Dec 4, 2007 | Views: 4,100
The deal to buy out Ferrari fell through. Even if a Ferrari carried a Ford flag, it wouldn't quite have been the same as a Ford winning. Carroll Shelby's Cobras were winning races in the early 60's but the Cobras were hybrids, not true Fords. The engines may have been Ford but the body was English. The leadership at Ford wanted a Ford to win races.
Therefore, Ford Advanced Vehicles was created. A team was sent to LeMans in 1963 to witness the race and view the competition. That team included Carroll Shelby. Ferrari took the first 6 places, a Shelby American Cobra placed 7th and an independent Cobra completed half the race.
The next project was to find a body. These were the days before computerized design and wind tunnels. At a car show in England, an Englishman named Eric Broadley displayed a Ford powered body he called the Lola GT. The body was very aerodynamic, the roof was only 42" off the ground. The construction was very unique for a race car, as it was a uni-body. The car did not have a frame as other cars did. Instead, the body was one piece forming the frame of the car.
Broadley signed a two-year contract with Ford. John Wyler, an Englishman, was named team manager. (Wyler was in charge of the Aston Martin team that Carroll Shelby had won the 1959 LeMans with.) Shelby was brought in to run the project PR, race the new cars in the US and market the street version of the car.
Broadley's design was put to wind tunnel tests at the University of Maryland. Ford engineers redesigned the body to fit specified chassis dimensions. Air scoops were put on both sides (also found on the 1962 Mustang 1 Ford developed.) Originally the scoops were to duct air into side mounted radiators. Not enough air entered the scoops to make a difference for the radiators, so they were redesigned to cool the rear brakes. The car was named the GT40, GT because it would race in the GT series, 40 because the car was only 40 inches high.
The interior had flow-through ventilation designed by Ford to cool the interior. An aluminum 4.2 liter (256 CID) Fairlane V-8 powered the GT40. With four Weber carbs, the engine put out over 350 horsepower. A 4-speed trans-axle (Colotti type 37) put the power to the wheels. This was the only one of its kind available.
Ten months later, two GT 40s were shipped to Nurburgring, Germany for their first race, but the GT40 target was the 24 Hours of LeMans in April. Three GT40's were prepared for LeMans. The GT40's were far from successful. Early in the race there was little doubt the GT40's were the fastest cars on the track. The Ginther/Gregory GT40 lasted six hours before the transmission took it out of the race. The Collotti 4-speed was plagued with problems. The engines weren't reliable either. During the 1964 season the GT40's had 10 starts and 10 DNFs (Did Not Finish). The team was demoralized. Broadley quit.
At the 1964 Nassau Speed Week, the last time a Ford team raced the two GT40's, both cars had suspension failures. They were poorly prepped, primarily due to lack of enthusiasm. The car, driven by Bruce McLaren, lasted three laps of the preliminary Tourist Trophy race and was parked. The Phil Hill GT40 did better. It came in third in the preliminary race and went out in the 17th lap of the next race. Neither car was entered in the main race, the Governor's Cup.
After a disastrous 1964 racing season, Ford turned the GT40 project over to Carroll Shelby and Shelby American. Ford's team had proven the GT40's could compete with the best of Europe but 10 DNFs out of 10 starts called for an experienced hand. The Shelby American team had been winning a lot of races with the Cobras. Even though the Cobras were Ford powered, they weren't Fords. Cobras were a hybrid car at best. And Lee Ioccoca at Ford Motor Company wanted Ford to have racing victories. Ford asked Shelby to pull the factory support of the Cobras and race the GT40's instead. Carroll Shelby had no trouble understanding the request and closed down the official Cobra racing efforts, devoting all Shelby American's efforts to win with the GT40's.
During the 1964 season, GT40's couldn't stay in the races. Engines would break. Transmissions burnt up. The first thing the Shelby team did was pull the exotic, troublesome engines and replaced them with the tried and true 380 HP 289 CID. The Shelby team also reconstructed the unreliable ZF 5 speed transaxle (21 changes in all).
Shelby's GT40 team won the first two races of the 1965 season at Daytona and Sebring. The next three races, Monza, Targa and Nurburging were disappointing at best. Bob Bondurant was driving a GT40 with John Whitmore at Targa. The race was only 10 laps long but each lap was 45 miles. They drove it to as high as third place prior to some mechanical problems and a crash. . The car had a continuous oil leak during practice. They thought it was fixed before the race. When Bondurant pitted, half of the oil was laying on the floor. During Whitmore's turn at the steering wheel the left front wheel came off. A local resident found the knockoff that secured the wheel, planning to keep it as a souvenir. Whitmore talked him into giving it back and put the wheel on the GT40. Back in the pits, Bondurant took over. On the track, Bob hit some loose gravel, went off the road and hit one of the kilometer markers buried along the track. It smashed the front of the car, put the car up on two wheels and almost flipped the car over. It landed on all four wheels. Bondurant got out the car and started walking back to Cerda. Along the way he came across a bar in a hotel and that's where Carroll Shelby later found him.
But while the GT40's were being prepped, Ferrari and the competition were also gearing up for the upcoming confrontation. More horsepower was needed for the GT40 so Shelby's team modified a Mk I to accommodate the 7 liter 427 CID. The small block 289 would power the GT40's to 200 MPH, but the 500 HP 427 topped 210 mph the first time out with Ken Miles at the wheel. Called Mk IIs, the big block GT40's were plagued with aerodynamics & high speed handling problems.
At LeMans in `65 the GT40's ran off with the race only to succumb one at a time to problems with the new Kar Kraft 5 speed transaxles. The small block GT40's had gearbox and cylinder head problems. All dropped out of the race. Ford once again pulled out of European racing for the rest of the `65 season.
Ford regrouped by the '66 racing season and was even more determined to win in Europe. The big block was definitely the way to do it. A decision was made to enter three teams, under the assumption that three cars were the most any one team could handle successfully. In addition to Shelby American, Ford enlisted the help of big block stock car winners, Holman & Moody and Alan Mann. Ford's Kar Kraft tested all the 427 engines and drive trains for reliability.
A Mk II GT40 was converted to an open roadster. It was given to Bruce McLaren for further development. The 427 powered car was entered in the `66 Sebring race and Ken Miles drove it to first place. An interesting story is told about Dan Gurney in that race. Gurney had qualified for pole position in a Mk II. At the start of the race, Gurney was the first one to sprint to his car, only to find his GT40 wouldn't start. The rest of the 64 cars had gotten away and were out of sight before he got the big block started. By lap 10, Gurney had passed 54 cars to take 10th place. By the first hour he had set a new lap record and moved past Ken Miles to lead the race. Gurney & co-driver Grant held 1st place until the very last lap. Only 1/4 mile from the finish the GT40 quit! Gurney got out and pushed the car across the line, only to be disqualified. If he had stayed in the car, he would've gotten 2nd.
