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J Mays retires: the iconic cars of Ford's chief designer

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J Mays
J Mays

Ford announced this week that its chief creative officer, J Mays, would retire after a 33-year career in the automotive design industry — a career that included prominent stints at BMW, Volkswagen, and Audi before landing at the Dearborn, Michigan-based car company in 1997. He'll be replaced by Moray Callum, an accomplished designer in his own right (he worked with Tesla chief designer Franz von Holzhausen when both were at Mazda) and the younger brother of famed Jaguar creative lead Ian Callum.

Mays leaves behind an impressive resume. Volkswagen's Concept One — the design study that ultimately led to the Beetle's return — vaulted him to the elite ranks of a tight-knit business dominated by big personalities. It also set him up to take the creative reins at Ford, where he led the staff that produced a revitalized Mustang and classics like the GT supercar.

Here's a look at some of the most notable designs that left the studio under Mays' watch.

Update: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the designer of the Ford Shelby GR-1 as Henrik Fisker; it was designed by George Saridakis at the studio Fisker led at the time. We apologize for the error.

The cars of J Mays


BMW 8 Series (E31). Mays had a brief stint with BMW in the 1980s, working on the company's high-end (and highly collectible) coupe.