Kar-Kraft: Race Cars, Prototypes and Muscle Cars of Ford's Specialty Vehicle Activity Program

CarTech Inc
8
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The story of Kar-Kraft began, as did many others in the automotive industry, with an axe to grind. In 1963, Ford was seriously interested in purchasing Ferrari. Ferrari was a legendary brand with considerable success in racing, and Ford saw the acquisition as a great way to be instantly successful in the racing arena. When Enzo Ferrari realized that Ford would not give him complete control of the racing program, he backed out of the deal late in the process. Ford had spent millions in vetting and audits, which then set in motion a vengeful response against Ferrari. The result was the unthinkable: Ford beat Ferrari at Le Mans.

Ford wanted to become competitive quickly, but it did not have the race history or resources in house. To remedy the situation, Ford searched the U.K. for an independent company to help accelerate its race car development. It first settled on Lola Cars and set up Ford Advanced Vehicles. Later, Ford brought its LeMans effort to the U.S. and the Kar-Kraft relationship was established. Although Kar-Kraft was technically an independent company, it really only had one customer: Ford Special Vehicles. Kar-Kraft's story doesn't begin and end with the GT 40 that took the win away from Ferrari at Le Mans. Ford expanded upon the program and organized an all-out assault on racing in general. Cars were prepared for Trans-Am, NASCAR, NHRA, and Can-Am competition. Street versions of the Boss 429 were assembled under its roof. And fabled prototypes including the LID Mustang, Boss 302 Maverick, and Mach 2C were all assembled in Ford's contracted race shop. And then, out of the blue, its doors closed for good on a cold day in 1970.

History tells us that Ford won Le Mans, the Daytona 500, and the Trans-Am championship. But it doesn't tell us how this was accomplished. Author Charlie Henry (a former Kar-Kraft employee) has enlisted the help of many of his former co-workers to bring you the very first book ever published on Ford's all-encompassing special projects facility, Kar-Kraft.

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About the author

Charlie Henry, in addition to working at the Kar-Kraft facility, earned a degree in automotive mechanics and shared his passion and knowledge with high school, community college, and university students. During nearly 20 years in Chrysler’s performance and race parts group, Charlie managed aftermarket sales, special events, and various product lines. After leaving Chrysler, Charlie started his own consulting business to serve the performance and race aftermarket. Although he has written several magazine articles, this is his first book.

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Additional Information

Publisher
CarTech Inc
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Published on
Jun 15, 2017
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Pages
192
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ISBN
9781613252864
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Transportation / Automotive / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The late 1960s was an interesting time in the automotive world. Muscle cars, as we now know them, were well established, with all manufacturers joining the horsepower race. You could walk into the showroom for any brand from any manufacturer and find a variety of performance models. Competition being what it is, the manufacturers were looking for ways other than winning races to lure buyers into the showrooms and entice them to buy their products. Some tried to accomplish this with fancy marketing schemes and graphic paint packages and decals, and for the first time, some tried to win over buyers with price.

Volume No. 5 of CarTech's In Detail series covers the 1969 Plymouth Road Runner. It was an interesting marriage of a car that attempted to appeal to potential buyers with a low cost, light weight, and potent bare-bones package. It also added a brilliant marketing strategy of partnering with a famous studio and a popular cartoon character. The end result was a wildly popular, big-block, affordable muscle car with great graphics and a cool beep-beep horn. The public loved it.

All In Detail Series books include an introduction and historical overview, an explanation of the design and concepts involved in creating the car, a look at marketing and promotion, and an in-depth study of all hardware and available options, as well as an examination of where the car is on the market today. Also included is an appendix of paint and option codes, VIN and build-tag decoders, as well as production numbers.

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