Ford sponsored eight GT40's in the 1966 LeMans: Mann had -2, Shelby-3 and Holman & Moody-3. Also in the race were 5 privately owned GT40's. By the end of the race, only three were still running. But two of Shelby's finished 1st & 2nd, and Holman & Moody's sole surviving GT40 took 3rd. After three long frustrating years, Ford had finally won at LeMans. Ford also won the `66 World Prototype Trophy and World's Sports Car Championship. The Europeans called it a fluke. Ford was determined to prove it wasn't.
At the '66 LeMans a new GT40 body was tested. Dubbed the "bread wagon" because the rear didn't slope towards the back of the car, the body was constructed of an aluminum honeycomb glued together. The Mk IV set the fastest lap ending all doubts. Four more Mk IVs were built by Kar Kraft for the '67 LeMans. This was the first GT40 body to be built entirely in the US. During testing at Riverside, Ken Miles was killed when his Mk IV crashed for no reason, costing Shelby another old friend and his top development driver. Miles' death slowed the Mk IV project until the Mk IIs started having transaxle problems at the '67 Daytona race. Once again Shelby's team was called in the get the Mk IVs ready for LeMans. In less than a month, Shelby's team had the Mk IV running faster the Mk IIs. One Mk IV was entered at Sebring and it came in first. By LeMans, seven Mk IVs were ready. Shelby was given two Mk IVs and one Mk II. Holman & Moody had the remaining two Mk IVs and two Mk IIs. First & 4th place went to Shelby's GT40's.
Ford had taken the '67 LeMans, winning the race two years in a row. The other GT40's didn't finish. Only one was due to mechanical problems, the others were all out due to accidents. Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt drove Shelby's winning GT40 at an average speed of 135.48 MPH for the 24 hours covering 3,249.6 miles, breaking the old record by the greatest margin ever! That record wasn't broken again until 1971. After the race, the 427 was dynoed at 499 HP, four more than it had at the beginning of the race.
After the `67 LeMans race the International racing rules committee banned engines larger than 5 litres. The LeMans officials had even tried to stop the GT40's during the race when it was obvious no other car could keep up with the Fords. Ford had proven its point, and withdrew from active racing after that. Ford won the '67 World Sports Car Championship for the second year. Shelby also quit international racing.
That wasn't the end to the story of the GT40's. John Wyer, supplier of the original GT40 bodies, fielded a team of 289 powered Mk Is backed by Gulf Oil, called Mirages. Wyer's team won all but one of the International Championship races in `68, winning the World Manufacturers Championship. The Europeans were beside themselves. Ford's GT40 dominated racing in '68 with a body that was designed 4 years before!
The next year, in '69, Ferrari and Porsche had new 12 cylinder engines with the same capacity of the V-8 289s and new state of the art bodies. A Wyer GT40 won the 12 hours of Sebring. At LeMans, a total of 20 Porsches & Ferraris were entered against two GT40's and Wyer's' one Gulf-Ford GT40. Wyer's' Mk I, chassis number 1075, won giving Ford four straight years of victory at LeMans. That was also the same car that had won the '68 LeMans, something that has not since been done. The Ford GT40's were still the best racing cars in the world.
Check out the videos on my site for some awesome GT40 footage!
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Dec 4, 2007 | Views: 1,231
The closed coupe Ferrari 250 GTO's proved to be tough competition on the tracks of Europe. The Ferrari had the top speed needed on those courses. The Cobra roadster just wasn't fast enough to beat the Ferrari team. The open cockpit roadsters had the aerodynamics of a barn door. There was no denying the smooth, closed body of the Ferrari GTO's gave the GT 250’s a tremendous advantage. Even though the engines in the 250’s were 2 liters smaller, they were faster on the long straight aways than the more powerful Cobras.
In 1962, Enzo Ferrari all but forced the FIA to accept the highly modified 250 GT Berlinetta as a "production coupe." The FIA rules stated that 100 identical cars had to be built in order for it to qualify to be raced. Ferrari had sold a lot more than 100 of the 250 GTO's. But a loophole in the rules existed for the small European manufacturers. They could make slight body modifications to allow for changes in technological advancements during the model year. The FIA called it "normal evolution of type." When Ferrari submitted the "modified" Berlinetta GTO that he wanted to race, it had more than a few upgrades. In the 1962 papers he turned into FIA, the racing Berlinetta GTO was given a new suspension, brakes, shocks, a magnesium-cased transmission and a new six-dual-throat Weber carb manifold on top of a 3.0 liter V-12. Ferrari did not submit the required photos of the "optional body." The FIA bucked and said the GTO was a new car and wouldn't qualify. Ferrari put a lot of pressure on them to accept it as a GTO. The FIA finally agreed. In doing so, Ferrari opened up the rules to special cars from other manufacturers like a lightweight E-Type Jaguar, the Aston Martin 212 coupes and eventually the Cobra Daytona Coupe.
The European racing cars were all built with engines at or under 3.0 liters, the FIA limit. It was a lot more economical to use the existing tooling and molds in use for the production cars. The Ferrari GTO circumvented this requirement, too, opening the way for a 5.0 liter Cobra.
The Ferraris were unbeatable. The GTO was the perfect car for this racing series at this time. No other manufacturer's car could keep up with them. During 1963, while the Cobras were dominating the American USRRC racing, Ferrari owned the European FIA circuit. The Shelby American Cobras did so well in the US that Ford agreed to back a Shelby effort against the Ferraris.
The power of the Cobras on the short American tracks was unbeatable, another right car at the right time in the right place. But on the longer European courses, speed was the key. The Cobras had run against the GTO's early in 1963. The open roadster, small block Cobras couldn't exceed 160 mph. The closed coupe Ferraris were 20mph faster.
