Personalities Behind the BA Falcon Engines and Interiors
Engine Design Supervisor
Ford Australia’s Engine Design Supervisor David Mitchell was raised in the north-east Victorian town of Benalla.
An early interest in cars was fed by a healthy diet of engineering books, motoring magazines and building endless car models, while providing a helping hand assisting his father in the regular upkeep of the family car.
Motor sport was also high on Dave’s agenda with regular visits to the local Winton Raceway.
Dave studied Mechanical Engineering at Melbourne University and while there was an enthusiastic member of the Melbourne Uni Car Club, participating in numerous Club events and in later years the Victorian Trials Championship. Modest success included the odd win and series runner up.
After graduating in 1977, Dave’s prime focus was a job in the automotive industry.
He joined Ford as a Climate Control development engineer in 1978, before moving to the engine department in 1979, as part of the Product Development group working on the first alloy head program on the XD.
As an engine development engineer he was involved in the development of many six-cylinder programs, including the introduction of Electronic management systems on the Falcon. This included a three-month assignment in the US.
Other activities in this period included taking an active part in Ford's entry in the first World Solar Challenge in 1997 from Darwin to Adelaide. His efforts helped the Australian entry to an extremely creditable second placing.
In 1989, Dave became supervisor of the engine laboratory and, the next year, took over as supervisor of the Powertrain Development group.
He moved into a Programs role for the EF Falcon in 1992, after which he was appointed Program Manager for the EL Falcon.
It was then back to engines as Engine Design Supervisor for the major changes on the AU, including the introduction of the LPG program on the AUII range of Falcons.
Since 1998 Dave has been responsible for the Barra engine programs, overseeing the most comprehensive change of powertrain strategy in Ford Australia’s history.
Dave is married to Libby and has a son and a daughter. Family interests include travel, camping and numerous activities including ski-ing, cycling, swimming and surf-related sports.
Interior Design Manager, Ford Australia
An Englishman by birth, Marcus started his automotive design career in the magical world of Matchbox. As Staff Designer for Lesney Products, his early product reviews were held around the boardroom table, where crucial decisions were made on cars that would fit into the cup-holders of the products on which he works today.
Moving straight on to the world of heavy trucks, Marcus’ early experience included interior design for the Leyland T45, Iveco and Roadrunner truck interiors, as well as the Jaguar XJ6 Series III facelift and Lazer Metro Show Car.
In 1983, Marcus joined IAD as Contract Designer. He worked in Sweden on interiors for the Volvo 850 and in the UK in 1984 on Mazda MX5 interior concepts, Kia Truck interior, and exterior design Concept Show Car renderings.
In 1985 he gained his first experience in the Australian market, working on contract to Ford on interiors for the EA Falcon.
Back in England later that year, Marcus designed the interior for the 1986 Alien concept car for the Turin Motor Show. He continued to specialise in interior design, working on the Renault Espace and Motor Magazine A3 Concept that year.
A contract in Germany saw him working on the interior design of the Opel Vectra and modifications to the Kadett/Astra for the USA market.
In 1987, Marcus undertook concept work for the Range Rover Discovery interior, motorcycle concepts, Japanese lifestyle concepts and design of the interior of the 1987 Frankfurt Show Car “Impact.”
1988 saw Marcus back in Australia for an interior facelift for the Falcon, as well as exteriors for Fairlane/LTD and Louisville Truck.
After returning to the UK in 1989, Marcus became Head of Interior Design for IAD in England working on a vast range of projects notably for Mazda, Renault, Kia, Hino Tatra and Daewoo. In 1993 Marcus moved to Head of Design at Daewoo Europe.
Marcus has travelled to Korea, Japan, Czech Republic, the USA and most European countries on automotive projects. Although most programs have been automotive and commercial vehicles, he has also managed earthmover and aviation interior programs.
He moved permanently to Australia in 1995 and oversaw the interior of the AU Falcon range. As Interior Design Manager for Ford Australia he is responsible for the new BA Falcon and subsequent programs yet to be launched.
A Postgraduate in furniture and product design from The Central in London, Marcus sees his early training as fundamental to the successful development of the ergonomic, safety, comfort and durability package that is today’s motor vehicle interior.
Married, with a young son, Marcus is interested in windsurfing, skiing, classic cars, antiques and travel.
Colour and Trim Design Manager, Ford Australia
Sharon Gauci has a passion for creative pursuits such as art, design and photography. But as a little girl she also loved science and dreamt of becoming an astronaut.
