*An exerpt from the book Ford Design Department Concept and Show Cars  1932- 1961 by Jim and Cheryl Farrell,  1999

"John Samsen (then known as Dick Samsen) graduated from Purdue University in 1950 with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. His first job was at McDonnell Aviation in St. Louis, Missouri working on jet fighters. After two years at McDonnell, Samsen deceided he liked the aesthetic end of design rather than the engineering part of it. He left McDonnell and took a job as an engineer at Studebaker working on jet-engine design. At the same time, he learned to design automobiles from Bob Bourke who was in charge of the Loewy-Studebaker design studio located in the same building.

After nine months at Studebaker, Samsen's job ended, and he moved to Dearborn, where he was hired by Frank Hershey as a Ford designer. Because of his engineering background, Samsen was assigned to Damon Woods' Body Development Studio (1952). Several months later, he, Bill Boyer, and Alan Kornmiller were assigned to work on the Ford sports car program, Samsen worked on the front end, grille, front fenders, and hood design of the car that became the Thunderbird.

After the Thunderbird full-sized clay was moved out of the Body Development Studio, Samsen was transferred to the Special Projects Studio under Gil Spear. Samsen designed the exterior of the D-523 and the interior of the D-524. He was transferred to the Ford Exterior Studio to work on station wagons, just as the clay models of the D-523 and D-534 were completed, and just before Gil Spear left to set up Engineering's Special Vehicles Department design studio.

In November 1955, Virgil Exner, head of Chrysler design, offered Samsen a substantial increase in salary to  leave Ford. Samsen helped design many of Chrysler's 'muscle cars'. In 1976, Samsen left Chrysler to open his own independent design business."
LEFT TO RIGHT- DaveCummins, Bill Shannon, Dick Samsen, Dick Macadam, John Hurlitz, Gerry Thorley, Irving Ritchie, Milton Antonick
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1972  CUDA/ CHALLENGER; designed by Samsen;  program cancelled
FEATURING THE CLASSIC CAR STYLING CONCEPTS ART OF
DESIGNER  J. R.  SAMSEN'S  DESIGN  CAREER, 1950's  through  1970's,
IN THE STUDIOS OF FRANK HERSHEY, VIRGIL EXNER,  AND ELWOOD ENGLE
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             1960's
1970 'Cuda  concept...Samsen
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