The aerodynamics of race cars was just being discussed seriously in the early 60's. Most people thought aerodynamics belonged in conversations about jets. Wind tunnels and cars were never in the same conversation. A 24-year-old Shelby American employee named Pete Brock convinced Shelby he could develop a new weapon for the Shelby arsenal, a coupe. Brock was originally hired to run the High Performance Driving School at Shelby American. He was a graduate of the Art Center School in Los Angeles and the youngest designer ever hired by General Motors. At GM he did a lot of styling work on the Corvette Stingray during 1957-58. Brock was also Director of Special Projects at Shelby American. He was convinced if a closed coupe could be built, it would have the speed needed. Aerodynamics were the key, Brock was convinced. He said "he was influenced by some obscure German papers written by Wunibald Kamm." Kamm wrote about air flow and how important it was not to fight the air. Brock told Shelby it would take four times the horsepower to get a roadster to go 200 mph than it would to go 100 mph. It would be a lot easier to reduce the drag of the cars than to increase the horsepower that much. And the car would qualify for FIA rules under the new interpretation used by Ferrari. The coupe project started in October 1963.
Designing a Cobra coupe was not high on the list at Shelby American. Chief engineer at Shelby American, Phil Remington, didn’t think a closed coupe was the answer and basically didn't support the project. Brock drew up some designs working with Cobra driver, Ken Miles, and one of the fabricators, John Ohlsen. Miles believed in the project. So did Ohlsen, a New Zealander, who had just joined the team. But more importantly, Carroll Shelby was also convinced.
The team was given Cobra CSX 2014 to form a body on. A plywood body buck was built on the 289 chassis. Aluminum panels were formed on the buck into a likeness of the coupe model. It passed the test. If nothing else, it sure looked like it could outrun the Ferrari’s. Not everyone was impressed the same, though. Benny Howard, an airplane builder from the 1930's, who stopped at Shelby American one day told Shelby it would take 500 horse power to move that body at 180+mph. The body design shape "won't work," Howard told Brock. Could the hot 289, so successful in the roadsters, provide enough horsepower to push the coupe to 200 mph?
Blueprints were sent to California Metal Shaping in Los Angeles for the body and inner panels. The first coupe was assembled at Shelby American as CSX 2287. The car did not look like any other car. The roof was odd shaped, the rear end was chopped off and it had a movable wing on the rear. These features didn't just look right to the rest of the Shelby team. But the die was cast and the coupe was assembled. Shelby backed most of Brock's design but he listened to Phil Remington about the "ring airfoil" and opposed Brock on it. A compromise was reached. The car would be tested without the wing. If it was needed it would be added later.
According to Pete Brock, the key to the success of the Shelby cars was the people picked to build them. The best fabricators and builders in Southern California came to Shelby American to see what was going on and what that Texan was up to. A lot of the new recruits were USAC racers, experienced in oval track racing. They may not have been engineers but they did have a lot of practical experience and Shelby trusted individual ability. They knew how to build cars that "went fast and stayed together", according to Brock. The Cobra Coupe was the final product of a group of experienced racers. Very few drawings were made and no formal engineers worked on the project.
At Riverside during the track tests, Ken Miles topped the track record by 3.5 seconds and also broke the Cobra record. Miles hit 183 mph without even pushing the car. It was 20 mph faster than the roadsters and Riverside's straight aways were not long enough to open it all the way. Brock had been right. Shelby was impressed and pleased. Miles however, felt the suspension wasn't stiff enough. One of the fabricators, Donn Allen, had just joined the Coupe team. With his help, Brock's team put a triangulated subframe over the twin-parallel-tube frame to increase the torsional stiffness. A basic roll bar added the finishing touches to the chassis strengthening. Over the weeks of testing, larger Goodyear racing tires were added making the car even faster. The tighter frame helped the bigger tires work even better to hold the Coupe to the track. And the car didn't demonstrate any lift at high speed. Brock still argued the coupe needed a rear wing for the European tracks but Shelby, Miles and Remington said the car was good enough and needed no more improvements. The only other changes made in preparation for Daytona was some small plastic fences attached to the windscreen pillars to divert the air coming off the windshield to the rear brakes for cooling and a couple of panels riveted on to cover the rear tires. By the time the car was ready for Daytona the team at Shelby American had a lot different opinion of the Coupe. Everyone was now excited about its debut on the Daytona track. It was being called the "Daytona car."
The first car, CSX2287, was tested at Daytona Beach in preparation for the Daytona Continental in February, 1964. Even though Deke Holgate, public relations manager at Shelby American, called it a Cobra Daytona Coupe named after its introduction at this race, the Cobra name was rarely used to describe the coupes. They were just Daytona Coupes.
At Daytona, Shelby substituted Bob Holbert for Ken Miles as Dave McDonald's co-driver. Shelby considered Miles too valuable to risk on the track in an unproven car. Miles was real disappointed because the coupe was built around him. And he knew he could drive the Coupe to victory at Daytona. He tried to convince Shelby that he knew the car better than anyone else and he knew how to get the most out of it. But Shelby prevailed and made Miles team manager instead of a team driver. Shelby figured that with the experience of Holbert and McDonald in the roadsters, they would quickly learn how to drive the Coupe. After all, the Coupe was a lot easier to handle on the track than the Cobra Roadsters. Both were right.
During the practice runs at Daytona, Miles set an rpm limit of 6,300. Holbert broke the GT lap record. The Cobra Coupes were three seconds faster then the Ferrari GTO's. Miles lowered the rev limit to 6,000 and Holbert still out ran the GTO's.
During the race, the Coupes were superb. By the end of the first couple of hours, the Couple lead the race by several laps. After six hours, Holbert came in to the pits complaining of smoke in the cockpit. When the rear tires were pulled off for replacement, it was obvious fluid was leaking out of the differential. The correct fluid wasn't available so Shelby told the crew to fill it with 50 weight engine oil untill they could find some differential grease. Holbert hit the tracks again.
Miles called him back in after a few laps to replace the engine oil in the differential. Since Holbert was in the pits, the fuel tank was topped off. The tank was still full from the prior pitstop. Gasoline spilled out of the tank onto the hot rear disc brakes and exploded. The car was immediately engulfed in flames. The wiring burned and the differential was finished. Shelby pulled the Coupe from the race. It turned out the cause of the problem in the first place was the seals deteriorated after the differential overheated. The inexperienced drivers in the coupe failed to turn on an electric circulating pump for the differential sometime in practice or early in the race causing it to get too hot. Miles knew about the pump and when to turn it on, the new drivers didn't. Could Miles have won with the Coupe? Would the differential have failed anyway?
After it competed at Daytona, the Coupe was reconditioned for the 12 Hours of Sebring coming in March, three weeks later. McDonald and Holbert made no mistakes this time and the won decisively. But the drivers baked in the car in the Florida heat. The Coupe hadn't been run for 12 hours before. The cockpit wasn't vented properly. Too much heat stayed in the cockpit. The team made some quick adjustments when they realized the drivers were suffering. Even though the modifications weren't enough, it helped the drivers survive the heat enough to win.
