Jerry Heasley
December 1, 2017
Photos By: Rob Kinnan

Was the Ford Drag Team of 1969-1970 the “most promoted Ford performance program ever?” Bob Perkins thinks so. He owns the ’69 “Match Racer,” which is a fastback powered by a 427 single overhead cam (SOHC) big block featuring a Boss 302 type side stripe, “and “Ford Drag Team” lettering on each door, leaving little doubt as to who owned this team—Ford Motor Company.

Prior drag racing efforts had Ford sponsorship, but not such a direct link. As 1969 approached however, muscle cars were such a major market force that Ford, already full speed ahead with an overt racing program called “Total Performance,” stepped up a notch or two more.

Through a company called Car Corporation in Livonia, Michigan, they instituted a huge program that encompassed not just six race cars for the strip—three comprising an East Coast Team, and three comprising a West Coast Team, but a performance parts program and a series of seminars held across the country at Ford dealerships.

Jon Brantmeier was the National Coordinator and Eastern Drag Team Coordinator of this program and was on the grounds at the 2017 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals (MCACN) in November 2017 to answer our questions about the Ford Drag Team Display. He mostly worked with the East Coast Team, which featured the colorful driver Hubert Platt.

Brantmeier said, “We would bring two of the cars, typically the Super Stock” Mustang and Fairlane Cobra. Then, Hubert and Randy Payne would put on a seminar, including a film about Ford’s racing efforts, muscle parts on display boards, and a question and answer session to get a chance to talk [about] what would make a Ford run fast. Ford also built colorful trucks and haulers to move the cars around the country. They handed out fliers and brochures and jackets. They even published a newsletter.”

The program came crashing to a halt in 1971 as muscle cars declined for a range of various reasons, leaving 1969-1970 as a high-water mark for Ford as a company in drag racing.

Collectors are left with a rich heritage, starting with the drag cars and the drivers, but also including memorabilia, a sea of which showed up for this display.