Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
June 1, 2005
Photos By: Courtesy Ford Media

I was the one, you know, who started working on the small-block engines in NASCAR because we had so much experience with the 302. We pioneered the 351 Cleveland in '72 and '73, and we were competing against the big-block motors, which were running restrictor plates. We ran awful good with 'em. And France decided, and told Chevrolet in the early part of 1973, "You better get your small-block ready because we're going to switch from 427s and 429s to 358 cubic-inch." So we did. That's one thing that kept us going, because we did all the experimental work from 1971 and 1972 on the Cleveland small-block.

MM: So working with the Trans-Am Boss 302s, with their Cleveland heads, helped you in Winston Cup?BM: Oh, yeah, that's one thing that helped us real strong, you know, as far as what we could do with the cylinder heads and stuff.

MM: In late 1968 when you started with the Boss 302 program, did Ford build the engines for you?BM: Oh, no, we built the engines ourselves. We done all the experimental work. In fact, we're the ones that built the mini-plenum intake, a box-type manifold we ran in 1970 on the 302. After that, I pioneered a box-type manifold for the 351.

MM: Ford gave you complete '69 Mustangs and your guys tore them down to build them into race cars, right?BM: We built the race cars from scratch. Now, we did have some help out of Ford; they helped build some rear ends for us-hubs, safety equipment, and all this kind of stuff. We had a couple of chassis engineers from Ford who gave us a hand. We all worked together on it. We came up with a real good package.

MM: Did you share any information with the Shelby team?BM: Well, they ran their program and I ran ours. I never was asked to let out any secrets as far as Shelby was concerned. I guess Passino and them up there at Ford figured they'd let each person run their own team.

MM: Lee Morse worked on the Boss 302 engine at Ford, then later became the director of Ford SVO. Did you know him in the '60s?BM: Yeah, I'm the one that got him a job at SVO when Ford came back strong in 1980-'81. When Michael Kranefuss came over from Germany [to oversee SVO], he came to Spartanburg to talk to me about what we needed for the 351. I said, "Well, the first thing you need to do is get some good people up there. You need to find Lee Morse, wherever he is at Ford, and get him over there." Mose Nowland was the other one. He knew all about how to get cylinder blocks made, so they got him. That's how we all started working together and got things rolling.

MM: In the '60s, NASCAR competitors were known for stretching the rules. Did you bring some of that to Trans-Am?BM: Well, you know [laughs], we done everything we could, what we could get by with. It was pretty hard to get by with anything on the bodies. They'd let you make a little bit of clearance on the fenders. SCCA was pretty smart. They'd go to a school where they had mechanical engineering and they'd get engineering students, telling them, "Alright, now go down to the Ford place, or Lincoln-Mercury place, or whatever, and measure up a Mustang or a Cougar or whatever, and do the same thing on a Camaro, on the Plymouth Barracudas." So when you came through the inspection line, the students got out there and they measured that car. You didn't get by them too much. They did allow a little on the fenders, but not much.