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2014 Ford Mustang TdF - Return of Holman & Moody
A legendary name from Ford’s racing past is back with a new ’14 Mustang TdF to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mustang’s first racing victory
Lee Holman was only 20 years old when he traveled to France with his father's race team, Holman & Moody, to work on the Ford GT40s during the 1966 24 Hours of LeMans. Henry Ford II had demanded that Ford beat Ferrari at the world's most famous endurance race, enlisting both Holman & Moody, famous for their NASCAR success, and Shelby American, known for their road racing expertise, to oversee the effort. To stress the importance, and to hopefully stand proudly at the podium with the winning Ford drivers, HFII traveled to LeMans with his new wife, Cristina, and 18 year-old son, Edsel Ford II.
And so it was that Lee Holman and Edsel Ford II became friends as the slightly older Holman showed Edsel the ropes in and around LeMans, where the Ford GT40s finished 1-2-3 in a dominating performance.
Forty-seven years later, the longtime friendship between Edsel Ford II, now on Ford Motor Company's board of directors, and Holman, now president of Holman & Moody, has manifested itself with the 50th Anniversary Holman & Moody TdF Mustang, named for the 1964 Tour de France auto rally (not to be confused with the bicycle race) where the brand-new Mustang claimed its first racing victory with help from Holman & Moody (see "First Win" sidebar).
"We had formed a new company, HM Performance, to design components for the new Mustangs," Holman told us during a visit to the H&M facility in Charlotte, North Carolina. "About six months later, Edsel stopped by for a photo shoot. He stayed for 3½ hours and said Ford should take advantage of the Holman & Moody history with Ford. So he asked, ‘If I can get something stirred up, will you cooperate?' He stirred it up quite nicely. It was nice to go to Ford and have the meetings open up with someone saying, ‘Mr. Ford thinks this is a good idea. What can we do to help?'"
The timing was perfect. When Edsel and Lee realized that Holman & Moody had contributed to the Mustang's first-ever racing win in 1964, it was a natural to recognize the upcoming 50th anniversary with a special H&M edition '14 Mustang.
Holman explained, "The concept was to try to come up with something affordable that maintained the Ford warranties, yet was a performance vehicle to drive on the street or to have fun on a track day. The Mustang itself is such a nice car. It's a lot easier to make cherry pie if you start with cherries."
More than an add-on kit, the post-title Holman & Moody TdF package must start with a specific Mustang with its own order code, 54F, which specifies a Race Red hardtop with dark gray interior, manual transmission, SYNC, and navigation. From there, the TdF package adds handling capabilities with Ford Racing progressive-rate lowering springs and adjustable struts/shocks, plus H&M's own HM Performance adjustable front and rear sway bars. The 5.0-liter Coyote engine remains untouched, although performance is enhanced by loading a PCM tune from the '12-'13 Boss 302. Because the Boss 302 utilized a special high-rpm intake, the tune increases low-speed torque with the TdF's stock induction system.
"The Coyote engine is a beautiful piece," adds Holman. "The computer package modifies the torque curve a little. We're about 40 ft-lbs of torque more than the Boss at 2,500 rpm. You can also switch back and forth from the track to the street application."
Externally, the TdF package stands out with its gold side stripes and custom spoked wheels wrapped in Continental performance tires. A TdF emblem replaces the faux gas cap on the rear panel, while classy Cloisonne "TdF rally 50th anniversary Holman Moody" emblems replace the factory's 5.0 emblems on the fenders.
There are three ways to obtain a Holman & Moody TdF Mustang: order the Mustang (using H&M's 54F code) from your local Ford dealer and have them install the kit, deliver a 54F Mustang to Holman & Moody in Charlotte for the installation, or purchase a completed TdF Mustang from H&M. Starting price for the TdF package is $9,896.
