That old malaise had really begun to show signs of curability precisely one week before. That was when the Mustang bowed in at Watkins Glen. This unusually clean-lined car, a joint product of Misch's engineers and Gene Bordinat's Ford styling staff, gave the fans much to discuss. A larger 1.5-liter version of the Taunus (Cardinal) V-4, plus transaxle, had in the Mustang been moved aft behind the driver. Suspension was independent all around.
Thus the sporting look at Ford. For the record, and for the minority which equates participation in speed events with a disregard for highway safety on the part of the manufacturer, one must add that Ford obviously concedes no such disability. On the contrary, Ford has some pretty good arguments that future Fords are certain to benefit from the sports program in terms of greater durability and improved handling qualities—factors that contribute to road safety.
However, Ford will undoubtedly stimulate its competitors to shape more energetic sports campaigns of their own. Some counterpunching already has begun. Chevrolet engines are to be in the hush-hush Indianapolis racers now being built by Mickey Thompson, the Bonneville Salt Flats speedster—and the man who electrified Indy last May with a sweet little Buick-powered special, driven by Dan Gurney. This is not to imply that the Chevrolet Division is at this time backing Thompson. But if the Fords outdo the Chevies at Indy...? The Chrysler Corporation's recent low-budget stock-car operation ( Plymouth) has now been augmented by a Dodge team. Other commitments have been made that cannot yet be disclosed.
But at Ford the wraps are off and the game is on. A new era in motor sports is beginning.