1996 Ford Ka.jpg

Ford Ka

The most radical Ford design?

Central to ‘New Edge’ — the late nineties Ford design theme — the Ford Ka was an unusually radical small car design, particularly for Ford. But is was unloved by the design management that were in place a year after the car was launched in 1996, which made it a cul-de-sac design that went no-where, even though it was such a special thing. 

The design had proportions shrink-wrapped to its package, with minimal overhangs, a lot of plan-shape in the nose, and a body that tapered upwards to mean that it visually sat planted on a stable base of relatively wide track and long wheelbase.  Yet the Ka is truly special for its large scale, simple, and precisely defined (by its ‘New Edge’ edges) volumes that swept around the car; automotive sculpture masquerading in the form of the cheapest Ford.  The boundaries to these volumes also formed super-strong graphics that made the Ka so distinct on the street.  Details were unusual too (carry-over door handles excepted) but were very much the punctuation of the form language sitting between the car’s dominating forms and shapes.  

The original Ford Ka is perhaps the most radical design Ford design we have ever seen on the roads.  A masterpiece by the late great Chris Svensson.