We had the chance to drive the TdF prototype, although Charlotte traffic and intermittent rain combined to negate any opportunities for spirited testing. We can say that the TdF package adds to the already wonderful Mustang GT without adversely affecting ride quality or interior noise. In fact, the TdF Mustang feels light-footed and nimble, making it fun to drive around town, and the added low-speed torque is especially fun when pulling away from stop lights. Romp on the accelerator and you get all the thrill and tire-spin of the Coyote 5.0-liter with more torque than stock.
Welcome back, Holman & Moody.
Well before Shelby American became involved with turning the Mustang into a "sports car" for domestic SCCA competition, Holman & Moody was asked to assist with building early Mustang hardtops for the 1964 European rallys, where Ford needed to prove that the Mustang was more than a "secretary's car." H&M's previous experience with rally Falcons proved invaluable.
"We had been racing Falcons since 1960," Lee Holman said. "We had Curtis Turner racing a six-cylinder Falcon all over the place. That ended up being taken over to the Monte Carlo rally in 1964, where the H&M Falcons were quickest. We didn't win the rally but we were quickest in all the stages."
Using their knowledge of the Falcon, H&M shipped suspension components and 289 engines to England's Alan Mann Racing, which prepared four Mustangs for the Tour de France, a 10-day, 17-stage race that started in Lille and ran through the French towns of Reims, Le Mans, Monza, and Pau. In an interview with Wolfgang Kohrn for his Ponysite.de website, Mann recalled preparing three of the Mustangs for competition while using the fourth car for personal transportation until he had to scavenge parts for the race cars.
The three H&M-equipped Mustangs finished 1-2-3 in the Touring class (eighth overall), although the winning car was disqualified for being pushed into a gas station, according to Holman. Mustang co-drivers Peter Proctor and Andrew Cowan ended up with the win, followed in Second by the Mustang driven by Peter Harper/David Pollard. It marked the first professional race victory for the Mustang.
What is Holman & Moody?
Most of our readers know Holman & Moody and its racing accomplishments in the 1960s. But for younger readers who have never heard of the company that unfortunately lost its factory support when Ford pulled out of racing in the summer of 1970, here's a short primer:
Formed by John Holman and driver Ralph Moody in 1957 when Ford complied with the AMA ban on racing.
From 1957 to 1973, won 94 NASCAR races, including 25 by Fred Lorenzen and 30 by David Pearson.
Began building engines for the Wood Brothers in 1961, a relationship that continued for over three decades.
During the early 1960s, Holman & Moody built Falcons for Sebring and Daytona, along with Falcon rally cars for Monte Carlo and other European road rallies, a venture that led to working with Alan Mann Racing in England on the first Mustang rally cars.
In 1965, built 10 A/FX long-nose Mustangs for Ford's drag racing effort.
Campaigned GT40s at LeMans as part of Henry Ford II's successful quest to beat Ferrari.
During the late 1950s and 1960s, Holman & Moody cars were driven by some of the best in racing. In addition to Lorenzen and Pearson, the list includes Mark Donahue, Bobby Allison, Parnelli Jones, Joe Weatherly, A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Jim Clark, Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Fireball Roberts, Curtis Turner, and Richard Petty.
When Ford pulled out of racing in 1970, Holman & Moody continued as a NASCAR innovator, developing parts like the full floating rear end, window net, fast-fill gas can, and padded steering wheel.
Holman & Moody TDF Mustang Specifications
Coyote 5.0 with Boss 302 PCM program
High-flow K&N/Ford Racing air filter
Ford Racing crossover pipe
Ford Racing Sport mufflers
Mandatory 3.73 limited-slip differential
Custom TdF shifter knob
Uprated radiator for cooling
ProCal OBD2 calibration tool for reprogramming PCM or reading codes
HM Performance adjustable front and rear sway bars
SVT adjustable struts/shocks
Progressive lowering springs
19-inch custom wheels
Mandatory Race Red exterior paint
Gold body stripe and badging
Holman & Moody embroidered carpeting
Hood strut rods
Customized Holman & Moody TdF Mustang serial number plate
Holman & Moody license plate
Custom embroidered Recaro Seats
Roller bearing upgrade to replace urethane on sway bars