Kar-Kraft: Race Cars, Prototypes and Muscle Cars of Ford's Special Vehicle Activity Program
Get the inside story of how Ford used Kar-Kraft to win Le Mans and take revenge on Ferrari, succeed in NASCAR, NHRA, Trans-Am, and Can-Am racing, create prototypes, and produce muscle for the street.
For the first time ever, author Charlie Henry, a former Kar-Kraft employee, provides an in-depth look into this skunkworks facility. Additional insight and recollections from more than 10 other former Kar-Kraft employees are included as well.
The story of Kar-Kraft began, as did many others in the automotive industry, with an axe to grind. In 1963, Ford was seriously interested in purchasing Ferrari. Ferrari was a legendary brand with considerable success in racing, and Ford saw the acquisition as a great way to be instantly successful in the racing arena. When Enzo Ferrari realized that Ford would not give him complete control of the racing program, he backed out of the deal late in the process. Ford had spent millions in vetting and audits, which then set in motion a vengeful response against Ferrari. The result was the unthinkable: Ford beat Ferrari at Le Mans.
Ford wanted to become competitive quickly, but it did not have the race history or resources in house. To remedy the situation, Ford searched the U.K. for an independent company to help accelerate its race car development. It first settled on Lola Cars and set up Ford Advanced Vehicles. Later, Ford brought its Le Mans effort to the U.S. and the Kar-Kraft relationship was established. Although Kar-Kraft was technically an independent company, it really only had one customer: Ford Special Vehicles. Kar-Kraft's story doesn't begin and end with the GT 40 that took the win away from Ferrari at Le Mans. Ford expanded upon the program and organized an all-out assault on racing in general. In addition, street versions of the Boss 429 were assembled under its roof. And fabled prototypes, including the LID Mustang, Boss 302 Maverick, and Mach 2C, were all assembled in Ford's contracted race shop. And then, out of the blue, its doors closed for good on a cold day in 1970.
History tells us that Ford won Le Mans, the Daytona 500, and the Trans-Am championship. But it doesn't tell us how this was accomplished. Henry does just that. Whether you‚Äôre a racing enthusiast, history buff, or a fan of Fords in general, this book is required reading for your shelf.