Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
November 10, 2015

Ford’s “Total Performance” era from 1961 to 1971 is something well known to Ford enthusiasts of all types. Be you a fan of NASCAR, Trans-Am, or NHRA drag racing, Ford’s decade of dominance was one of no-holds-barred, do-anything at any-cost to promote Ford’s performance image. This all happened thanks to Lee Iacocca and others within Ford that helped Henry Ford II (the Deuce) realize that performance sold Fords and winning events brought people into dealerships.

From production-built performance cars to hand-built race cars, and even unique programs like the Ford Drag Team, Ford hammered the performance edge at every corner. Putting big name drivers into its cars and adopting a “win at all costs” mentality is what Ford did to attract buyers. From the early Falcon to the Mustang, and up through the mid-size and full-size ranks of Fairlane, Galaxie, and more, Ford had a performance option package and/or placed that model into a race series—and people noticed!

Ford Total Performance, the latest offering from Motorbooks and written by Martin L. Schorr, is all about this premier time in Ford’s performance history. The book covers the early beginnings of the Total Performance era through to its demise amid stricter emissions and loss of funding by Ford. You’ll find details on street cars, race cars, experimental and prototype models, and much more. If you’re a fan of Thunderbolts, Shelby Mustangs, A/FX drag cars, Trans-Am, NASCAR, Cobras, Starliners, GT40s, and so on, you’ll enjoy this title.

Many of the images are never before published material from Schorr’s archives. Schorr, who lived the Total Performance era as an automotive journalist (as the editor of Hi-Performance CARS), met and knew many of the stars of the era and was able to reconnect with those still with us for inside stories and additional photography to put together a stellar title that any Ford fan will want on their bookshelf. You can find Ford Total Performance at your favorite book reseller, or you can purchase directly from Motorbooks.

The inside front and rear covers of Schorr’s book feature the car art of David Snyder. You can actually purchase this artwork, and many more, by visiting

The book includes a forward by Lee Holman of Holman-Moody fame, and rightly so, as a young Lee was front and center during the historic heyday of Ford’s Total Performance era. There are multiple Holman-Moody stories, references, and images throughout the book; a tell-tale sign that H-M was involved in every aspect of Ford’s assault on performance.

Don’t worry Mustang fans, you’re not left out. The Mustang was a critical part of Ford’s Total Performance plan. Road racing, drag racing, and more were all on Mustang’s radar. Between Shelby and his G.T. 350 and G.T. 500 Mustangs being the stars of SCCA, Boss Mustangs conquering Trans-Am, and more Schorr’s book covers it in detail.