Today Sharon says she has been lucky enough to find a job that combines her love of both arts and sciences as Ford Australia's Colour and Trim Design Manager.
In this position, she is responsible with her team for developing exterior colour ranges for Ford's Australian-built vehicles as well as finishes on all vehicle interior surfaces.
This involves working with materials from plastics, paints, fabrics, metals, woods, decorative film, carpets, leather and vinyl.
She works across some six vehicle lines from luxury, sports and family cars to utilities and commercial vehicles as well as concept cars for major auto shows.
"I've always had creative interests in design and art but I love the way this job challenges me in many other areas as well from science to engineering and technology to project management," Sharon says. "You need to understand the properties of different materials you're working with, to liaise with engineers and suppliers, to be focused on every detail of every car and every customer to bring a beautiful new range to launch."
Her job has taken her to catwalks, launches and motor shows around the world where she monitors trends in fashion, cosmetics, soft furnishings and interior décor to help her select new automotive colours and interior finishes.
Sharon joined Ford Australia as a Colour and Trim Designer in 1993 after completing a Bachelor of Industrial Design from Swinburne University in Melbourne. She moved to BMW Australia in 1997 to work in marketing before returning to Ford Australia in 2000 as Colour and Trim Design Manager.
She and her partner have a three-year-old son. Her interests include cars, motorcycles, painting, drawing and design as well as food, natural well-being alternatives, beach, travel and active exercise.
Director of Design, Ford Australia
"I've always had a great interest in aesthetics but also have a very inquisitive mind, wanting to know how things work mechanically and how one can solve problems, in effect, designing," says Ford Australia chief designer Simon Butterworth.
"I was interested in cars from an early age, and would use crayons to draw cars in pre-school while the other children were drawing trees and houses," he says.
"My mother was a textile designer and my grandmother was an accomplished artist, so I think designing was something in my genes."
"During university I did some practical design work at a company called Grove Cranes. It was my first design job – a rough terrain hydraulic crane!"
Prior to his appointment at Ford, Simon was Project Manager responsible for sports saloons and luxury sports programmes for Jaguar Cars in the UK. In this role he was responsible for all design and styling related to S-Type, X-Type and XK8 replacement programmes.
Immediately prior to this, Simon was Project Manager of sports saloon programmes, including responsibility for all aspects of design and styling related to S-Type and X-Type programmes.
Simon began his career with Jaguar Cars in 1987, initially in the role of Principal Designer, with responsibility for all interior design work. Following this he moved into the role of Senior Manager, Advanced Concepts, with responsibility for all exterior and interior advanced concept design work, as well as special vehicle operations, colour and trim, and ergonomics.
In 1995, Simon was appointed to the position of Project Design Manager, Saloon Programmes, a position he held for two years before moving to the role of Project Design Manager, Sports Saloon Programmes.
Prior to joining Jaguar Cars, Simon held a variety of positions in the Design Department of Rover Group from 1979-1987. He has also worked with Coles (Grove) Cranes and Wilkinson Sword Product Design.
He has a Design for Industry BA Hons degree and is a Member of the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers.
A keen motor sports fan, Simon also enjoys a range of sports activities, including windsurfing, skiing, sailing, mountain biking, tennis, and mountain walking. He is married with two children.
Supervisor, Body Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Ford designers often make decisions about where lights will flash and buttons will go based on what looks best aesthetically. As the Supervisor of Body Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Ford Australia, it is Rod Phillips' job to make sure that lights will actually flash and buttons will perform a function when a customer uses them.
Rod's position encompasses design responsibility for most electronic systems within the vehicle. This means he looks over everything from batteries and alternators to instrumentation and audio, with all the wiring in between.
Rod has been employed at Ford Australia since 1990. His background is of mostly technical positions within Product Development.
Rod started out as a Design Engineer with responsibility for vehicle electrical systems such as Engine Management Systems, Electronic Transmission Control Systems and Anti-lock Brake Control Systems.
In his next position as a Development Engineer, Rod was responsible for testing vehicle electrical and electronic systems. In 1996, Rod became a Programs Analyst where he oversaw the AU Falcon Utility specifications and model lineup.
Rod also undertook a brief assignment in Ford's Marketing and Sales Department as Light Commercial Sales Manager, selling commercial vehicles to fleet customers.
Rod moved to his current position of Supervisor, Body Electrical and Electronic Engineering in September 2000. Before joining Ford, Rod worked in instrumentation research and development at Flexdrive.
Rod completed a Bachelor of Engineering at Ballarat CAE and later completed an MBA at RMIT. Rod enjoys sports such as motor racing, golf and mountain biking.