don’t think I’ve been too shy over the years expressing certain doubts about the direction of new car design in recent decades. The slammed armored car look is just not my thing. So when Ford showed this 021c Concept in 1999, my spirits were raised, only to be dashed again when it was poorly received and left no lasting impact. The influence of the original Falcon on the 021c is all to obvious.

Ford Design Chief J Mays engaged Marc Newson, who normally devotes his design skill to furniture and other non automotive applications. That should be done more often perhaps, since it seems that all-too often, automotive design is a perpetual game of copycat and one-upsmanship. Regardless of how you feel about the 021c, it certainly broke out of the mold, and that alone is mighty refreshing.

Swivel seats are back too! Chrysler was big on those in the Falcon era. Regardless of whether that’s such a hot idea or not, getting in and out of the 021c was certainly addressed in a very accommodating fashion.

The most antithetical (heretical?) aspects of the 021c were its clean horizontal lines and its superb Falcon-esqe visibility. Now that’s a timeless idea. I say bring it on, with a wider choice of colors, perhaps.