Right folks, bit of a strange one, but this is an on-off conversation I've been having now for years, and I can find no evidence of its veracity - but Mrs DC is insistent that it's true.
It's doing all four of our collective tits in, so I thought that maybe someone here might be able to confirm or deny. Here we go.
In a nutshell, the original Ford Ka of 1996 was designed by a 15-year old boy.
Mrs DC is adamant that, at the time of the Ka's launch, she saw an item on Blue Peter where a 15-year-old (approx) student appeared in the studio with one of Ford's new city cars, clutching his own drawing of something similar, and there followed an interview with him. He had (possibly??) been the winner of a schools design competition run by Ford, who had been so impressed that they had worked the design up to production.
The interview had specifically mentioned that the car looked quite unlike anything else in the manufacturer's line-up (which was quite true) and had a very distinctive profile.
Not only this, but she recalls similar stories in the press, mentioning the unlikely situation of a schoolboy's design being picked up on by a major manufacturer.
This cropped up in conversation many years ago, and I was utterly disbelieving.
My limited understanding of the Ka's design process involves:
- the young British designer Chris Svensson (who, as a design student, produced a similar looking small-car prototype as part of his 1992 graduation show display - and took it with him to his new job at Ford);
^^^ These sketches turned up online - I'm guessing 'Chris 8/93' means these are early re-workings of the original concept produced specifically for Ford during the summer of 1993.
- a Car Week exclusive from the end of February 1994 (edition #26, if anyone has it to hand - sadly my copy ended up in the recycling last year), showing something very Ka-like in appearance, although wearing what was at that time the 'corporate nose', without any hint of what was to become the New Edge design;
- the 1996 Ghia Saetta concept car, which firmed up the front end design prior to the Ka's official launch in September 1996 and is broadly in line with the 1993 sketches;
This is one of those things that keeps cropping up, and we've looked at it from all angles -
- no, the Blue Peter interview wasn't with Chris Svensson; it was with a boy still at school (hence the youth interest angle) with questions asked about whether he wanted to be a car designer when he grew up, and how difficult a field it was to get into;
- it wasn't a dream, as she discussed it with others at the time and afterwards (she was considering going down an art and design career path at that stage, hence the professional interest) and says she considered it 'common knowledge' - and was surprised I didn't know the story, in with the rest of my useless car trivia;
- it was definitely a Ka and not anything else (she's had a lifelong interest in cars - apparently, at the age of three she could identify pretty much any car on the road by its wheeltrims) - and she considered having a Ka as her first car, in part because of the story of how it was conceived;
- if anyone's given to misremembering stuff and inventing utter fiction, it's me, not her. Although it sounds implausible to me, (given the lead-in time of several years from initial sketch to production) if this turns out to be balderdash, I'll be even more surprised than she might.
So what's the consensus? Is this ringing any bells? Anyone with an indexed list of Blue Peter episodes from the mid-90s?
We'd both love some closure on this - so any thoughts appreciated!
Help me, Autoshite Massive - you're my only hope.