Rob Kinnan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
April 28, 2017
Photos By: Courtesy of CarTech Books

Mustang and Ford fans know of Kar-Kraft through their involvement with the LeMans-winning GT40 program, but they were also Ford’s not-so-secret skunkworks division for all things racing and extreme performance. Charlie Henry tells the long and highly interesting Kar-Kraft story in his new book with CarTech Publishing, Kar-Kraft Race Cars, Prototypes, and Muscle Cars of Ford’s Specialty Vehicle Activity Program.

The story of Kar-Kraft began with an axe to grind. In 1963, Ford was seriously interested in purchasing Ferrari. Ferrari was a legendary, successful brand and Ford saw the acquisition as a great way to be instantly successful in the racing arena. When Enzo Ferrari realized that Ford would not give him complete control of the racing program, he backed out of the deal at the 11th hour, wasting millions of dollars Ford had spent doing their due diligence, which set in motion Henry Ford II’s vengeful response against the Italians. And we all know the story of how the GT40 kicked Ferrari’s tail at LeMans.

Ford wanted to be competitive quickly but it didn’t have the race history or resources in-house, and after a stint with Lola Cars in the UK, they brought the program back to the U.S. and got Kar-Kraft involved. Although Kar-Kraft was technically an independent company, it really only had one customer: Ford Special Vehicles. Kar-Kraft’s story doesn’t begin and end wit the GT40 after the LeMans victory—Ford expanded on the program and organized an all-out assault on racing in general. Street versions of the Boss 429 were assembled under the Kar-Kraft roof, and fabled prototypes like the LID Mustang, Boss 302 Maverick, and Mach 2C were all assembled in Ford’s contracted race shop. And then, out of the blue, its doors closed for good on a cold day in 1970.

Author Charlie Henry (a former Kar-Kraft employee) has enlisted the help of many of his former co-workers to bring you the very first book ever published on Ford’s all-encompassing special projects facility, Kar-Kraft. To get a copy of the 192-page book ($39.95 plus $6.95 shipping and handling), order one from CarTech by calling 1-800-551-4754 or go to www.cartechbooks.com.