We don't usually talk about Ford Motor Company in this magazine unless it's in connection with one of its European acquisitions, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover or Volvo. But, since Ford celebrated 100 years in business on June 16, 2003, we thought it might be appropriate to look back at Ford in Europe and at Ford of Europe Inc., the umbrella organization created more than 35 years ago to manage the company's European businesses.
Ford has had a presence in Europe since its first year in business, 1903. Two new Fords were shown at the motor show in London in March 1904, and shortly thereafter a sales agency was set up in London. Proprietor Aubrey Blakiston ordered 12 of Henry's first Model As. Ford historians note that it took an entire calendar year to sell those first 12 cars.
The next major market to see Ford enter was France, by a factor of two the largest country in western Europe and home to Peugeot, Renault, DeDion and dozens of other homegrown brands. Ford went into business there in 1908, with an American manager.
By 1906, Ford Model Ns were selling like free beer in England, and franchise operator Percival Perry was making a name for himself. Three years later, Ford opened its first satellite company outside the U.S., in England, and in 1911 built its first factory outside the U.S., near Manchester. By 1913, Ford was also building cars in France, near Bordeaux.
During the Great War, Perry was seconded to the British government to run its agricultural mechanization ministry, and afterward Perry convinced Henry Ford that tractors could be as good a business as cars. So in 1919, Ford opened a Fordson tractor plant in Ireland near his family's ancestral hometown of Cork. The company stayed in the tractor business for 80 years.
By this time, Ford had been producing the Model T for 10 years in the U.S., and Henry Ford's master plan was to sell that same car, with minor changes, all over the world. So he needed European manufacturing capacity, and he found it, first in Copenhagen, in 1919, then in Cadiz, Spain. A huge plant in Trieste, Italy, was added in 1922. The original French plant in Bordeaux was supplanted by a new one outside Paris in Asnieres in 1925. Ford of Germany, which would play an enormous part in company history, was opened in 1925 in Berlin, and others quickly followed: Belgium, Netherlands, Turkey, Romania, Sweden, Finland, Portugal and Greece. Russia built Fords, too, but they were the Fordson tractors, not cars.
By 1927, the Model T had run its course, after nearly 16 million units had been produced at plants all over the world. Henry Ford decided that all of the European companies should be administered by a new company set up for that purpose in England, Ford Motor Company Limited. A new plant complex, modeled after the famous Rouge facility in Dearborn, was set up on the banks of the Thames River east of London at Dagenham, and this was one of the twin hubs of Ford's European activities until it closed in 2001.
The Depression in 1929 altered Ford's business plan mightily. The troubles were compounded by the new Model A's unsuitability for Europe, with its giant 200 cu-in. (3.2-liter) four-cylinder engine subject to heavy taxation. So, the first Ford designed specially for European market conditions, the Model Y, with a tiny 993cc engine, was introduced in 1932. Built at plants in six different countries, the Model Y was a European staple for more than 35 years.
Throughout the '30s, Ford also built tiny 2.2-liter V8 engines for its French and British cars, while the Germany-based company stayed with fours. The Rouge complex, built on a river in Dearborn, and Dagenham, built on the Thames river near London, were soon joined by the huge plant in Cologne, Germany, built on the Rhine. Henry was a stickler about putting big plants next to navigable rivers to keep shipping costs down.
But Europe after World War I, with the Weimar Republic in Germany, the Depression, and rampant automotive nationalism everywhere, grew more and more difficult for Ford. When World War II broke out in 1939, the Ford plants in continental Europe were taken over by the Axis and run by Ford of Germany. Ford of Britain in Dagenham fought back and built 13,000 half-tracks, 250,000 V8 engines and 185,000 staff vehicles during the war, while the Manchester plant built more than 30,000 Rolls-Royce Merlin supercharged V12 aircraft engines for the RAF.
By 1946, the war over, Henry Ford was 83 years old, feeble of body and mind, and his only son, Edsel, was already dead. So the eldest of his three grandsons, Henry Ford II, took over the company at the tender age of 28, formed the International Division and first toured his European operations in 1948. It was readily apparent that one model for all those countries would not work, so Ford of Britain and Ford of Germany went their separate ways on product, Germany with the Taunus, Britain with the Consul and Zephyr; the rest of the markets cherry-picked their cars and trucks from there.
