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History Holman-moody the history

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by frank spittle, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. OneRustedDodge
    Joined: Jan 28, 2007
    Posts: 183

    OneRustedDodge
    Member

  2. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,672

    frank spittle
    Member

    DSCN4070.jpg FMC letter.jpg FMC letter2.jpg We have had many discussions about how successful Holman & Moody was in NASCAR/NHRA racing and the innovations credited to the organization. Let's take it to the next level and I will show you and prove to you that they were equally competitive in Sports Car racing. You have heard me talk about Jimmy Tucker, who still works there, and how brilliant he is and was/is one of H-Ms most valuable employees. He has told me many times when he was crew chief on the GT-40 team they could have won Lemans in '66 but were told to hold back. With the permission of Lee Holman I am posting a letter from Ford Motor Company Vice-President and General Manager Donald Frey that says it all. Tucker is at the left rear tire in this picture taken at the race.

    This only adds to the credentials of Holman-Moody being the greatest racing organization of the era and quite possibly EVER.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  3. tommyd
    Joined: Dec 10, 2010
    Posts: 11,367

    tommyd
    Member
    from South Indy

    Wow Frank! This is the kind of thing that we would hear happened in a racing organization but there would never be any proof. It's cool to see such a historical document with our own eyes. Over the years I have heard of stuff like this with NHRA and Bob Glidden or Gliddens dealings with Ford and other rumors like that. Same with Nascar. Thanks for posting this stuff and letting the rest of us in on some cool history. Just think of all the succsess H/M has had over the years and at times they were {holding back}. Cool. Tom.
     
  4. Tom S. in Tn.
    Joined: Jan 16, 2011
    Posts: 1,108

    Tom S. in Tn.
    Member

    Any record of match racing where drivers were instructed to hold back? I've heard those stories also and where they were not pleased at wheel standing exhibition. Seems like a similar letter I saw posted elsewhere on the internet from FMC, but unable to recall. Tom S.
     
  5. genuine jack
    Joined: Mar 6, 2011
    Posts: 268

    genuine jack
    Member



    there are a few that i can think of off hand . at the '68 NHRA winternats it came down to al joniac and "hugh baby" platt [ one of the all-time greatest nicknames in racing , IMO ] in mustang CJs for the S/S eliminator title . these were factory cars , so ford had some control . not wanting the 2 drivers to actually race each other , and probably lower the class record , the ford guy flipped a coin to decide who was going to win the race . jonica won the toss - much to platt's displeasure , as he had been posting better times than joniac , and was sure he could've won . but he was a team player , so he followed orders . but to show his frustration , he pulled a huge holeshot on joniac , then immediately backed off .
    the other incident took place in 1963 at a nascar superspeedway race [ sorry , i can't remember which one off hand ] . i believe fireball roberts was leading when he pitted for his last stop . this put lorenzen in the lead late in the race , and it was apparent fred wasn't going to make any more stops . there were several ford officials in fireball's pit , along with john holman . for whatever reason holman wanted fireball to win , and also wanted to impress the ford "suits" , so he told herb nab - lorenzen's crew chief - to call fred in to inspect his tires . nab adamantly refused , leaving fred out on the track and going on to win . holman immediately fired nab , but re-hired him the next day .
    not wanting to contradict frank or jimmy tucker , but i'd always read about a different story regarding the '66 le mans finish . getting toward the finish of the race , it was fairly obvious that fords were going to finish 1-2-3 . so someone at ford had a "brilliant" idea . why not have the fords cross the finish line at exactly the same time , thus making it a "ford motor co." victory , rather than a single car's victory ? at the time ken miles had a huge lead [ some say he had more than a lap lead on second place ] , so he was instructed to slow down to let the others catch up . i believe the #5 HM car was a lap down - whether that was because they were told to hold back or not , i don't know . anyway , the 3 cars circulated in close formation toward the end of the race . as they approached the finish line , either miles backed off , or bruce mc laren jumped ahead - or both . ultimately , mc laren was given the win , and ken miles felt that he'd been robbed - and he was . today , everyone involved - including carroll shelby - regrets the decision to stage the finish and cheat miles out of his well deserved win . ken miles was killed 2 months later testing the ford "J CAR" at riverside .
    and one more . about 15 years ago i was with a group of guys that included former S/S driver jack werst , who drove the "MR. 5 and 50" plymouths back in the '60's and '70's . mr. werst assumed a devilish look on his face as he was about to relate a "now it can be told " story . it was 1970 , and there was a well known chevy [ again , sorry - as i can't remember the car or driver ] dominating a particular class that plymouth wanted to win . now this sort of thing probably happened many more times than we know , but the good folks at mopar approached mr. werst with a deal that , as they say , he couldn't refuse . they would give him a superbird [ you know , those "winged wonders" that totally dominated in nascar , and blew the fords off the tracks :rolleyes:] if he would make it , ahhh ..."more competive" , so to speak ;) , so he could take out said chevy in eliminations . jack told us he built a 500 inch hemi for the the front end of the car , then installed a very heavy , thick glass rear window and something like a 300 pound wing over the rear . he easily eliminated the chevy , of course , and advanced to the final round , where he faced another mopar . THAT car was legal , so by design werst red lighted to allow the other mopar to win . jack said he immediately drove his superbird to his trailer , where the ramps were already down . they got out of "dodge" , so to speak , as fast as they could so they could avoid any tech officials who would've found his car to be so "TOTALLY" [ as the kids say ] illegal that it probably would've made smokey blush !!
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011
  6. Dave Lyall
    Joined: Jan 3, 2010
    Posts: 104

