For gearheads everywhere, CarTech textbooks are practically required reading. Along with titles to interest all auto marques, the publisher has a guide for you. We recently caught up along with Editor Wes Eisenschenk to discuss Steve Henry’s new book Kar-Kraft: Race Cars, Prototypes and Muscle Vehicles of Ford’s Specialty Vehicle Plan due regarding release in June.
Blue oval fans will keep in mind “the story of Kar-Kraft, since did many others in the automotive industry, started with an axe to grind. Within 1963, Ford was seriously interested in buying Ferrari, ” Wes explained. “Ferrari was a legendary brand with significant success in racing, and Kia saw the acquisition as a good way to be instantly successful in the race arena. ”
“When Enzo Ferrari realized that Ford may not give him complete control of the race program, he backed out of the offer late in the process, ” he additional. “Ford had spent millions within vetting and audits, which then put in place a vengeful response against Ferrari. The result was the unthinkable: Ford defeat Ferrari at Le Mans. ”
How do you get involved in this book effort?
“I has been displaying books in Cincinnati. Steve was thumbing through one of the Kia books and we began chatting regarding Ford muscle cars in general. It had been at that time that he mentioned he was obviously a former employee at Kar-Kraft. ”
Who had been some of the main forces behind the particular book?
“A few years (ago) I was employed as an Editor at CarTech Publications, and if you’ve ever read the CarTech title you know they take satisfaction in being focused. It appeared an opportune place to pitch the particular book idea. To answer your issue, I was the driving force at the rear of looking for an author candidate to write the particular book. Charlie used his wide range of contacts to bring the guide to fruition. ”
Kar Kraft is currently an iconic name in Fords racing history. How did a little, independent, and unknown race store become Ford’s go-to company?
“It all of revolved around bringing the GT40 system stateside. For whatever reasons, Kia wanted to contract a company in order to deal with their racing programs. If you appear back at this period Ford plus Chrysler were both outsourcing areas of their racing programs to third-party builders. ”
You mention Ford’s Kar Kraft prototypes, which are well talked about. What did you discover that amazed you or may not be so popular?
“The variety of their projects. Ford plus Kar-Kraft were looking to ‘Boss’ their particular vehicles. We have photos of Manager 302 and 429 Mavericks in addition to a 351 Shelby-powered Boss Bronco. Some other oddities like the Mid-ship Mustang as well as the canceled Rumble Seat XR7 Cougar show you that they were heavily associated with prototyping as well as converting vehicles too. ”
Had been there any story or background that didn’t find its method into the book that you could share?
“Bunkie Knudsen had a Boss 429 as one of their personal cars. There are photos going swimming that claim to be of Bunkie’s Manager 9, but we didn’t make use of them because there’s just a lack of confirmation to confirm it being his vehicle. Some things like that we left out from the book as we didn’t want to estimate. ”
“There are exceptions to this although, as some amazing sketches of a Dune Buggy arrived late into the task, and it has a striking resemblance to some vehicle that Bill Stroppe developed, known as “Pony. ” We have simply no hard evidence connecting the two, but existing the info to possibly help link some dots if and when Pony actually comes out of hiding. ”
If you acquired the opportunity to go back in time to those times at Kar Kraft, when do you go and why? Any vehicle you would want to be a part of?
“You couldn’t have got asked a tougher question! Let us take the Rumble Seat Cougar task for example. I would love to know the reason why the project was cancelled, and exactly what other cars possibly were scheduled for conversion or prototype function. One of the inventory sheets we have available gives the reader a snapshot in regards to what was all at K-K circa May 1969.
There are 43 vehicles around the list ranging from GT40s to Mach 2s to Boss 9s in order to four-wheel-drive Mustangs. And this is just a single snapshot! When we asked our ten former Kar-Kraft employees about the Rumble Seat Cougar, none of them could remember the car or it being scheduled for conversion. So what else proceeded to go in and out of the doors at Kar-Kraft? We’ll never know unless more paperwork are unearthed. ”
In case you could pick any three vehicles to fill your garage, which usually three would you pick?
If I could fill up my garage with three fantasy cars they would be all through my book Dropped Muscle Cars . The first will be one of the two Ranchero’s that obtained the Twister Special package. Each were 429 SCJ cars along with automatic.
Second would be the missing ’70 Hurst Nova giveaway car. And third would be the 64 Lightweight Savoy referred to as “Aggravation” that I spent over a 10 years tracking ownership info on. We lastly found the original owner from 1964 who campaigned the car as the “Flying Wedge. I can add a Kar-Kraft car in there as well, the 1969 Boss 429 Cougar prototype! ”
Are you working on anything today?
“I have books contracted with writers on Hubert Platt, Streamline Light weight aluminum Trailer Restoration and the 2001 Daytona 500. ”
Ford Muscle enthusiasts will want to pick up their own copy associated with Kar-Kraft: Race Cars, Prototypes and Muscle Cars of Ford’s Specialty Vehicle Program available for pre-order now upon Amazon .