The big Ford push began utterly without glamour in Dearborn's foundries and fabricating shops. As racing pieces emerged, test crews tried to break them. Control panels like the one glowing at right, for example, monitored the "dirty little dynamometers" on which Le Mans engines and transaxles ultimately survived two simulated 24-hour races. A fantastically tough honeycomb chassis alloy also came from that disassembled world into the sophisticated one recorded on the following pages.
A triumph of form and function, the 215-mph Le Mans-winning Mark IV is perhaps the most important of all U.S. racing cars, proving American worth in the neglected arena of international road competition. It is the pride of Henry Ford II, who is shown with some of his hottest properties.
A wind-tunnel smoke trail accents the mod roofline of a Shelby Mustang (which borrows a spoiler at the rear from racing cars), while a welder spits flame at an experimental racer. Below, the camera peers psychedelically at Ford's new mid-engined Mach II, which may go Corvette-hunting.
Win Sunday and you sell Monday is the stock car racing code, and in this big and bitter warfare—awash with loyal fans, swift pit crews and lightning engine changes—Ford's rookie driver of the year, Donnie Allison (streaking into view below), is a key weapon against the Chrysler enemy.
Masked for speed, drag racers Pete Robinson (right) and Connie Kalitta, hidden below in the smoke of screaming tires, started with Ford 427 engines, piled on more power with superchargers and blasted to new records. Hordes of U.S. kids—future car buyers all—dig the wheels and wheelers.
Ford's foreign policy is a runaway hit, with the great Scot Jimmy Clark starring in a Grand Prix Lotus-Ford. At right, Clark confers with teammate Graham Hill, and in May both should again have Ford exhaust megaphones behind them at Indianapolis as they try for repeat wins in the big U.S. race.