    Dave Lyall
    Member

    I won't mention any names, but I was asked by Ford Officials on numerous occasions to "ease up" in order to allow thier driver of choice to continue past me in eliminations. It was hard on my ego, but easy on my wallet to do so. I wanted to keep that Holman & Moody truck coming to my door each week.
     
  7. Troy H.
    Joined: Sep 20, 2011
    Posts: 8

    Troy H.
    Member
    from Canada

    @ Jack

    The race was at Darlington, I found the story in a Gollenbock book. Remember, Ford had just hired Fireball away from Pontiac, I am sure it was a big coup for Ford to have NASCAR's biggest star behind the wheel of a Ford. There was also talk that Fireball was Holman's driver and Fred was Ralph's driver. I have no idea what the truth is, but that is how I always interpretted it...

    Unrelated to Ford or H-M, but Big Daddy Don Garlits was on Wind Tunnel on Speed Channel on the week end and he said he did match races for a show, and he made sure that the racing always went the three races and that they were exciting for the fans.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011
  8. Dave Lyall
    Joined: Jan 3, 2010
    Posts: 104

    Dave Lyall
    Member

    The way I heard the story from Ford's special vehicle department (The Ford race office before SVO and Ford Racing) was when Pontic pulled out of racing in the 1963 season, Fireball found himself without a ride or a salary, and he went back to Ford hat-in-hand asking for a ride. Jac Passinio told John Holman to put him back on the team, build him some cars, but paint the son-of-a bitches pink. That was his way of letting Fireball know that Ford wanted him back, but did not forget about his earlier defection. That is why Fireballs Fords were all painted pink after that.
     
  9. 390Merc
    Joined: Jun 29, 2008
    Posts: 659

    390Merc
    Member
    from Indiana

    Just ran across this article in the Sept. '67 issue of Drag Parts Illustrated this evening. I might be able to scan these pages sometime, just let me know.
     

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  10. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,672

    frank spittle
    Member

    Dave,

    I believe you are right. All Pontiac and Chevy racers were looking around when GM pulled the plug in early '63. Hayden Proffitt, who was a factory sponsored Chevrolet drag racer in the early '60s, once told me how he got the news his "deal" was over. "I was sent an airplane ticket to headquarters. When I got there they explained that GM management was concerned about a Justice Department breakup of General Motors because of their 53% share of automobile sales. They were pulling the plug on racing. They gave me a severance package and I went straight to Plymouth and signed a deal on the spot". Factory Chevrolet racers Sox & Martin and Don Nicholson went to Mercury. Most of the NASCAR drivers went elsewhere too except Junior Johnson. Of course you know all this because you were there and a part of it all.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  11. Troy H.
    Joined: Sep 20, 2011
    Posts: 8

    Troy H.
    Member
    from Canada

    @ Dave: I sure wouldn't argue that story brother. Time has a way of putting a different spin on things no doubt. I had thought Fireball left Ford because Ford pulled out in '58??? (Fascinating stuff Dave, thanks!!!)

    @ Frank: Remember, Junior drove early '64 Dodge's for Ray Fox, before heading to Fords with Banjo later in the season. This was detailed in that little story about Junior in Esquire magazine...
     
  12. Falconred
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 872

    Falconred
    Member

    Hayden Proffitt had a FX Comet for awhile. Don't know why he doesn't talk about it more, kind of like Butch Leal talks more about the Mopars than his T-Bolt days.
     
  13. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,672

    frank spittle
    Member

    You are correct. Proffitt went with Mercury in the '65 season. So did Arnie Beswick. Arnie went back to Pontiac and Hayden eventually went to American Motors.
     
  14. Race Artist
    Joined: Feb 9, 2008
    Posts: 954

    Race Artist
    Member

    I'd say that is because both Proffitt and Leal did alot more winning with the other brands that they raced. Both of them really only ran FOMOCO cars for one season or a little more than one season.
    Joel
     
  15. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,672

    frank spittle
    Member

    A really loyal FOMOCO racer was the great "Dyno Don" Nocholson who raced a variety of Mercs and Fords in A/FX, Funny Car and Pro Stock. I guess this Stroppe built '65 Comet can be considered an H-M car since that was the year they bought out Stroppe.
     

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  16. LOWDOWN2
    Joined: Jul 13, 2009
    Posts: 135

    LOWDOWN2
    Member
    from Ontario

    There's a story with pictures in the current issue of Hemmings Muscle Machines featuring H-M...
     
