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’re a racing enthusiast, history buff, or a fan of Fords in general, this book is required reading for your shelf.”
Pages : 192
Size : 10 X 10 (inches)
Format : Hardback
Illustrations : 136 color, 196 b/w
Charlie Henry, in addition to working at the Kar-Kraft facility, earned a degree in automotive mechanics and shared his passion and knowledge with high school, community college, and university students. During nearly 20 years in Chrysler’s performance and race parts group, Charlie managed aftermarket sales, special events, and various product lines. After leaving Chrysler, Charlie started his own consulting business to serve the performance and race aftermarket. Although he has written several magazine articles, this is his first book.
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: Prelude to Kar-Kraft: A Little Concept Car
Chapter 2: Ford Meets Ferrari: Shopping for a Race Winner
Chapter 3: Preparing for Le Mans: The GT 40
Chapter 4: The Creation of Kar-Kraft: From Slough to Dearborn
Chapter 5: Going for the Win: The Mk II and Mk IV
Chapter 6: Boss 302: How to Win in Trans-Am
Chapter 7: Boss 429: Just Crazy and Hairy
Chapter 8: Other Race Cars: It Wasn’t All GT 40s
Chapter 9: Prototypes and Experiments: Fun in the Shop
Chapter 10: Special Vehicles and Projects: More Than Just Race Cars
Chapter 11: The Checkered Flag: All Good Things Must End
“It’s a great read with many individual stories and pictures never before seen.”–Mark Weisseg (07/20/2017)
“A solid read from a passionate insider.”–Mark Wigginton”American Car Collector” (10/27/2017)
“You may not have asked for it, or have known that you wanted it, but–now that you have it–it is a treasured possession.”– (08/11/2017)
“A stellar book on many of the hottest cars to ever wear the ‘Blue Oval’.”–Old Cars Weekly (11/16/2017)
“An engrossing history of the company…”– (12/08/2017)
Awarded the M.J. Duryea Memorial Cup award for outstanding contribution to automotive history.– (02/15/2018)
“You don’t have to bleed blue to appreciate this comprehensively researched and fascinating book.”–Muscle Car Review (04/11/2018)
2018 Silver Medalist – Best Book– (08/07/2018)
“Any Ford fan will be thrilled to dive into this well-crafted, attractively presented book.”– (12/08/2017)