Uwe Bahnsen (1930 in Hamburg – 30 July 2013 in south-west France) was a German car designer. After an apprenticeship as a window dresser Bahnsen studied at the College of Fine Arts in Hamburg. From 1958 to 1986 he held various positions with Ford Europe, most recently as vice president for design. During this time his designs included the Taunus 17m and the Capri II. Bahnsen was also a motor sport enthusiast, and in the 1960s he organised a Ford Works Team. He was a team member involved with the design of the Mk1 Capri, working with chief stylist Phil Clark.
By the mid 1970s, Bahnsen had risen to become the Vice President of design for Ford of Europe, and moved the company away from the "coke bottle" design language of the late 1960s, towards the fashionable "origami" or "folded paper" school of design, typified in his square and angular designs for the Mk IV Cortina/Taunus (1976), Granada Mk II (1978) and the Escort Mk III (1980). By the early 1980s, he had moved Ford's styling language forward again to the "aero" look - most famously the Ford Sierra in 1982.
In 1986 Bahnsen left Ford to became training director at the Art Center College of Design in La Tour-de-Peilz (Switzerland), which he ran between 1990 and 1995. In 1992 he was elected to the Executive Board of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) and was its president from 1995 to 1997. Uwe Bahnsen was Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers and International Member of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA).
Bahnsen directed the design of the following vehicles:
- Ford Taunus 17m "Bathtub" (1960),
- Ford Taunus TC TC "Knudsen" (1970),
- Ford Capri II (1973),
- Ford Taunus / Cortina IV (1976),
- Ford Fiesta I (1976)
- Ford Granada II (1978)
- Ford Capri III, (II Facelift) (1978),
- Ford Escort III (1980)
- Ford Sierra (1982)
- Ford Scorpio I / Granada III (1985)
- Ford Transit (1986)
He and his wife Maureen retired to Monflanquin in the wine country to the east of Bordeaux. During his final months Bahnsen lived with his wife in Albi, a short distance to the north east of Toulouse.
When he died on 30 July 2013, Bahnsen was survived by his widow Maureen, his four children, and numerous grand children. His body was cremated at the Albi crematorium on 3 August 2013.