These cars featured overhead-valve engines for the first time, monococque construction and MacPherson struts, in 1950. Britain and Germany continued to innovate separately for years, Britain with the Anglia and then, in 1962, with the legendary Cortina, the car that would put Ford on the map in world rallying and saloon racing with the Lotus Cortina and its 1.6-liter twin-cam engine. In Germany, the Taunus grew up into a Cardinal V4-engined market staple, and in 1962 the Taunus 12M, Ford's first ever front-drive car, debuted. Ford even sold the Cardinal V4 engine to Saab.
In 1963, Henry Ford II tried to buy Ferrari outright, but Enzo Ferrari reneged on the deal. Henry was so miffed, he vowed to beat Ferrari at his own game: racing. That fit of pique led to the creation, at a special skunk works in Slough, England, of the fabulous 7-liter V8 Ford GT40, one of the most successful (four Le Mans wins in a row, including a one-two-three in 1966) and desirable sports cars of all time.
By the middle '60s, with far-flung manufacturing, assembly and component plants all over Europe, Henry Ford II decided that a new company should be put in place to coordinate product planning, design, sourcing, purchasing and other functions to cut costs, unify product lines and get product to market quicker and cheaper than ever before. Ford of Europe was created in 1967, years before the Common Market and the European Community.
In 1967, Ford also created one of its most successful strategic alliances ever when it contracted Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth's Cosworth company to build the DFV four-cam 3-liter V8 engine for Formula One racing.
It turned out to be the most successful racing engine of all time, with 155 Grand Prix wins in the hands of many, many teams and drivers over the years. The Cosworth DFV and DFX engines went on to dominate USAC and CART racing here in the States and led to a number of production car programs over the years.
First of these was the Sierra Cosworth coupe and the Sierra Cosworth Sapphire sedan, powered by turbocharged 205-bhp 2.0-liter Ford Cosworth engines, and suitable for competition in European and national touring car racing. Then there was the fabulous Ford RS 200 rally car, intended for the FIA Group B formula that included the Porsche 959. It never really got off the ground, because the cars were so expensive to build. Ultimately, in 1998, Ford bought Cosworth outright.
The first rear-drive Escort came in 1968, followed by the Twin Cam model using the Lotus Cortina engine. Such was the demand for these hot lightweight cars that in 1970 Ford formed Advanced Vehicle Operations in Aveley, only a few miles from the Dagenham plant, the Dunton engineering center and the Warley headquarters, in Essex County, England. At its peak, AVO built 30 Escort Twin Cams per day. Equally important, though, was the Kent engine, the standard 1.6-liter pushrod engine around which was created a most popular race car, the Formula Ford, and the industry that went with it.
In 1969, Ford of Europe started up a partnership with Italian industrialist Alejandro de Tomaso, and in 1970 Ford bought almost 85%of the shares, leading to the creation and production of the de Tomaso Pantera, with radical styling, monococque construction and a rear-mounted Ford 351 V8 engine. It turned out to be one of the worst sports car programs Ford would ever be involved in, with lots of quality problems from the beginning to the end of the run.
Ford also acquired the famous Ghia design studio in Turin, Italy, and used it as a third European design center, along with Dunton in England and Merkenich, Germany, until quite recently when it was sold off.
Perhaps the most significant sporty car Ford of Europe built in the 1970s was the Capri, which was sold all over Europe and came here as a Mercury. The little notchback coupe was available with 1.3-, 1.6- and 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines, then later 2.6-, 2.8- and 3.0-liter V6 engines, which led to the creation of the RS 2600 and RS 3100 road race cars and a long racing relationship between Ford of Germany and Erik Zakowski of Zakspeed fame.
Zakowski's friend, Michael Kranefuss, ran Ford of Germany's racing department, then Ford of Europe's racing department, and then moved to the States in 1980 to preside over the establishment of Ford Special Vehicle Operations (SVO), which has been running racing, parts development, aftermarket liaison and production car development in various forms (now called Ford Racing Technology) ever since. Under Kranefuss and PR boss Walter L.A. Hayes, Ford returned to Formula One racing in 1985 and has been involved continuously ever since. Kranefuss got Ford championships in CART, NASCAR, NHRA, SCCA and IMSA in short order.
Another hugely successful product for Ford of Europe was the little front-drive Fiesta of 1975, built in England, Germany and a new plant in Valencia, Spain, and exported to the U.S. as well. Millions upon millions of Fiestas have been built, and the car continues to be a European transportation staple to this day in its fourth generation.
