Lee Holman speaks out
"FORD TOTAL PERFORMANCE in the 60ies was 
mainly Holman & Moody and Alan Mann Racing"

Exclusive Ponysite.de Interview

© Wolfgang Kohrn - July 3rd, 2008, updated Jan .19th, 2011 and March. 2016 

A recent visit of Steve Francis at Holman Automotive and an article in the dutch Autovisie car magazine 
stimulated your Editor of Choice for a direct contact to Lee for an exclusive interview. 
Lee promptly reacted with interesting tidbits about Holman Moodys history 
and set some records in written history straight for us. Thank you, Lee.


1. Let's start with the european rally program. What do you remember about the engines delivered to Alan Mann for the Tour de France in 64 (or starting with the Liege-Sofie-Liege-rallye and have you (your father) been at Alan Manns shop in 1964?

Alex Campion leaning over a Holman-Moody engine in the 1964 Rallye Monte Carlo Falcon

1. In 1963 we sent Americans over to run the 63 Falcons in the rallys for Ford of America. We worked with Ford of France and had a real problem with the transport, hotels, food and such. The cars were not up to the standard.

John Holman had talked with Alan Mann at a race in America and had the idea to subcontract the running of the 1964 Falcons to Alan Mann Racing. We built a number of cars in America and then shipped them in mass to Alan. With these cars went a large supply of parts, engines, and running gear.

Alan had a good group of workers, and they made changes to the cars as required to get the Falcon up to speed--- I know the Falcons we built were about 85 % of what was needed, so Alan Mann's team gets the credit for making them winners. What is not understood is the size of the factory in Charlotte. 
In 1964 we  had about 250 workers building suspension parts, race engines, and mass producing 50 sets of performance parts for the Falcons. Most of these were then shipped to Alan Mann Racing. In some cases we had the power at Ford to get a special build of engines or car chassis straight from the factory without the parts having to come to Charlotte. At the same time we were racing Falcons in America.

After unloading at the docks, the Falcons and Econoline support vehicles are rowed up for being driven to Alan Manns shop.

2. How many engines did Holman-Moody deliver to Alan Mann, if you remember?

A 1964 Falcon #49 being prepared by the A.Mann Rracing team on site at the Monte Carlo rally 1964

The first Mustangs delivered to Alan Mann also carried HM preppred engines. This is one of two being raced in the Liege-Sofie-Liege rallye early 1964.

 The total numbers of items, cars, or engines shipped has been lost with time. I know that the engine builder at Alan Mann Racing built and rebuilt a number of engines as well. Unlike the Shelby team, that wanted 100% of the credit for anything-- Alan Mann & John Holman wanted to do the best job they could for Ford, so the work progressed with each group doing what was called for ---- and the goal was for a Ford to win not an Alan Mann Ford or a Holman Moody Ford-- Just a Ford.

1964 rallye Falcons being prepared in the A. Mann Racing garage. Hoods are opened for further enhancements and rear brakes and suspension were worked on

Alex Campion (on right) with another mechanic working on the TDF Mustangs - equipped with Holman Moody prepared engines - at Alan Mann Racing, Byfleet/Surrey

3. There is little known about your 427 Mustang project. Henry Chemin and later Michel Moga raced a 427 68 Mustangs here in Europe built by Holman Moody. Do you remember anything about those cars?

Henri Chemin imported a 1968 427 notchback prepared by Holman Moody acc. to a  "Retroviseur" article in 2008. 

Same car driven later by Michel Moga 
Source M.Moga website (France) and www.autodiva.fr

 I do not recall the 427 Mustang but I know HM built a few 67 & 68 Mustang race cars. There were about 4 racing classes that the Mustangs could run in with small block or 427 engines. 
By 1966 we
had 400 workers and could build a car a week, so when I was gone for a month on a project I could miss any number of cars. We were building the suspension for the Trans-Am cars as well.

Another 1968 427 raced by Martin Birrane in UK. This car was parted out later and is lost acc. to its last owner.

