- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Enter Jacque Passino, who had been kidnapped by Ford from the vice-presidency of Willys-Overland. Passino is a known sales whiz. He is a man so ferociously dapper that he is said to have suede eyeballs. Passino has just joined Iacocca's mob as a special aide.
Iacocca : Well, what do you think of our line?
Passino: Frankly, I think they're a bunch of goddam sleds.
Iacocca : I agree. But we can change all that. How would you like to go racing?
Passino: I thought you'd never ask.
"That's when we began to get ready." Passino says now, blinking in the glare of silver trophies in his Dearborn office. Says Iacocca: "We had forgotten that driving can be fun. You know what we had then? We had a thing called 'spirit' and a lousy four-speed gearbox, that's what we had. But the excitement of those early days led us to the Mustang."
One must remember, Ford needed the Mustang more than it has needed any model since the T. The Chevrolet Corvair Monza had become a sales hit. So the Company Racers put together the Mustang, borrowing in part what they had learned from competition. Introduced April 17, 1964, it sold 26,000 in one month, 417,000 in one year and is the best-selling new car ever produced anywhere in the world.
And now we come to another Racer. The year is 1960.
SCENE: The office of Donald Frey, then a bright young engineer also tabbed for stardom. He is now a vice-president and Ford's chief for product development, a rather dandy job. Frey is talking to Bob Graham of product planning (now quality control manager for the Automotive Assembly Division). Graham has just returned from Speed Weeks at Daytona Beach, Fla. and he is unhappy.
Graham: Listen, there were 75,000 people down there, and you know what they were doing?