Former Ogle Design boss Tom Karen to be made an OBE

Mike Humble

With a career that started in the `50s, former managing director and chief stylist of the famed Letchworth based Ogle Design, Tom Karen, has made it onto the Queens new years honours list by means of the OBE.

Tom Karen OBE with one of his most famous designs – the Scimitar GTE                          (Image:

After a brief flirtation in the aeronautics industry, Karen undertook his first automotive role with the Ford design studio under the chairmanship of Sir Patrick Hennessey in 1955. Answering a call from David Ogle to join him a few years later, it was with Ogle Design in Letchworth where Tom made his name in the world of design.

Sadly, David Ogle was killed in a car accident in 1962 and Tom stepped up to the plate taking on the role as managing director and chief stylist – a role he was fill until 1999. Now in his nineties Tom shows no sign in slowing down, in fact creativity is his lifeblood and he never stops doodling, modelling and creating things in his little workshop.

roadtrain ferry
Ogle Design under Karens stewardship won the Leyland / Motorpanels contract for the Leyland C40 series cab that eventually morphed in the T45 series of trucks.

On an automotive level, his creations have affected or touched each and every one of us. Cars such as the Scimitar GTE, the Bond Bug and the Leyland T45 truck range continue to be iconic vehicles. Ever ridden a Raleigh Chopper back in the day? – you have Tom Karen to thank for that too.

The good stuff we did getting recognition at last

Tom Karen OBE

I’m lucky to have Mr Karen on my contacts list and he’s pleased as punch to be recognised for the work that he and Ogle Design gave to the world. I’m sure you will join me in raising a glass and giving it a wiggle to Tom Karen OBE.



One comment

  1. Your far too modest Mike, to say that Doc Tom is also an AutoB contributer. Maybe you should go to the palace on his behalf and collect the gong?

    Congratulations to all, it’s always nice to see a British empire medal handed out.

    God speed

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