Excerpt by Rory Jurnecka, Automobilemag.com, January, 2017. “Catching Up With Tom Tjaarda, Automobile Designer” Tom Tjaarda (1934-) is an American designer who based his career in Italy, working for many of the country’s top design houses [Ghia, Pininfarina, Fiat, De Tomaso, Rayton-Fissore] where he penned cars such as the original Fiat 124 Spider and the De Tomaso Pantera.
AM: Is it true the De Tomaso Pantera went from a blank piece of paper to production in a year?
TT: No, eight months. It’s too bad since there were so many defects on it! After two weeks, De Tomaso said, “Hey, is the model done? I’m coming in a week with a friend of mine. I want to show him the car.” So he came over, and his friend turned out to be Lee Iacocca! [Executive Vice President of Ford Motor Company. Appointed President, December, 1970 – July, 1978.] So they came down to the shop and saw the car, and Iaccoca approved of the car’s design in about 10 minutes. He walked around it and said, “This is it! This is what I want.” And right from there, right away on the same day, he set up the whole crew to put the car into production. You can do that when you’re a small company.
Addendum/M.T.: View Tom Tjaarda’s design career timeline at www.tom-tjaarda.net