The front-drive Escort Mk II came in 1980 and was the fastest-selling car in Ford of Europe's history, selling a million units in just 13 months. Combined with its U.S. version, it became the best-selling car in the world. Ford of Europe reorganized its hot-car division, turning AVO into Special Vehicle Engineering or SVE, in 1980, under the tutelage of brilliant engineer, driver and racer Rod Mansfield, who would later go on to run Aston Martin. SVE has been turning out limited-production versions of most of Ford of Europe's models ever since, including the current Mondeo ST 200 and Focus ST 170.
For his lifelong contributions to the British economy and British culture in general, Henry Ford II was given an honorary knighthood in 1982. (Ford of Britain had the best-selling cars there for years on end, with market shares as high as 45%.)
The first Ford car of the aero generation, the Sierra, was introduced in 1982, and like the Fiesta and Escort before it and the Scorpio, Mondeo and Focus after it, was named European Car of the Year for its needle-moving design (both Sierra and Scorpio were sold here briefly under the Merkur name). In 1984, Ford finally achieved what Henry Ford and Henry Ford II had always wanted when Ford became the best-selling nameplate in Europe for the first time ever with the combination of Fiesta, Escort and Sierra.
The largest Ford-branded car ever sold in Europe, called Scorpio in continental Europe and Granada in England, was introduced in 1985, along with a permanent all-wheel-drive version of the Sierra sedan known as the XR4X4. Scorpio was the first car in Europe to have ABS brakes on all models.
In 1987, Ford of Europe was shocked to its very roots, along with the rest of the Ford world, when, on September 29, the high-living, hard-drinking, art-collecting, world-traveling, thrice-married Henry Ford II went to his big corner office in the sky.
Three weeks later, Ford, which had already acquired AC Cars from its then-owner Brian Angliss (later spun off after legal wrangling), saved Aston Martin Lagonda from extinction when it bought up the shares of its two major stockholders. Two years later, on December 1, 1989, Ford spent $2.5 billion to acquire Jaguar and save it, too, from certain death after an unsuccessful British government bailout scheme had run its course. Cosworth joined the fold in 1998, Pi Research in 1999, AB Volvo in 1999 and Land Rover in 2000.
Ford's business in Europe is so huge, so complex and so far-reaching that for many years Ford of Europe was a breeding ground for future senior executives, on the theory that, if you could sell cars in the cauldron of Europe, against VW, GM, PSA, Renault and Fiat, you were a pretty smart guy. Former Ford chairmen Don Petersen, Red Poling and Alex Trotman made their bones in Europe, along with guys like Bob Lutz and Jac Nasser (they can't all be winners), current Ford chairman and CEO William Clay Ford, Jr. (Ford Commercial Vehicles boss and Ford of Switzerland managing director, 1987-88), current Ford president Nick Scheele, current Ford of Europe boss and heir apparent David Thursfield, and designers Jack Telnack, Andy Jacobson, Uwe Bahnsen and Patrick Le Quement (now of Renault), to name but a few. J Mays, Ford's design boss, and a European (working for Audi and VW) by way of Oklahoma, recently opened a design center in the heart of London that will generate designs for all of Ford's products and subsidiaries around the world and do contract industrial design work as well.
Ford in Europe, and Ford of Europe, currently with 60,000 people doing business in 42 countries, has made an indelible mark on the European motoring industry over the last ten decades, and has saved four great marques from extinction in the process. For that alone, we should be thankful.
Ford-Cosworth World Champions
* Jackie Stewart, Tyrrell Ford: 1969, 1971, 1973
* Jochen Rindt, Lotus Ford: 1970
* Emerson Fittipaldi, Lotus Ford, McLaren Ford: 1972, 1974
* Mario Andretti, Lotus Ford: 1979
* Alan Jones, Williams Ford: 1980
* Nelson Piquet, Brabham Ford: 1981
* Keke Rosberg, Williams Ford: 1982
* Michael Schumacher, Benetton Ford: 1997
(Or, What's With European Car And Fords?)For those accustomed to something more along the lines of a red Ferrari or black BMW, this month's cover of european car might be something of a shock. It shouldn't be. The Ford Motor Company is celebrating 100 years of business, and one of the BIG parties is taking place this August at Laguna Seca. Ford is sharing the spotlight with another anniversary of sorts, as this will be the 30th edition of the Monterey Historic Automobile Races. Ford at the Historics? Here is what Steve Earle had to say:
"Ford's racing heritage is so diverse that it gets lost in everyday traffic with so many cars produced, and on the road it is easy to overlook the athlete in the company...like riding a bicycle down the street and not realizing you just passed Lance Armstrong. Ford has real muscle, past present and future."
