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EyesOn Design 2019 

By: Ron Corbett, APA Staff Writer

EyesOn Design, a fundraiser for the Detroit Institute of Opthalmology, celebrated its 32nd year in 2019. The event is held at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford house, a 20,000 square-foot Cotswald style mansion nestled in a park-like setting beside Lake St.Clair in the Detroit suburb of Grosse Point Shores. Albert Kahn, who designed factories for Ford, Packard and Pierce-Arrow, among others, was the architect for the project.  

The theme of 2019 was Design Around the World, which was evident by the splendid selection of postwar European cars on display. Following are some of the most noteworthy cars at the show, with a supplementary archive of some of the other delights that showed up for EyeOn Design.   


1969 De Tomaso Mangusta

The Mangusta was built by Alejandro deTomaso, who would eventually own not only his own firm but Maserati, Innocenti, and the Benelli and Moto-Guzzi motorcyle companies as well. The Mangusta was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who later founded his own firm, Ital Design. The Mangusta is powered by a mid-engined Ford V8 mounted in an arrestingly beautiful Italian body. De Tomaso's follow up to the Mangusta was the much higher volume Pantera, distributed by Lincoln-Mercury in North America. 


1935 Jensen-Ford V8 Shooting Brake

Founded in 1931, Jensen were intially coachbuilders working on a variety of chassis. This wagon, or "Shooting Brake" as the British call it, is built on Ford V8 mechanicals.  

1976 Jensen Interceptor alongside a 1964 Sunbeam Tiger

Built when Jensen was already in receivership, this Jensen coupe was created by transforming convertible bodies into closed cars after Jensen had run out of fixed roof hatchback Interceptor bodies. Panther Westwinds (maker of the Lima, Rio and deVille), designed and supplied the components that allowed Jensen to turn leftover convertible body shells into coupes for customers wanting a closed car.  

Introduced for 1964, the Sunbeam Tiger, powered by a 260 cubic inch Ford V8, was a development of the four-cylinder Alpine that first went on sale in 1959. Caroll Shelby, the father of the AC Cobra, also had a hand in the development of the Tiger and hoped to build the car in the United States. Sunbeam gave the contract for final assembly to Jensen but did give Shelby a royalty for each completed car. Production ended in 1967 when the supply of Ford V8s ran out and Chrysler, the new owner of Rootes (the parent company of Sunbeam), did not have a V8 that would fit under the hood.   

1939 Lincoln Continental convertible created for Edsel Ford

Edsel Ford wanted a European-inspired convertible to drive when he was in Florida and had his staff whip up this one-off creation based on the Zephyr, Lincoln's entry level car. The car proved so popular that a production Continental, in coupe and convertible forms, was released for the 1940 model year.  


1970 Fiat Dino 2400  

Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro when he was at coachbuilder Bertone, the Dino coupe was a companion car to the Dino convertible, designed by Pininfarina. For 1970, the Dino featured a number of upgrades, including an increase in the size of its Ferrari-designed, Fiat-built V6 from 2L to 2.4L, as well as a new fully-independent rear suspension system.   

1969 Alfa-Romeo Giulia wagon and a 1978 Lancia Beta HPE

This Giulia wagon was never sold in North America, but its owner sourced the car from the Netherlands. This car is said to be a veteran of the Tulip Rallye (the 2019 rallye went from Andorra to Valkenburg, Holland) which is open to cars built before December 31, 1971.

The 1978 Lancia Beta HPE was an American-market car sold by the Lancia division of Fiat. The HPE hatchback, built on the longer Beta sedan platform but using the Beta coupe body, was an elegant, roomy and versatile sportswagon. 

Citroen was well represented at the show. A CX wagon, DS sedan and several 2CVs are visible in this photo 

1937 Ford V8 Club Cabriolet 

Henry Ford ceded control over Ford styling to his son Edsel starting with the Model A, leading to a range of very attractive cars from Ford in the 1930s. V8 power also made the car quick and quite refined for a popularly-priced model. Though it goes well and looks great, Henry Ford insisted on keeping transverse leaf springs (first seen on the Model T), and mechanical brakes, after many makers had already transiitioned to independent front suspension and hydraulic brakes. 

1963 Rover 95

One of the Rover P4 series that went on sale for 1949, this 95, powered by a 2.6L inline six, was built in 1963, the second-to-last year for the P4. Rover shocked the automotive world when in replaced the P4 with the radical (P6) Rover 2000 in 1964.  


1971 Rover 2000 (foreground) and a 1973 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow 

Known internally as the P6, the Rover 2000 was a radical new creation that replaced the staid P4 in 1964. Like the Citroen DS, the 2000 was built on a self-supporting space frame, with its exterior body panels meant only to shield the occupants and the mechanicals from the elements.  

Advanced suspension, including horizontally-mounted coil springs up front and a deDion axle at the rear, made this car one of the original sports sedans. Its stout space frame structure also made the 2000 one of the safest cars of its era.  

A 2L four is found under the hood of this 2000 but the 3500, a P6 powered by the Rover vesion of the 3.5L V8 it bought from Buick, was also available.  

The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, with unibody construction and four-wheel independent suspension, was a real breakthrough for the firm when it was introduced in 1965. This car is powered by a 6.75L V8 that employs a GM-supplied automatic transmission to send power to the rear wheels. More Silver Shadows were built than any other Rolls-Royce. 

1973 BMW 3.0CS Coupe (foreground) and a 1972 Alfa-Romeo Giulia Super 

This BMW coupe, powered initially by a 2L four, debuted as the 2000CS. When BMW's new inline six became available it found its way into the car which also featured a restyled front end. This particular car is powered by a 3L straight six. Few BMW's that followed could equal the beauty of this design.  

A European spec car, this Giulia Super employs a zesty twin cam four that sends power to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. Though sternly boxy, this Giulia Super is actually quite aerodynamic. 

1982 Renault Alpine A310S

Never sold in North America, the fibreglass-bodied A310 is a rare sight here. With the engine slung out over its rear axle, it is essentially a French Porsche 911. The A310, powered by a 1.6L four, first went on sale in 1971. The four was replaced a 2.7L version of the Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6, for the 1977 model year. 1984 was the last year for the A310.