Friday, May 10, 2019

if you're anywhere near Minneapolis, you really ought to ponder, did you ever stop by the Chun Mee restaurant?

John Chun escaped from North Korea twice

He designed the coiled cobra on every Shelby Mustang sold today.

He thought the original emblem Shelby was using lacked menace, so he drew, and drew, and redrew, and finally came up with the coiled, fangs-bared symbol that any Shelby fan will immediately recognize today.

He was born in 1928, north of the 38th parallel that would come to divide Korea. The country was controlled by Japan at the time, with Korean culture brutally repressed. By the time Chun was ten, occupying Japanese forces had outlawed even speaking Korean. Then, war in the Pacific.

He emigrated to the US as an engineering student, arriving in Sacramento in 1957. Despite a limited grasp of English, his practical skills impressed instructors, one of whom suggested he enroll at the Art Center College of Design. Tuition was $350 a semester in 1958

He worked a full shift as a mechanic at International Harvester, and later at a GM truck shop. He paid his own way, becoming the first Korean student to graduate from ArtCenter.

Ford, GM, and Chrysler turned him down. But then Fred Goodell, chief engineer at Shelby American, came looking for recruits

Chun sat down at his desk in a converted hangar at Los Angeles airport, and began to draw. He was tasked with coming up with a concept for Shelby's followup to the inaugural Mustang GT350.

He married his wife, Helen, in 1978, and they bought the Chun Mee restaurant in 1986.
John passed away in 2013, the restaurant was full of photos and drawings of the 67-69 GT 500 Shelby Cobra Mustang
(thanks Mario!)

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