Joseph Oros was an automobile designer for Ford Motor Company.
Both his parents were from Romania and neither spoke a word of English. He was moved up a grade from 3rd to 5th because of his fantastic art work even though his math and science skills were questionable. In his 90s now his house is full of his own artwork including paintings and sculptures. The project he is currently working on is a 3D model of the earth with all the native settelers in wax. He is about 1/4 of his way through it and hopes to finish before he dies. He lives currently in a large house in Santa Barbra near L.A. in the hills.
He graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1939. He became a student at General Motors's school of automotive design after graduation, where he worked under Harley Earl's guidance. There, he met fellow classmates Elwood Engel, later design chief at Chrysler Corporation and George W. Walker, later vice president of design at Ford Motor Company. After serving in World War II, Oros went to work for Walker's industrial design firm. He also recommended hiring there of his close friend Engel. Walker and Oros worked on designing Nash automobiles until 1947, when Walker's firm won a contract with Ford. Together, they worked on the designed of the 1949 Ford. When Walker later became head of Ford design in 1955, Oros joined Walker and Engel there. Oros worked primarily on the designs for Ford's cars and trucks, while Engel worked on Lincoln and Mercury.
Oros won awards from the Industrial Design Institute in 1956 for his work on the Lincoln Premier and in 1964 for his work on the Mustang.
Oros rose to director of exterior design and had oversight for many Ford vehicle projects. In 1958, Oros did the primary design work on the new, four-seat Ford Thunderbird that was to debut in the 1961 model year. It beat out a competing design by Engel (which later became the iconic 1961 Lincoln Continental). Although delays caused the revised Thunderbird to arrive in dealerships three months late, it was a huge sales success. The 1958 Thunderbird outsold the old two-seat model 2-to-1, and was named Motor Trend's Car of the Year. The body style was continued through 1960.