Ford was impressed with the performance of the Coupe and gave Shelby financial backing for a full assault on the European circuit. Five more coupes were needed. Four chassis’s were built at AC Cars in England then shipped to Shelby American for modifications. Shelby American was so swamped with work, the assembly of the coupes was subbed out. From the California factory, two out of the five chassis’s were shipped to Carrozzeeria Gransport in Modena, Italy. The plan was to also ship the prototype with the unfinished chassis to Modena for use as a model. But the prototype ended up in Sarthe, France, for official testing. Ford also sent two new GT40's. The GT40's were the center of attention for the press, Ford billed the GT40's as "the world's most technologically advanced race car." Both cars crashed during testing. The GT40's just weren't stable at speed. One of the GT40 drivers, Jo Schlesser, a French driver, who had crashed one of the GT40's, was given the chance to drive the Cobra Coupe. He loved the car. It handled so much better than the GT40's he was able to drive it to the fastest speed of the testing, 198 mph. Shelby asked him to drive the Coupe in some of the upcoming European races which he eagerly agreed to.
During the Coupe's first race at Spa, Brock's forecast of high speed instability was correct. Phil Hill found the car so unstable at over 180+, he brought the car in. The GTO's were more stable at high speed because of their tail wing. Phil Remington fabricated a wing for the Coupe the night before qualifications. The next day the Coupe handled so much better that Hill broke the track record and won the pole position. During the race, the Coupe lead from the start and held the lead until it began to have fuel problems. Hill pitted the car. Some kind of strange fibrous material was found in the tank. The filters and fuel pump were clogged. It took long enough to clear out the fuel system that Hill had no hope of catching up. Back on the track Hill gave one of the great heroic efforts in racing history. He not only caught up to the cars in laps, but broke the lap speed record three times. The fuel system clogged again and he was forced to pull in. The stuff in the fuel tank suggested sabotage but it could never be proven.
Meanwhile, Carrozzeria Gransport was trying to build the two new Coupes. Without the prototype to copy the design from, Gransport used their own disgression. The roof line didn't look right so they corrected the mistake giving the roofline a different contour. The error was discovered when the prototype finally made it to Modena. It was too late to correct the second Coupe, CSX2300. The two Coupes were shipped only days before the LeMans race to be prepped. The new Coupe, Chassis CSX2299, was assigned to Dan Gurney and Bob Bondurant. The prototype was given to Chris Amon and Jochen Neerspasch. The original prototype was definitely faster than the new coupe. In practice it was 11 mph faster in the Mulsanne straight. The cars were identical except for the roofline. But during the race, Gurney driving the new coupe actually took his class and ran the fastest GT lap at 3:58.7. The prototype team was disqualified for an illegal start after the Ferrari team protested. It wouldn't start so the Coupe was jump started in the pits with a separate battery, definitely an illegal move. It was leading the GT class when it was black flagged in the 10th hour of the race. Ironically, the first "wrong roofline" Coupe was also the winningist Coupe. Dan Gurney was larger and taller than Ken Miles, who the coupe's seating was designed around. He fit better in the taller CSX2299. As the premier driver in many of the races, his coupes were better prepped and serviced, so he won more of the races despite the taller profile of the car. Gurney was also a very aggressive driver and won more races because of it. (The cars were not built with sequential numbers. CSX2287 was built and modified then used as a model for CSX2286 that became the pattern for CSX2299 and CSX2300. )
The Ferrari/Daytona Coupe battle continued the rest of season. The last race was scheduled for Monza, Italy. Ferrari lead by a few points. Shelby had four Coupes ready. Ferrari was in trouble. For the first time in years, it looked like Ferrari wasn't going to win the European Championship. Somehow Enzo used his clout to have the last race cancelled. Ferrari had more points than the Shelby team, giving Team Ferrari the trophy once again. Enzo Ferrari couldn't win the 1964 trophy with his cars so he used what no one was expecting to win, political clout.
The next year, Ferrari pulled his team completely out of GT racing. He knew he couldn't beat that upstart Carroll Shelby's Daytona Coupes, so he didn't try. Instead, he went after Ford's GT40's in the Prototype Class. The struggling GT40 team just couldn't pull it together. Ferrari successfully won the Prototype class. Shelby's Coupes won the 1965 World GT Championship hands down. The Coupes won almost every race they were in. In fact in some of the races, they came close to out running the Ferrari prototypes and the GT 40's. (Ford threw in the towel on the GT40's after the embarrassing 1965 efforts and turned the project over to Shelby American with instructions to win with the GT40's and not the Daytona Coupes. The Daytona Coupe project ended there and the Coupes became a part of history.
After the end of the 1965 season, Shelby and Ford had no interest in the Daytonas, so they were left to languish in Alan Mann’s shop. Mann threatened to dump them in the North Sea off the coast of the England rather than pay a huge tax penalty that would be due if the cars remained in England. They had been brought in under bond with the agreement that they would leave England after the 1965 season. Somehow the accountants figured out that it would be cheaper to fly the cars home rather than pay the tax or the cost of their destruction. So they were returned to Los Angeles where they were initially advertised for sale for $8,500. Most sold in the $4,000 to $5,000 range and it was several years before all were sold. Since Shelby had moved on with Ford’s GT-40 program, no attempt was ever made to produce a street or competition version for sale to the public.
Pete Brock finished his story with these words, "The Daytona Cobra Coupes were the last of the Specials, a watershed point in race car design. From 1965 onward, race car technology followed the lead set by the Broadley/Ford GT40, cars engineered on paper and built with the most technologically advanced materials available. Never again would there be a successful design distilled only from the cumulative experience of a team's race mechanics, who literally envisioned cars on the shop floor and built them as they proceeded. The Daytona coupes were the end of an era."
Source of information: Shelby American from SAAC; A great article in Vintage Motorsport by Pete Brock on the Daytona Coupe, September/October 1993.
From TheCarSource.com and SecondStrike.com
Check out the videos on my site for some great footage of a Daytona Coupe!
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Dec 4, 2007 | Views: 4,319
A professional series was established called The Trans-American Sedan Championship. This series of races was made up of seven professional races at different tracks across the US. The manufacturer with the most points at the end of the series would win the first ever Manufacturer's Trophy. The Trans-Am races, as it became known, ranged from 200 miles to 2,400 miles. The races ran from 2 hours to 24 hours and required pit stops for gas and tires.
