in Europe and Alan Mann Racing's first adventures
Preseries Mustang driven by Alan Mann himself in late February/early March 1964
Picture courtesy Alan Mann
The Mustang rally program was just a logical 2nd step after the very successful Falcon programm started in the Total Performance Aera. If you would like to know how it all began, I recommend the very interesting webpage of the Westcoast Falcon club and especially the 6 articles of SCCF editor Al Aiello here at this site
Main actors in the european rally program were Ford Special Promotion Manager Jacque Passino, Ford Rally Competition Manager George Merwin, Ford Europe PR Boss Walter Hayes, Fords race garage Holmann-Moody and Alan Mann Racing Ltd. in the UK. Alan Mann Racing had already managed the successful participations of the 8 Rally Falcons in the Monte Carlo and later races plus he was very experienced with the GT40 project and Cobra racing in 62/63. Logically it was no question as to use his experience furthermore for the rally appearance of the Mustang starting in 1964.
Little known until my recent interview in June 2002 is the fact that Alan Mann got already in February 1964 a pilot plant test vehicle - probably 5S07_100003 (John Grant said a #3 was written in the engine bay and as was confirmed by Alans mechanic Lionel to be indeed the 3rd car ever produced) - for initial racing tests. Due to the secrecy of the project the test car was stored at Roy Pierpoints heavy vehicle facility and all identifying ornaments, grill and lights were taken off the car for initial tests by Alan Mann himself at Goodwood in late February 1964. The car was later used for homologation of the Mustang and kept by Alan Mann Racing later as a spare parts car for the other Mustangs. Rumours are around for a decade that the chassis has survived, but we haven't got access to the remainders yet.
The homologation of the Mustang was applied in late June 1964 after the confirmation letter of Ford on 23rd June was sent in, that more than 1000 Mustangs had been built in the applied version and listed modifications - being identified in the future years as 5_07K100001 (note the K-code mentioning). This letter had to be issued twice by Ford as the FIA in Paris had initially rejected the first letter due to the fact that Merwin and Passion had signed just as "Manager" only. Funny enough same guys later send the same letter with being mentioned as "Directors". This second letter was accepted by the FIA!
preseries production started way before 5th. of March with a
batch of 148 cars until the final assembly line cars started rolling off on 9th. of
March 1964. Included in
this first batch were 5 cars for Europe. VIN #5F07F100025, 100026, 100027, 100033 and
100055. We have yet no clear information, which ones of these went to Ford of
France and which to Alan Mann, however Alan clearly stated that he got only 2
of this first batch for entering them in the Liege-Sofie-Liege rally, where
the Mustang made their first rally appearance in August 1964 in Europe.
Check out the Menu for more detailed information
on the various rallies.