FORD: The Dust and the Glory by Leo Levine

FORD: The Dust and the Glory

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KIRKUS REVIEW

For anyone who has ever cornered a Lotus (or wanted to), an enthusiastic account of the racing history of Ford Motor Company--from Henry's first makeshift attempts to the phenomenal Ford 1-2-3 victory at Le Mans in 1966, and the very latest directions. The history of Ford, as Levine points out, runs parallel to the progress of automobile racing. From the start, Henry Ford sought racing victories to spur promotion, sales, and, as a prerequisite, engineering. On October 10, 1901, his showing at Grosse Pointe, Michigan, marked a powerful shift to his cars-for-everybody (instead of the elite) concept. By 1909, the country's first cross-country (won by three Ford drivers in open cars who usually drove overland because the roads were so bad) practically had Henry out of debt, increased orders, and demonstrated that Ford's ""favorable power-to-weight ratio"" would have to be reckoned with by other manufacturers. The book goes on, with a Sports Illustrated ardor, to chronicle racing events through the ""great days of car construction"" in the 1920's, the later lull in racing and rest in technology, and the reentry of Ford into competition in 1955 because it had lost its appeal to youth and, in the manner of corporations, needed to boost its image. From there, the 1966 and 1967 big wins (with Ferrari the main opponent) seem almost inevitable. Levine's book, replete with gutsy quotes from the veteran racers, mechanics and (lately) executives, proceeds in overdrive and is good reading for the aficionado.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1968
Publisher: Macmillan