Does the thought of watching a great car race make your heart accelerate? Do you live to enjoy the thrill of speed? Maybe you just appreciate the design of great sports cars. Whatever the case may be, you can be sure that somewhere along the line, you have heard about or seen some great and historic Ford race cars!
Automotive racing has been a very popular sport ever since the first automobiles were designed over 100 years ago. Actually, it was because of car racing that many of today’s automakers exist. Automotive designers would try to create faster and more efficient vehicles by testing their ideas in races against other designers. Henry Ford entered one such event with his unique, early “Model T” design and won, investing the prize winnings into the company that would become the Ford Motor Company. From this humble beginning, many historic Ford race cars would be born.
Ford racing would become a company to contend with as they produced one winning design after another. Here are just some of the historic Ford race cars:
*In 1903, Barney Oldfield drove the Ford 999 to victory at the Indiana Fairgrounds, and set a new speed record of 60 mph.
*In 1909, the Ford Model T shows its endurance as it wins a cross-country race from New York to Seattle.
*In 1949, the first national NASCAR race was won by Ford driver Jim Roper in a new car model called the Lincoln.
In the 1960’s, Ford would reach the height of racing, as they would produce several cutting edge designs, including:
*In 1963, the Ford-Lotus design would win the Milwaukee 200, driven by Jim Clark.
*In 1964, Ford would introduce a new style of Indy car engine known as the DOHC V-8.
*In 1966, the Ford model Mark II’s would place 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the 24 hours of Lemans race.
*In 1967, Ford would introduce a new engine in the Dutch Grand Prix, called the Ford-Cosworth DFV V-8.
*In 1968, Ford would introduce a sporty design of its popular Ford Mustang by showcasing the Cobra Jet Mustang at the NRHA Winternationals, winning its first event.
The 1980’s would see a resurgence of the popular Ford Mustang as the Miller Mustang would win two races in 1981. Ford would also become competitive with the Thunderbird model as driver Bill Elliott would win a record 11 NASCAR races in 1985. In 1988, Bill Elliott would continue winning in the Ford Thunderbird by taking the NASCAR Winston Cup championship.
Ford continues to produce new and innovative ideas as they design cars for the future. In the early 2000’s, the Ford Taurus model challenged the field, being driven by the Roush racing teams, and today organizations like the famed Wood Brothers who have fielded Ford cars now for the last 60 years and are still running competitively with NASCAR Champion Bill Elliott in a Ford Fusion today.
Now there is a second generation of the Elliott family beginning this racing career and Chase Elliott plans to follow Dad, Bill Elliott, into a Ford as well.