Group 2 cars were divided into only two classes, over 2 litres and under 2 litres. The maximum displacement was 5 litres or 305 cid with a maximum wheelbase of 116 inches, plus eligible cars had to seat 4 people, eliminating the ‘65 Shelby GT 350s. In the beginning, the GT 350s were set up as two seaters to qualify for SCCA's Class B Production. The rear seats were removed and replaced with a fiberglass shelf. Ford wanted the Trans-Am Manufacturers Trophy. After the great success of the GT 350 fastbacks, Ford immediately turned the project over to Shelby American.
Shelby American built sixteen 1966 Group 2 Notchback Mustangs, all for sale to independents. Chuck Cantwell, GT 350 Project Engineer and Jerry Schwartz, fabricator & mechanic were given the job of developing and prepping the cars. The Mustangs were built to GT 350R specs. The main differences between the Group 2 cars and the GT 350Rs were cosmetic. The Group 2 Mustangs were required to be close to stock with steel hoods and front ends. The GT 350Rs had fiberglass hoods and front aprons, and plastic side and rear windows. The Group 2 cars used glass windows. Stock interior and four seats were also required for the Group 2 cars.
The GT 350Rs and the Group 2 Mustangs had a lot of similarities. Both cars had:
•racing type, positive locking devices on the hoods and trunks
•7"x15" American racing magnesium wheels
•34 gallon fuel tanks with 3 /12" quick release caps and splash funnels
•trunk mounted batteries
•Stewart Warner electric fuel pumps
•six CS gauges housed in a special instrument housing -
fuel pressure, oil temp, 0-160 mph speedometer, 0-8,000 rpm tach, oil pressure, & water temp
•four point roll bar
•3" competition lap belts with shoulder harness
•18 quart radiator
•oil cooler with remote oil filter
•tube headers with 2 1/2" straight pipes dumping out just in front of the rear wheels
•"Monte Carlo" stabilizer bars to strengthen the front end
•export brace (named after the brace used on Mustangs for export)
•11.3" front disc brakes
•10"x2 1/2" wide rear drum brakes
•16" three spoke wood steering wheel
•Koni shock absorbers
•Detroit "No-Spin" rear ratcheting differential
•3.89 rear axle
•16:1 quick steering
•Borg Warner T-10 close ratio four speeds
•7.5 qt. finned cast aluminum oil pan
•over-ride traction bars
•Shelby American racing 289 cid with an aluminum hi-rise and a 715 cfm Holley carb. The engines developed over 350 horse power.
The Group 2 Mustangs were based on the Mustang GT. All Group 2 cars had the stock GT package including fog lights in the grilles. The lenses and bulbs were replaced with high intensity driving lights for better use during the night driving in some of the Trans-Am races. Most Group 2 racers came with a 1/2" rear sway bar and a Panhard rod. Some of the cars came with a fiberglass panel between the passenger compartment and the trunk allowing a spare tire to be mounted. The spare would not fit in the trunk with the larger gas tank. A spare tire was not required during racing. It is possible this option was shared with the four Group 1 race cars Shelby America sent to Europe. This a rare item to see today in restored cars. The SCCA required a metal bulkhead between the driver's compartment and the gas tank early in 1967. Any car raced during 1967 had to have the bulkhead replacing the fiberglass spare tire mount.
The 16 Group 2 Mustangs were painted white with black interiors. All cars were sold to independent teams. Shelby did not run a Group 2 Trans-Am team in 1966. Only one car was completed in time for the Trans-Am race at Sebring in 1966. Three were to be available. The first car went to Cooper, Clark & Associates. They paid $6,414 for the first Group 2 car in a bidding war. Later Group 2 Mustang sold for $5,500.
Shelby prepared cars placed in five out the remaining six races. Independent teams drove non-Shelby Group 2 Mustangs to wins at Mid-America Raceway, the Virginia 400 and second at Briar 250. Ford and Chrysler fought for the lead in points up to the last two races. At Green Valley, Brad Booker and John McComb driving a Shelby Group 2 Mustang beat out the "Team Starfish" Barracudas and Group 44 Dodge Darts to win, tying the standings at 37 each for Chrysler and Ford.
The last race of the season was at the Riverside Track in California. Shelby sent Jerry Titus to drive a Shelby Group 2 Mustang. During the qualifying on Saturday, Titus set a track lap record of 1:41.9 at an average of 91.854 miles per hour to earn the number one spot for the race on Sunday. The race started with a LeMans type start. Titus flooded his Mustang, leaving him next to last to start. A later broken oil filter cost him almost two laps while it was being replaced. Titus fought his way through the 34 cars to finish first, 48 seconds ahead of the Tullis Group 44 Dodge Dart. Mustang and Ford won the first Trans-Am Manufacturers Trophy.
Source of information: SAAC Shelby American, issue #50 from an article written by Bill Hanlon
The 1968 Shelby Trans-Am Efforts
After winning the Manufacturers Trophy in 1966 & 1967, the Ford team had some stronger competition for 1968. Chevrolet was about to get involved in a very big way. Vince Piggins at Chevrolet saw the great potential for sales of Camaros by racing in the Trans Am series. He committed to SCCA that Chevrolet would support the series.
Piggins personally took charge of the Z-28 project. The first Z-28s were powered with the proven 283 cid. Chevy's production engine was a 327, but it exceeded the maximum displacement allowed at 305 cid. Piggins came up with the idea of putting a 283 crank in a 327 block. The resulting 4x3 bore and stoke yielded 302.4 cid, a 13 cid advantage over the Ford 289, as much as 25 horse power. Roger Penske was enlisted to champion the Z-28 Camaros. The Z-28s won the last two races of the 67 season.
The 302 Camaros had a clear horse power advantage over the Mustangs. The ports and valves in the Ford 289 heads were too small to produce the horsepower needed. The best head available was the HiPo heads with small valves and ports. The new Ford 302 would be ideal for Trans-Am racing since it was under the 305 cid limit of class limit, but the HiPo heads would be even more restrictive on the longer stoke of the 302. Ford started a crash development program to fix the problem at Ford Engine and Development during 1967. This effort would lead to development of the Boss 302 in 1969. It was also during this development time that the infamous Ford "tunnel port head" came about. There was a pull out the stops effort to maximize the flow of the heads. The Ford engineers developed a brand new head with straight intake ports and the pushrod tubes running through the port. In the past the ports would twist around the pushrods. The intake valves were a huge 2.12" compared to 1.77" for the 289. The exhaust valves were 1.54" versus 1.44". Each port feed an individual cylinder. On paper this combination of the head design with the new 4 bolt main 302 looked unbeatable.
