Perhaps more than most hobbies and industries, the automotive world creates strong family ties that often last for generations. This is true of children who gain their love of a particular brand or model from their parents or grandparents, as well as multiple generations of the same family actually working for an automotive manufacturer. And that’s precisely the case with former Ford clay model maker Frank Debono and his granddaughter, Molly Gillies.
Debono spent 40 years working as a Ford clay model maker, so when Gillies expressed interest in following in his footsteps, he was obviously willing to help pass the torch, though it was difficult given his health at the time. “When all of this was happening, he was suffering from dementia so he just kind of gave me the tools. Nothing was really set but it was kind of just like a passing of the torch, here you go,” Gillies told Fox 2 News.
Gillies began her modeling career with an internship at Ford, and was eventually hired full time. But she probably never realized that she’d be working on the very same model her grandfather did decades ago – the Ford Bronco. “I’m currently at Ford working on the new Bronco just like he did, working on the ’66 Bronco with his tools that I am using now,” she said.
Working on such an important project was a daunting task for Gillies as a new modeler, especially given the pressure of living up to her grandfather’s legacy. But it sounds like she’s doing just fine so far.
“I was super nervous, especially with the Bronco, it’s such an iconic thing for me and for everybody else too, but I just do it,” Gillies said. “There’s nothing that you can mess up that someone can come in and help you fix, so just go and do it. And then as soon as you get into a groove and you understand what needs to happen, it’s very meditative, and it’s like OK, this is why I’m doing this.”