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Hagerty Employee

Groundbreaking designer McKinley Thompson’s quest put the world on wheels

On his first day at Ford’s Advanced Studio in 1956, McKinley Thompson Jr. received some simple words of encouragement from George Walker, Vice President of Ford Design: “You can go as far as your talent will take you.”


Message received, and challenge accepted. In a sense, it was also mission accomplished for Thompson, who that day became Ford’s first Black designer.


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Pit Crew

A very inspiring story. Thanks for presenting it.
Intermediate Driver


Yes, very inspiring... I haveta admit I'm not really found of the aesthetics but the speed, mpg, and agility of this machine are what really shows McKinley's talent. Especially considering this was in the late 60's when none of these attributes were really given much thought.

If we take "race" out of the equation, it probably still was a good business decision at the time not to produce this car.

Now might be a good time though!

I would have been honored to meet this man.

Those three-bolt wheels give it away as having Renault underpinnings. That Type 688 engine from the R-10 was a very robust unit; a refinement of the 662/670 engine originally used first in the 4CV of 1948. The R8/R10 engine had 5 main bearings (vs 3 of the earlier engine), but retained the wet liner block design, pushrod OHV, and an aluminum head. In normal trim it was good for a bit more than 50 hp from its1108 cc.

With a Gordini hemi-head (still pushrod actuated) and dual Solex 40phh sidedraft carbs, that same 1108 cc was good for 105 1964. The Warrior, with its lightweight plastic body (Uniroyal "Royalite" was also popular for boat construction as it was easier to mold than fiberglass) would have flat flown with 105 hp!
New Driver

I wonder what type of rims are these? They would nicely fit my 1966 Renault Dauphine.
Advanced Driver

Great story,thank you.