  17. Normbc9
    Joined: Apr 20, 2011
    Posts: 1,122

    Normbc9
    Member

    I was invited into a Holman-Moody warehouse in 1965 and they had a lot of the Ford 427 Cammer's in crates. They told me Ford had manufactured them and they were going to be the exclusive agents to sell those power house monsters. Ford had to produce at least 500 before they could put the engine in their NASCAR competitor cars. I do remember when the San Diego, CA. PD showed up with four of them in big Mercury Pursuit cars working their Freeway system. I don't think anyone ever out ran one of those four cars. They were popular at the Drag Strips but then parts procurement became a problem. I id d see one in a crate last year in Wayne, MI. and it was just for display. I did the stupid thing and asked if it was for sale. The answer, anything here is for sale. Just give me $85,000. in US cash and I'll load it up on your vehicle. End of story. Great engine. A real look into the future by the engine builders at Ford.
    Normbc9
     
  18. I've read the first 36 pages of this thread so far, so apologies if this has been brought up since...

    While H-M is most famous for stock car racing, they were pretty much the exclusive source for any racing parts from Ford (the aforementioned GT-40s and Can-Am program being examples). In "The Unfair Advantage", Mark Donohue makes several references to working with (and driving for) Holman-Moody in his early professional career. Donohue is obviously most closely associated with Penske and Chevrolet, but H-M and Ford were both big parts of the Penske Indy program, and Mark tells of the confusing and often frustrating "chain of command" his team had to work through to get needed parts.

    If there is ay interest, I will try to dig out the book and post a few H-M related excerpts...
     
  19. tommyd
    Joined: Dec 10, 2010
    Posts: 11,367

    tommyd
    Member
    from South Indy

    We are interested!!! Trust me...er....us.
     
  20. Tom S. in Tn.
    Joined: Jan 16, 2011
    Posts: 1,108

    Tom S. in Tn.
    Member

    This was the persistent problem using an FMC component or vehicle to race with.
    There are hoarders collecting race parts like fine art, and then there is the general racing public at large who use their cars to actually race with and have no choice but to run a competitors product.
    Shame FMC did not allow their products out in the hands of the racing public to compete with their select own. Darn good race car basis material despite FMC's desire to distance themself from the racing image.
    But, they must have gotten something right since they are the only present day domestic automobile producer left with any degree of autonomy and still solvent without federal aid.
    Makes me wonder.
    Tom S. in Tn.
     
  21. Mark Donohue on getting the drive in the Holman-Moody GT-40 in 1966.

    Hope Paul and the kids don't mind...:eek:

    Kinda hard to scan the book, but I'll try to get more pages up.

    Next page, Walter Hansgen tells Holman, "Don't worry he'll (Mark) be all right"

    (Had to dump the attachment. Found a better way to do it...see 3rd post below.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  22. Donohue and Hansgen finished third at Daytona (their position as assigned by Ford) and second at Sebring.
     
  23. The team went on to the 1966 24hrs of LeMans despite the loss of Walt Hansgen (killed there during a practice session). Things didn't go that well...
     

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  24. Ok, let's see if this works...here's the first part of the Donohue / H-M story...

    Well...shit. Too many HAMBers fighting for bandwidth I guess... I'll get back with part 1 later.
     
  25. spiderdeville
    Joined: Jun 30, 2007
    Posts: 1,134

    spiderdeville
    Member
    from BOGOTA,NJ

    front steer aren't ford , from 85 on , most of the winners are front steer
     
  26. hlfuzzball
    Joined: Jan 27, 2005
    Posts: 215

    hlfuzzball
    Member
    from Michigan

  27. FEBCO
    Joined: Oct 27, 2008
    Posts: 74

    FEBCO
    Member

    Earlier today a friend send me this forum, and I have just finished reading all 939 posting....My HM story is, in '69 we ran NASCAR GN in a '67 Chevelle for Rookie of the year with Buddy Young driving for me....the car had Ford front suspension, brakes, 9" Ford full floater rear, etc...our first GN race was spring Martinsville ( we finished 9 th ) and Ralph Moody came to us and said anything HM could do to help us, they would....from that time on, he made us a deal on any parts they had that we could use, and twice while touring, we were allowed to work on our Chevrolet on HM property in Charlotte.....I guess what I'm trying to say is, it was an all Ford deal, but they and especially Mr. Moody were racers.....Frank thanks for this great thread....Fred Bear
     
  28. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,672

    frank spittle
    Member

    Hey Fred. Glad you found this thread and thanks for that kind comment about Ralph. You were at Virginia Motorsports Park in the '90s when he was there for the Super Stock Reunion weren't you? If not, he was about 80 and treated like royalty by the drag racing community.
     

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  29. speedfreek155
    Joined: Sep 10, 2011
    Posts: 312

    speedfreek155
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  30. rawhide427
    Joined: Apr 26, 2011
    Posts: 27

    rawhide427
    Member

    Frank,
    If memory serves me correctly and usually it doesn't, I believe that AJ Foyt set some sort of record with this truck at Daytona. I was thinking something is the 80 mph range but that was 40 some years ago and I can't remember what I had for breakfast, but I can assure you it was a lot.
    thanks and regards, Roland
     

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