The three Fords featured on the cover, plus two additional significant European Fords, are a perfect testament to Ford's century of automobile manufacturing and to the people who were inspired to build them.
Lotus Cortina Mk I
Despite the fact that Mike Schaffer was driving a vintage 1966 Lotus Cortina, he was having no problem keeping up with my new Saab 9-3 Vector. I had twice the horsepower, twice the suspension, big wheels and tires and traction control so sophisticated it's smarter than most drivers. Mike, on the other hand, was piloting a car with 13-in. wheels, a solid rear axle and leaf springs and 105 bhp. Amazing a car that old and rudimentary could hold such a frenetic pace up one of SoCal's most challenging mountain roads. Everything I'd heard about adding lightness to increase speed and the virtues of a balanced chassis (the Lotus Cortina is nearly 50/50) was playing out right on my tail. It was obvious the Lotus Cortina was way ahead of its time.
The Lotus Cortina was the brainchild of Ford of Britain's public affairs chief, Walter Hayes. He went on to take part in the founding of the Ford Advanced Vehicle Operation (FAVO), which was later responsible for such efforts as the GT40 and the Escort RS. The Lotus Cortina was conceived and developed rapidly, as anyone who owned one and had the rear suspension collapse will tell you.
So how did Lotus fit into the scheme of things? At the time, Lotus was developing a twin-cam engine based on the bottom end of Ford's 1499cc powerplant for its Elan, and Hayes knew Colin Chapman, the Lotus boss. Hayes proposed to Chapman the assembling of 1,000 Cortinas with the Lotus-Ford engine so the car could be raced and rallied as a Group 2 production car. Group 1 cars had to be virtually the same as the average family car, but Group 2s could have modified engines, steering and suspension. The thumbs-up was given, and the Type 28 Lotus was born, eventually to be called "Cortina developed by Lotus" by Ford, and the Lotus Cortina by the rest of us. You could get yourself one for 1,100.
The first-generation Lotus Cortina won everything in sight in 1965, the car being more competitive due to the increased reliability of the new leaf spring rear suspension. Sir John Whitmore dominated and won the European Touring Car Championship, Jack Sears won his class in the British Saloon Car Championship (a Mustang won outright), Jacky Ickx won the Belgian Saloon Car Championship, and a Lotus-Cortina won the New Zealand Gold Star Saloon Car Championship. Other wins were the Nrburgring Six-Hour race, the Swedish National Track Championship and the Snetterton 500.
The MK 1s in particular continue to be highly coveted and have spawned devoted clubs across the world.-Les Bidrawn
Ford RS 200 EVO
The Ford RS 200 is one of the most exciting cars ever built. An international cast of characters came together in 1984 under the Ford blue oval to design and build a Group B rally car to compete against the best the world had to offer. Tony Southgate brought his experience in F1 and sports prototypes and, when mixed in with the talents of Filippo Sapino of Turin's renowned Ghia Design, the result was a car of shattering performance and jaw-dropping looks.
Our RS 200 comes courtesy of Jamey Mazzotta of Spectrum Motorsports in Irvine. Of the 200 cars constructed for homologation (how the name came about), a select number was modified and delivered as Evolution models. Mazzotta's RS is one of those few. Quick? How does 0 to 60 in a couple of seconds or 0 to 100 in 5 1/2 ticks make you feel? With a 50/50 balance, the RS 200 behaves like the out-of-the-box winner it was.
Unfortunately, the Group B program became a casualty of international politics. The cars were simply too fast for their time. If there was an upside to the cancellation of Group B, it is that cars like the RS 200 survived for us to admire today. -Kerry Morse
Ford GT40 Mk 4
What can be said about the Ford GT40 effort at Le Mans that hasn't already been said or written? For an entire generation, the image of the blue oval as the four-door family sedan was swept aside. Henry Ford II oversaw the assault on Le Mans with such a singular purpose that the effect it had was to completely remake the company in the eye of the public. After the one-two-three triumph of 1966, Ford returned for another attempt the next year. A new series of cars under the designation "J cars" (conforming to the regulations of Appendix J) had been planned. Known to the public and press as the Mk 4, the J cars were a completely new design. The J car was much lighter than the 1966 winner by more than 300 lb. Much of this was due to the use of honeycomb aluminum in the construction of the chassis.