The first Trans-Am race was the Daytona 24 hour endurance race. This was the first time that the Trans-Am cars were included in the primary event. Trans-Am races were held prior to the main endurance races in 1967. The Mustangs dominated the Group 2 race. Jerry Titus and Ronnie Bucknam finished 64 laps ahead of the nearest Group 2 car, Mark Donohue's Penske Camaro. In fact, the Titus/Bucknam Mustang finished third overall just behind three Porsche 907 prototypes. It was a great showing for Ford, the Shelby Team and the Trans-Am cars. Half of the 30 cars that finished the race were Trans-Am cars. But Daytona wasn't the beginning of Ford's 1968 success, it was the end.
In order to win races, you have to finish them. The tunnel port engines just didn't have lasting power. Engine failure after engine failure kept the Mustangs from finishing the races. Penske's Camaros dominated the 1968 Trans-Am racing. Mark Donahue, driving a Z-28 won eight consecutive Trans-Am races, beginning with the second race, the 12 Hours of Sebring late in March 1968. Donahue actually won a total of 10 out of 13 races in the series. As for the Shelby team, the only races they won were the 24 Hours of Daytona in February, 1968, and Horst Kwech won at Riverside in car #17 in the next to last race of the season. The Manufacturers Trophy was already sowed up by Chevrolet.
The eventual blame for the Mustang's poor showing was laid on the "tunnel port" engines. The engine had a bad oiling problem at the top end of the rpms. Many engines came apart during the season. The Shelby Team even asked Ford to let them go back to the 289's, but Ford wanted the 302's to win, which they didn't. The "tunnel port" quickly faded away after the 1968 season. The Donohue Camaro was awesome on the track. The Penske team got more horsepower from the Chevy 302 than the Mustangs and flat outran them. As the season matured, so did the Camaro team. But with the Ford team's bad luck, it didn't take much effort to win the season. Chevrolet finished the season with 105 points to Ford's 63.
Before the '68 season was over, Ford was already working on a new block design, the 351, for the 1970 production runs. The 351 heads had huge canted intake and exhaust valves and ports. Someone decided to try those heads on the 302 block. With some slight modifications to water passages, the heads fit on the tunnel port block.
The Boss 302 and The Disappointing 1969 Season
The old Mustang body wasn't as streamlined as the new Camaros, Javelins or the Barracudas. Just in time for the racing season, Ford introduced a new Mustang and a new engine in 1969. The '69 Mustang body was completely redesigned to make the car more aerodynamic. The previous body styles were far too boxy to slice through the air. Many of the previous Shelby Mustang features were incorporated in the new design including a rear spoiler. But the shape of the body was secondary to the new secret weapon under the hood. During the disappointing '68 season, the teams raced a special tunnel port 302. The heads were impressive but the engine was a problem. The Shelby team went through 30 Ford supplied engines during the 1968 racing season. Ford wouldn't let the Shelby team go back to the proven 289. The new Ford 351 head was scheduled for '70. This new head design, made in Cleveland, had large staggered valves and huge ports.
Ford had Shelby Racing test engines with different heads at the end of 1968 to see what combination worked best. They tested the tunnel port 302 and the Engine and Foundry 302 (later known as the Boss 302, the 302 block with 351 heads.), and the Gurney-Eagle 302. The Gurney-Eagle proved to be the better engine, but Bill Gay, Chief Engine Engineer, prevailed saying the Cleveland heads were factory production and would be a lot cheaper than the exotic Gurney-Eagle ones for racing and street use. Gay said they were going to do it, it will work, and we'll make it work.
The Mustangs raced during the '69 season were shipped from the factory as 4-speed 351 Fastbacks, not as Bosses. A change in the SCCA rules allowed the fastback body to be raced, prior to this only the notchback coupes could be used. (When Shelby got the Mustang sanctioned for racing he did it with Fastbacks with no back seats, therefore coupes had to be raced since the rules required a back seat in the production cars.) The race cars were started in late '68, even though production cars weren't scheduled until April '69. Seven Mustangs were ordered from Dearborn, stripped with no paint, on December 3, 1968. A month later they were shipped. They were sold to Ford Administrative Services for $2,411 each. The prototype Trans-Am Mustangs were originally 428 Mach 1's, but these seven were basic 351 4 barrel fastbacks with 4 speeds. One car went to Kar Kraft. Three went to Shelby American and the last three went to Bud Moore. (The Moore team raced Mercury Cougars in 67 & 68 but the Cougars were dropped for 1969.) The cars were all stripped and rebuilt to the specifications used on the prototype Trans-Am Mustang at Kar Kraft. All special parts came from Kar Kraft. Interestingly enough, the car built at Kar Kraft was shipped completed to Smokey Yunick. Yunick was an old friend of Bunkie Knudsen, current president of Ford, from his GM days. The car was even painted in Smokey's colors, black with gold trim. That car never was run in the Trans-Am races.
It took the Shelby team six weeks to take their cars apart and rebuild them to Trans Am specs. Each car cost about $20,000. The car's weight was restricted to 2,900 pounds. The stock Boss 302's weighed in at 3,250 pounds. The distribution of the weight of the cars was shuffled around so that they were 50/50 front and rear. The interiors were removed completely, although the dash pad was saved and reinstalled. The windows were all replaced with lighter glass. The windows had to work, so the regulators were fabricated from aluminum to replace the heavy cast factory units. A mandatory roll cage was installed to stiffen the body. The factory seats were replaced with one racing bucket seat. A metal bulkhead was installed to separate the cockpit and the driver from the fuel tank in the trunk. A safety harness secured the driver in place. The Shelby team replaced the stock Ford shifter with a Hurst four speed, the Moore cars used the stock shifter.
