MotorCities National Heritage Area
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By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Buck Mook/Dean’s Garage, Ford Motor Company Archives
Published 6.15.2022

Buck Mook on left with Fords Design Team 1980s Ford Archives 2 

This story is about Howard “Buck” Mook’s many years of great accomplishments and dedication to the automotive community. I have had the pleasure of knowing this great automotive enthusiast and historian for over 40 years, and he is still one of the most charismatic people I know.

For many years, Mook (pictured on the left, above, with members of the Ford design team) left his automotive design mark on many great Ford vehicles. He also has a great collection of vintage vehicles, including many rare models, and original automotive artwork as well.

1989 Ford Probe designed by Buck Mook Hemmings RESIZED 31989 Ford Probe designed by Buck Mook (Hemmings)

Mook started with the Ford design team in 1967 and worked on many future models, like the popular F-150 and F-250 truck models. He was also part of the design team that introduced the 1974 Mustang II model.

When having a conversation about automotive history, the name “Buck Mook” often will come up. Mook was responsible for 47 automotive design projects during his 30-year career at Ford.

The automobile that moved Mook toward an automotive design career was the 1963 Studebaker Avanti. It was a great looking model. Avanti’s design idea started with great designers that included Tom Kellogg, John Ebstein and Robert F. Andrews working at a secret Palm Springs location. Many days went into the creation of the Avanti design sketches. The result was a fiberglass-body with an enormous glass area design. The Avanti lines were designed to translate into a whole family of new Studebaker passenger automobiles at the time.

Studebaker Avanti with Raymond Loewy and Sherwood Egbert RESIZED 1The Studebaker Avanti with designers Raymond Loewy and Sherwood Egbert

“When I was a kid, I fell in love with that car,” Mook said of the Avanti. “I first saw it in Time magazine. It was shocking how different it was.” 

Buck Mook sharing his collection Robert Edwards and Julie Hyde Edwards RESIZED 4"Buck" Mook sharing his collection (Robert Edwards and Julie Hyde Edwards)

During Mook’s career at Ford, he was excited that Lee Iacocca picked his design sketch for a future small car platform, the Mustang II. Another great looking automotive design Mook was responsible for was the Probe, introduced by Ford in 1988. I always thought that the Ford Probe was a timeless design.

Buck Mook speaking at a car show 5Mook speaking at a car show

Mook’s automotive resume also includes helping Dean Jeffries with the popular Monkeemobile and the Green Hornet Black Beauty cars from television. Today, both of these cars are considered iconic automotive designs from two popular 1960s TV series.

Today, Mook still has fond memories of the great relationship he had with his father as a young child. His father used to take him through the Ford production plant to see the shiny new models being assembled. This made the decision to come work for the Ford design staff an easy choice for Mook when he graduated from the Art Center College of Design with his degree.

Buck Mook sharing his design sketches 6Mook sharing his design sketches

On the subject of collecting automobiles, Mook has said: ”Collecting cars is not just about owning the actual cars, it’s about collecting and remembering a specific time in history.” His collection includes many manufacturing styling models, sometimes used for color and trim selections or for design proposals being evaluated by company executives.

Buck Mook receives an award 7Mook receives an award

One of the rarest vehicles in Mook’s collection is car once owned by Henry Ford, II. It is a one of-a-kind hand built custom model on a Facel Vega body. He was very fortunate to acquire this rare model at an auction for just $800 during his first month working at Ford many years ago.

Buck Mook driving his Marmon racer Buck Mook 8Mook driving his Marmon racer (Howard Mook)

In conclusion, Buck Mook is still very active today in Michigan’s car collecting community, sometimes bringing his rare automobiles to car shows like EyesOn Design or the Concours d’Elegance of America. His design resume includes many popular vehicles from the past that are still talked about today. On Saturday mornings, Mook usually can be found at Pasteiners Auto Zone Hobbies on Woodward in Birmingham, Michigan. This is the place to go to see and recapture automotive history from rare vehicles to classic street machines, while meeting with automotive enthusiasts and historians from around the state. For more information, call Pasteiners at 248.646.2886.

Bibliography 

Stenquist, Paul. “The Dream Cars of the Car Designers.” The New York Times Business, August 19, 2021.

A special thank you and credit to Julie-Hyde Edwards and the late Robert Edwards.

“Clasiq Designer Series - Buck Mook.” Dean’s Garage. December 23, 2019.