History shows that Ford was correct in its assessment that the J car should be its flag carrier, as the Foyt/Gurney entry rewrote the record books at Le Mans in 1967. A total of 12-J specification chassis were constructed, and due to an immediate change of rules after the 1967 race, the J car Mk 4 suddenly became obsolete and several cars went unfinished. Our subject J car is one of those (chassis J-11) and is owned and campaigned in historic racing by Tom Malloy. When the big red Ford was fired up and headed on the track for the photo shoot, it became an instant time machine for all in attendance. The fact that Ford is going to build a new version of the Ford GT is no coincidence. -Kerry Morse
1971 Tyrrell F1
Our open-wheeled feature car is owned by John Delane and is a big part of the Delane family. They graciously shipped the car down south from northern California specifically for the photo shoot. The preservation of the Tyrrell name and F1 race cars are as much out of John Delane's respect for the memory of Ken Tyrrell as is his generosity in sharing the Tyrrells in his collection with racers and enthusiasts alike.
Jackie Stewart's long relationship with Ford is a direct result of the relationship that Stewart had with Ken Tyrrell and his simple but elegant Formula cars that were powered by the incredible Ford Cosworth DFV.
The Tyrrell shown here is chassis 002 and was the first car constructed entirely at the Tyrrell workshop in the woodyard in Ockham, England. Jackie Stewart drove 001 and 003. Tyrrell 002 was built for Francois Cevert, who performed brilliantly in the 1971 season as support for Stewart's drive to the world championship; Cevert claimed third in the points along with securing Tyrrell the constructor's title. It is fitting that it would be 002 and not one of the cars driven by Jackie Stewart that was made available to european car. Francois Cevert won the United States Grand Prix in 1971 aboard this very car.-Kerry Morse
Escort RS Cosworth
In the mid-'90s, the Escort RS Cosworth had the dubious distinction of being the most stolen car in Britain, proving beyond a doubt English thieves had taste. Though touted as the ultimate boy-racer because of its incredibly tuneable characteristics (350 bhp was the norm), the Escort RS had roots going back to the moment, in 1984, when Ford decided to put a turbo onto the old, trusty Pinto block and install it in the Sierra RS Cosworth. The engine produced 204 bhp, and the car eventually was homologated for Group A racing. Although it was not particularly successful, the wheels were set in motion for much bigger things.
There was no Ford that could successfully compete against such rally monsters as the Lancia Delta Integrale and Audi Sport Quattro, so a new variation of the Escort model was produced. Ford knew it had a great engine in the Sierra Sapphire, so the plan was to simply put it, the drivetrain and suspension under a modified and strengthened Escort shell. After 400 new parts and a major floorpan revision, a new car was born.
The Escort Cosworth shared only 50% of its body panels with the standard Escort, making it a fairly expensive piece. The most prominent features were the vented hood, wider front arches with air exits from the engine in front of the doors, wider rear wheel arches, revised front bumper with huge air intakes and low front spoiler with adjustable splitter. Ford did not have the space to build it, so it was put together by Karmann in Germany, starting in February 1992.
The Escort RS Cosworth rally car garnered eight victories in Group A, and after modifications made it a WRC competitor, scored two more wins.
In 1994, after the 2,500 cars required for homologation were produced, Ford put a more civilized engine into the Escort Cosworth. The new engine was basically the same old engine in a new package. It had a smaller turbo (Garrett T25 or T35) and new engine management system. This led to more low-rev punch but less boost available above 5500 rpm. It was produced until early 1996, when the EU dictated a new set of noise regulations; the Escort Cosworth couldn't pass those without modifications, and that was the end. The last of 7,145 Escort Cosworths rolled out of the factory on January 12, 1996.