The suspension of the Trans-Am Mustangs was pure race car. Trans-Am rules prohibited moving the suspension mounting points, so the roll cage was welded directly to the car suspension mounting points for strength. The cars were aligned perfectly to the computer specifications developed by Kar Kraft for the production Boss 302's. The A arms were replaced with heavy duty Boss 429 pieces using alloy bushings instead of the stock rubber. The 11.96 inch disc brakes from Lincoln Continental replaced the stock front discs. The stock rear brakes were modified and replaced with larger 11.3 inch discs. Thicker front stabilizer bars were used. Different front bars were used depending on the track and the conditions. Heavy duty forged spindles, racing coil springs and leaf springs were installed. The leaf springs had a Watts linkage added that restricted the side to side movement, allowing the spring to move vertically only. Traction bars were welded in above the leaf springs. Adjustable Koni shocks were put at all four corners. The mounting points were moved slightly for better control, contrary to Trans-Am rules. Single or twin radiators mounted just in front of the both sides of the rear axle used the cool air under the car on the rear end differential fluid. The modifications dropped the car about 3 inches from the stock height. A front spoiler hung under the front of the car with scoops just above to channel air to the front disc brakes. The 1969 cars did not use the rear spoiler. The Trans-Am Mustangs did not have the fake cut out "scoops" in the rear quarter panels like the production cars did. The early Trans-Am cars had two quick fill gas caps installed on either side of the trunk lid, later cars has a single cap above the lid. The doors had to open and latch, but they were held in place with click pins instead of the stock door latches. Twelve inch Goodyear racing tires were mounted on 15"x18" American Racing or British Mini-lite mags
The Trans-Am engines were provided by Ford's Engine and Foundry group. They were blue printed and balanced, race ready when shipped to Shelby Racing and Bud Moore. Every racing part was heavy duty to stand the rigors of the upcoming season. In the beginning a Cross Boss intake manifold was planned, similar to Chevy's Cross Ram intake. It had two huge 1250 cfm Holley carbs mounted in the front and rear on opposite sides. The size of the intake interfered with the distributor placement so a wider timing chain cover was made with an extension on the cam to reach the relocated distributor. But when the Holley carbs were finally available, the manifold runners were too long for power in the 5000-6000 rpm range. A single plane manifold was built with shorter runners. The intake had a runner for each of the Holley carbs eight barrels, one for each cylinder. The distributor was still in the way so a special off-set distributor was made. Since all parts used in racing had to be available as production parts, the Cross Boss intake was produced even though it wasn't used in the races. The valve cover breathers were stock Cleveland 351 valve covers that emptied into a collector to keep oil from blowing out on the track. The racing engines had over $6,000 of parts in them, a lot of money in 1969. But these special parts took the 290 horse power stock engine to a reliable 470 hp at 9,000 rpm.
Shelby recruited Peter Revson & Horst Kwech to drive his blue with white stripes Mustangs. Bud Moore's drivers were Parnelli Jones & George Follmer. A seventh car was shipped to Kar Kraft for Smokey Yurick but it was never raced. The Shelby American drivers were Revson in the #1 car and Kwech in the #2 car. Moore's cars were painted red and black with a white roof, hood and side stripes and numbers. Moore's cars were driven by Follmer in the #16 car and Jones in the #15 car.
The stakes were high in 1969. It was manufacturer against manufacturer. Winning was going to require more sophisticated methods. The Shelby cars were wind tunnel tested and prepped further by Shelby's veteran team. And the Shelby team was going to run its own Boss engines this year! Lots of other new ideas were used like front air dams, wider tires & fender flares and rear wing-spoilers.
On the track, the Boss 302 Mustangs were simply awesome. The first race at Michigan International Speedway, Irish Hills, Michigan, was won by Parnelli Jones driving for the Moore team. The win was originally given to Mark Donahue in a Camaro with Jones in 4th. The Ford team protested and the SCCA realized that Jones' laps had been undercounted and a couple of hours after the race Parnelli was given the win. The Jones' Mustang was the only one that finished. Revson got stuck in the mud after running off the track. Follmer lost his clutch and Kwech crashed his car into a spectator's car, killing the spectator.
The 2nd race, held at Lime Rock, Connecticut, on Memorial Day was won by Sam Posey in a Shelby Mustang. That was the Shelby team's only victory during the 1969 season. Three of the drivers skipped this race to drive at the Indy 500 race. Posey was driving Revson's car #1, John Cannon piloted the #16 car of Follmer and Parnelli's #15 Mustang was driven by Swede Savage. Kwech dropped out after 19 laps with brake problems after leading the race. Posey took the lead and stayed there. The race was between Posey and Savage. Posey broke a valve near the end of the race, slowing him down. Swede put forth a huge effort to catch him, but cut a tire on debris from the track, and came in second.
In June at Mid-Ohio even though the Mustangs ran a good race, the Bucknum Camaro slipped by finishing just ahead of the Jones' Mustang. All the Mustangs finished. Follmer was third, Revson came in second and Kwech was 10th.
At Bridgehampton, New York, Penske put Donahue in the Bucknum Camaro after his engine blew while warming it up. Even though Donahue had to start at the rear of the race since he did not qualify in the car, he fought his way to challenge the Mustangs. Follmer and Jones fought for first place for 29 laps. Jones went in for fuel leaving room for Donahue and Jerry Titus in a Chevy powered Firebird. Follmer won, Revson came in 5th. Jones went out with a broken shifter, a wiring fire and a flat tire. Kwech lost his transmission.
Following Lime Rock the Shelby Team was plagued with problems. Horst Kwech wrapped his Boss around one of the few trees on the Donnybrooke course in Brainerd, Michigan, in July, after running a great race. (Follmer's car went out in an accident in that race as well). Parnelli Jones won at Brainerd, his fourth win out of the last five races, and Revson came in 3rd. Donahue blew the engine in his Camaro. The Ford Boss Mustangs held 42 points to Chevy's 30, the Pontiac team at 13 and the AMC cars had 8.
The sixth race at Loudon, New Hampshire, was Donahue's second win of the season. Jones gave him a run for first but went out with an overheated engine. Kwech's engine broke early in the race. Revson came in third and Follmer fourth. The Mustangs had a six point advantage over the Camaros.
But the race that did in the Ford effort was at Ste. Jovite, Canada in August, 1969.The Mustangs did a tremendous job during the 3 hours of the Le Mans Circuit Trans Am that warm day in Canada. Jones, Follmer and Doanhue fought for the lead until the ninth lap. Jones' shift linkage jammed taking him out of the race. But the worst happened in Lap 14. Follmer's Boss blew an engine and spewed oil all over the track causing him to hit a guard rail. He had just gotten out of the car when a Mini plowed into his Mustang. Kwech slid into the fence pinning a marshal, breaking his arm. Revson hit the mess at speed jumping one car and landing on the hood of a Firebird. Three Mustangs were involved as well as a lot of the other cars in the race. The Mustangs weren't damaged that badly in the pileup. But after the tow trucks were finished, so were the cars. A tow truck driver looped a steel cable around the roof of Kwech's Mustang to lift it over the guardrail, doing serious damage to the car. All three Mustangs were all but destroyed. Donahue managed to miss the accident and went on to win the race. Camaro now lead the series, 49 to 46.
All the Mustangs were taken back to Detroit to salvage what was left. A couple of Boss racers were assembled from the wrecks of the three Bosses in the week between races. They were raced but not successfully. The welded and pieced together bodies just couldn't perform like the original ones.
