The Korea-born, longtime Minnesota resident who played a part in designing one of the most iconic American muscle cars has died, the Star Tribune reports.
John Chun was 84.
Chun worked at Ford as a design engineer for the Mustang Shelby Cobra models in the late 1960s – the brand's cobra snake logo and the car's spoiler were among his contributions, the Delano Herald Journal reported in a lengthy 2011 profile. He designed the 1967, 1968 and 1969 models, he told the publication.
“They gave me a Mustang body, and they told me to do something about it. Each year has a different hood, grill, and lights,” Chun told the Herald Journal. “Different horsepower, bigger engine, different stripes. It became a hot-ticket item. Everyone wanted that."
In a profile last year, Chun told the Star Tribune that people were surprised to learn he was a Mustang designer. "Here I am, claiming to have designed a famous American car, and I'm Asian. Not only Asian, I'm from North Korea! That really gets them."
Chun is listed among the "legends" that made the Shelby Mustang happen in Mustang Monthly.
Chun was born in what would become North Korea, and moved to South Korea after the Korean War in 1953, the Hemmings Daily reported. By 1957, he’d followed a friend to California, the publication reported.
Chun came to Minnesota to work for Tonka toys, the former Twin Cities company that hired him to held design toy cars, the Star Tribune reported.
Chun for the past 27 years has owned and operated a Chinese restaurant in Delano, the Star Tribune noted.