The fourth-generation Lincoln Continental was originally designed by one Elwood Engel, the design vice president at Ford. The Continental has been called Mr. Engel’s “magnum opus,” although the design has also been attributed to the work of John Orfe and Howard Payne, both of whom helped put together the original clay model in 1958.
Orfe was born in Philadelphia and began a life-long love affair with motor racing after seeing his first auto race at the famous circular Langhorne Speedway in 1932 at age 10
Orfe was a scholarship recipient at the Philadelphia College of Art, a World War II United States Army veteran then an award winning graphic designer, illustrator, automotive and aircraft designer for Ford, Chrysler, Volkswagen and Boeing.
His historic auto racing paintings were seen in several publications, including Speed Age, Circle Track and Open Wheel, and are now going to be featured in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum Gallery.
John Orfe retired from Volkswagen in 1987 and moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, where he continued to paint.