At Watkins Glenn, only three Mustangs made it to the track. Kwech's car was out of the race. Jones took the lead early in the only original Boss but lost it with a bad tire. Donahue took the lead. Both Donahue and Jones were black flagged for passing under a caution flag, and both had to see the track steward. Donahue got there first and got back on the track while Jones was still getting his lecture. Jones never caught up. It was Donahue's third straight win. Follmer and Revson did not finish. The Camaro team now had 58 points to the Mustang's 52.
In August , at Laguna Seca in California, Dan Gurney replaced Horst Kwech in one of the Shelby cars. Ford felt Kwech wasn't the right driver. He had only finished one race. Gurney brought his own mechanics, but it didn't make any difference. Jones and Follmer traded first place until the sixth lap when Jones went out of the race with rear axle problems. Follmer lead until a brake line broke. Donahue won his fourth race. Gurney came in third, Revson was fourth. The Penske Camaro team now had 67 points to the Ford team's 56. After that race Gurney complained that the Shelby team wasn't getting the best parts, that they were going to Moore instead. But Lew Spencer said the Shelby team's problems came from the loss of Chuck Cantwell to the Penske team. Cantwell had been the Shelby team's suspension man. Spencer felt that without Cantwell, the Moore team was ahead of the Shelby team.
At Kent, Washington, the Ford team needed to take first and second to catch the Camaro team. Ford rented the track prior to the race to try and sort out the problems with the cars. During the race, Parnelli Jones' held the lead for the first 74 laps. Donahue blew his Camaro's engine. It was looking good for the Ford team. Jones pitted with a stuck safety valve in his fuel tank. Bucknum took the lead in the Camaro. Jones got back in the race and gave it another valiant effort. During the last lap, he blew a tire and crossed the finish line with sparks flying, coming in second to Bucknum. Revson finished in fourth and Dan Gurney came in tenth. Follmer had an accident in lap 129, almost at the end of the 135 lap race. Five straight wins for the Camaro team gave them 72 points to Ford's 62.
The September race at Sears Point in Sonoma, California, gave the Penske team another chance to out perform the Ford team. Revson was out of the race with carb problems. The Jones's pit team was a lot slower than Donahue's. Even though Jones lead most of the race, Donahue's team had his Camaro back on the track much faster. Donahue's team did his three pit stops faster than Jones's team did his two. In the final seven laps. Jones was driving like a wild man, sliding around corners, locking up his brakes, and speed shifting in the straight aways.
The season ended with the Boss Mustangs only giving a great showing. Mark Donahue, driving his Penske Camaro, out did the Mustangs again to win the 1969 championship. But it took Donahue winning six of the last seven races to beat Parnelli Jones and the remaining Mustangs. Moore's team was faster and more dependable than the Shelby team, earning Ford's full support by the end of the season. The race wasn't just to win with the Mustangs. It was also to see who carried the Ford flag next season. The Shelby American team was out.
Ironically, Shelby American won Ford the 1966 and 1967 Trans Am Manufacturer titles before the 1970 trophy, without factory support.
1970 Trans Am Racing - Ford Finally Wins, Again
The 1970 Trans Am season was a replay of the prior year's manufacturer wars with one major exception, the Shelby Racing team pulled out of Trans Am racing totally. Trans Am racing had become the top race in the country. Attendance was way up at the races. The Ford Boss 302's and Z-28 Camaros were competing for street sales with the public.
The competition was going to be tough in 1970. Penske took his team, including Mark Donahue, to American Motors, leaving Chevy. Chrysler was back with two cars, a Plymouth Barracuda and a Dodge Challenger. Jerry Titus was back in a Firebird for Pontiac even though GM wasn't officially supporting racing. Chevy hired Jim Hall for the Camaro team.
Chrysler was serious about the '70 Trans Am series. The company was losing a lot of money and saw the Trans Am races as a way to sell more cars. Phil Remington, late of Shelby American, was hired to build the race cars at the All American Racers in Costa Mesa, CA. Chief Chrysler engineer, Pete Hutchinson, was tweaking the destroked 340 engine to 460 horse power. Dan Gurney was the lead driver. The Dodge Challenger team had an identical car to the Barracuda, except the engine was built by Keith Black and the driver was Sam Posey, who won his first Trans Am race in a Shelby Boss 302 at Lime Rock. Both cars had seen little track time prior to the series beginning.
The American Motors Javelin team looked like the team the Moore Mustangs had to beat. Chuck Cantwell, a former suspension magician at Shelby American, had joined the team the prior year. Mark Donahue was the lead driver. The engines were specially prepped by Traco.
The Chevy team was at a great disadvantage. The loss of the Penske team and a new body that wasn't scheduled for release until mid year threatened Chevy's repeat of the 1969 win in 1970. Jim Hall quickly put two Camaros together. One to be driven by him and the other driver was Ed Leslie. Even though GM was officially uninvolved in racing, the Hall Camaros were factory race cars.
Pontiac was also at a great disadvantage. GM wasn't supporting racing. The destroked 400 cid engine weighed in at 75 pounds more than the Chevy 302's. And they only had one car to race.
Ford only sponsored one team for the '70 season and that was Bud Moore's team. Ford cut back 75% on its racing budget. Ford didn't think the Shelby team could give the results based on the prior year's performance. The Bud Moore cars were 1969 Mustangs with 351 4V engines and 4-speeds. They were updated to '70 sheet metal. Kar Kraft rebuilt the cars to Trans-Am specifications and shipped them to Moore. The cars were painted yellow with black center stripes. Parnelli Jones drove car #15 and George Follmer piloted car #16.
The rules were changed in 1970. The minimum production of cars was raised from the 1,000 minimum in 1969 to 1/250th of the manufacturer’s total production in the prior year- a minimum of 2,500 cars. Rules were relaxed in other areas. More flexibility was allowed with engines, rear ends and suspension. The dual 4 barrel carbs, allowed in 1969, were restricted to a single 4 barrel. Ford developed the Autolite In-Line carb to take advantage of this rule.
Jones and Follmer drove the Trans Am Mustangs against Mark Donahue and Pete Revson in AMC Javelins; Swede Savage driving a Plymouth Barracuda; Sam Posey piloting a Dodge Challenger and Milt Minter, Vic Elford and Jim Hall in Chevy Camaros. It was a race to the finish and to the last race. Parnelli Jones beat out Mark Donahue by one point to give Ford its third Trans-Am Manufacturers' Championship.
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