This particular car belongs to Jin Takemura, a former PR man for Mitsubishi. "I was first in line for the Evo VIII, but then the Cossie came along," recalled Jin. "It was no contest-the Escort RS is a much cooler car, not as recognizable as the Mitsu but hugely appreciated by those who know what it is. Mine is a 1995 model built to 'decontented' spec, devoid of the larger rear wing, front chin spoiler, moonroof and leather seats. Mods include a Group N-spec fuel pump, retuned chip, better tires and a U.S.-spec speedometer." -Les Bidrawn
Driving On Sidewalks...In A Daytona Coupe
Bob Bondurant's Wild Ride In The Tour De France
By the early 1960s, Ford Motor Company, under Henry II's direction, was back into racing after a few year's absence. In the States, Ford was dominating Daytona and readying engines for Indianapolis. But the company wanted to be known as a world player in competition, and after Ferrari rebuffed a purchase offer, Henry chose to go it alone. And he spent lots of money getting to the top.
One of Ford's most prudent decisions was to support former Le Mans champion Carroll Shelby. Shelby's Ford-powered Cobra roadsters were trouncing Corvette, Ferrari and Porsche in the States. He had such drivers as Bob Bondurant, Dan Gurney, Ken Miles and Phil Hill and was itching to take on Europe. Ford wanted the international recognition and teamed up with Shelby to go after the GT Class Manufacturer's Championship.
The Ford GT program was also warming up, but it would be two more years before it would dominate Le Mans. Shelby's Cobras gave Ford quick victories over Ferrari, including a GT Class win in the 1964 Le Mans 24 heures with Bondurant and Gurney driving a Daytona Coupe. Cobras were winning key events in 1964 and would win the Manufacturer's Championship in 1965 with Bondurant at the wheel. But, according to Bob, who savored each day he raced in Europe, one of his favorite events was the Tour de France.
"It was wonderful. Between each race and hillclimb, you're doing a rally. After any event, the car is always in impound and unavailable for any mechanical work until the next race segment starts." The 1964 rally challenged the resources of Bondurant and co-driver Jochen Neerpasch as they drove the Daytona Coupe CSX2300 to its limits.
Early in the race, they realized they were taking carbon monoxide into the cockpit from a broken exhaust system, so they made a special tool-a small, flat piece of wood. "I would have Jochen stick the piece of wood out the window to bring some fresh air in, and I would open my door to draft the carbon monoxide out." Most of this was happening at speeds above 140 mph.
Next Bondurant had to "fix" a broken throttle cable by placing a French franc under the linkage, setting the Cobra in full-throttle position. "I put it in gear, fired it up and drove by shutting the ignition off going into a corner. You had to be prepared to hang on when you turned the throttle back on!" They had the pit crew change it during the next stage.
"So now we're late and the other cars have already left. Coming down the highway, I said, 'We need fuel.' I told Jochen to grab one side and I would grab the other." The Daytona Coupe had quick-fill tanks on either side. "So we were filling it up and a little Frenchman came out to admire the car. When we got done we threw the hoses back to him, jumped in the car and took off! He must have been saying, 'Gosh those crazy Americans stole my gas!' So we got down the road to our emergency pit stop and said, 'You'd better take care of that guy back at the station.'" The crew topped off the gas tanks and, according to Bondurant, "that's when we really hauled ass as we came to the city of Rouen." They drove directly into a traffic jam and knew they had to somehow get through it or be late for the next stage, which would mean disqualification.
"We were blinking the lights and honking the horn and finally got to an intersection where we had to drive up on the sidewalk." He jumped the curb and started making time down the sidewalk, blaring the horn and sounding off the open headers as people dove clear of the Coupe. When they made it through the intersection, they pulled the Cobra back onto the street with more than a few people shaking their fists. They headed south.
Their next destination would be the beach-and that meant driving for many miles down a narrow highway with no shoulders. "We were doing 150- to 160 mph down the road. When you came up on another car, you had to judge your distance, because it was a two-lane highway. And beach traffic was coming back so you'd blast by [a car] and duck back in again." Bicycles, cars and old farmhouses were a blur as they charged toward the next stage. "We did that for 45 minutes to an hour, and Jochen had never put on a seatbelt-he didn't use seatbelts at that time. So I looked over and he was putting it on, and he said, 'Please, please be careful, Bob.' And I said, 'Don't worry. Self preservation prevails!'
"When we finally arrived at our checkpoint, we had 16 seconds to spare or we would have been disqualified."
After a valiant run, they later lost a clutch in the Le Mans section of the event and had to drop out, taking a DNF after a nine-day adventure. The following year Bondurant won every event he entered driving a Cobra-and the GT Class Manufacturer's Championship for Shelby and Ford.