John Chun

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John M. Chun (August 3, 1928 – July 6, 2013) was a Korean-born American car designer. Chun designed the Shelby Mustang GT350 and GT500 models, as well as the Shelby AC Cobra, released between 1967 and 1969.[1][2][3] Chun also re-designed the Cobra logo still used by the Shelby line today.[3][4] He re-designed the logo to include a more realistic, coiled cobra.[4] Chun's design replaced the previous logo, designed by Peter Brock, which featured a frontal angled cobra.[4]

1965 ford Mustang GT350
1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500 fastback

He later worked as a consultant for Hyundai during the launch of its first car lines.[1] He moved to Minnesota in the early 1970s, where he oversaw the design and creation of a new line of toy cars for Tonka Toys.[1][4]

Born in present-day North Korea to an engineer, Chun moved to South Korea in 1953 as active fighting ended during the Korean War.[4] He immigrated to the United States in 1957, after a friend had already moved to the U.S., settling in Sacramento, California.[4] He held an engineering degree from a university in Korea, but the degree was not useful in the American job market and Chun spoke little English at the time.[4] Chun enrolled at Sacramento Junior College, where a professor insisted that he apply to the Art Center College of Design (ACCD) in Pasadena, California.[4] He worked full-time as a mechanic while studying at ACCD.[4] Chun received his bachelor's degree in industrial design, with a specialty in transportation design, after seven years, while working as a mechanic to pay for his class.[4]

After leaving Tonka Toys, he owned and operated the Chun Mee Restaurant in Delano, Minnesota, with his family from 1986 until his death in 2013.[1]

John Chun died on July 6, 2013, at the age of 84. He was survived by his wife, Helen Chun, and children Marsha and Kevin.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Walsh, Paul (2013-07-18). "Obituary: John Chun, design wizard behind the Mustang Shelby sports car". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
  2. ^ Strickler, Jeff (2012-08-13). "Car designer builds classic success story; On his way to Minnesota, a Korean immigrant reshaped American automotive history with his design for a legendary 1960s sports car". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
  3. ^ a b Gueningsman, Ryan (2011-02-14). "Designing a legend". Delano Herald Journal. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ernst, Kurt (2013-07-08). "Former Shelby American designer John Chun dies at age 84". Hemmings Daily. Retrieved 2013-07-30.