4. Wouldn't be a new 1968 427 Mustang a hot seller today, if you use the Dynacorn body?

Creating a W-code (427cui) 68 Mustang in those days was not a factory option. One prototype however appeared in a magazine test, but others were built by HM for a drag racer called "Zibsh" and a few performance dealers. This car pictured here is not a true 427 car (confirmed as an April 68 S-code car by K. Marti and wrong tags), but it seemed to have been equipped at least quite early or latest in the 8oies with a 427 and is located in Switzerland. 


Editors Note:
Write in to Lee Holman via their website to give them a base to calculate a small series of W-code HM Mustangs. The Editor would really like to see it and own one soon.

 We have looked into building some new Holman Moody Mustangs with the 427 engine and that may happen.

John Holman counting the numerous 427 engines back then. 
Source: might be Dr. John Craft collection, any correction appreciated

5. In a picture published in the Autovisie/NL magazine I saw a 67/68 white/blue Mustang or Shelby in the background. Can you tell something about that car.

 The white & Blue Mustang in the shop photo, has an original Wood Brothers Holman Moody 427 race engine -- it is owned by a good friend who has us fix it-- brakes, seals & such-- drives it for a week or two then parks the car for 5 or 6 years-- he then calls wanting it fixed again. 

It is in for the 4 time to have the brakes fixed and seals replaced. In 28 years it has only been driven 2000 miles that is why we have to keep fixing the thing.


6. You mention in the interview with Ton Roks from Autovisie/NL, that initially John Willment put a small block in a UK roadster and had the idea of creating a "Cobra", before Shelby "managed" it. Any more details on that one?

 Pictures will follow

Editors note: 
John Willment was a Ford dealer before he teamed up with John Wyer for  JW Automotive working on the GT40. Indeed he had a Ferrari #001C (temporarily renumbered at 010L) in his posesssion from 1951-1974. (see John Starkeys Ferrari site)
We are looking for a picture of both the Ferrari with the 260 as well as the AC Ace. A trace worth to follow for AC and Shelby Cobra historians.

Holman Moody had a good working relationship with JW Automotive--selling them complete 1963 Galaxies-- marine engines-- Mustang parts and such. From about 1962 we started shipping parts & engines to John Willment ( owner of JW). I know he put one of our early small block 260 engines in a Ferrari but found the car to be a bit small.

He bought a AC Ace less engine and put a 260 in that as well. My father drove the Ace with our engine. I am not claiming that Willment made a Cobra, only that other people were building these one off sports cars. While Shelby did the marketing that made the AC Ace with a Ford engine into a "COBRA" it was the marketing not the design that Shelby should get credit for.


7. What is your opinion on the current Shelby sueing (2008)?

 Mr Shelby has gotten with age, to be a bit of a one man (he did it all by himself) band. Those of us who were there know, just how many people worked very hard to make the name Ford a winner in racing.

Take the year 1965, Ford had contracted Alan Mann Racing to run the Cobras in Europe. The Shelby team won in America, but after that it was Alan Mann's team that raced the cars winning the championship in 1965 for the Ford Cobra. 

Because Shelby America was owned by Ford Motor Company, it became the "Shelby Ford Cobra won the championship". Now it is recalled as 1965, the year Shelby won the championship.

8. Your dreams for the next years of Ford Performance cars ?

And something about your latest developments that are not yet known?


My personal goal is to have 10 real Holman Moody Mark IIs running at the Daytona & Le Mans Historic races. Having driven my Mark II at a number of tracks, it is just the most wonderful car to play with--no computers, turbos, wings, or modern junk-- just the power of a real 427 pushing you down the straight like the hand of God. 

Because we built the Mark IIs and they raced with Holman & Moody serial number plates the FIA REGARDS MY NEW MARK IIs proper vintage Mark IIs. The only thing stopping this dream is buyers for the new Mark IIs.

Lee Holman

Steve Francis with Lee Holman and his own MKII in the background 2008 at the Virginia International Raceway Gold Cup.

Thanks a lot, Lee.

We will add more information on the Thunderbolt 427 and other HM cars in the near future.

The new Thunderbolt Fairlane 427 has a base price of about 180.000 dollar in race trim ready to go for FIA races. Alan Mann was again involved in the new FIA approval like in the good 'ol days..

14 GT40 MKII chassis waiting for customers. The price is around 700.000 Dollar, not much against the value of approx. 2,5million dollar of an original one. 

Further information and sources:



In 2014 I met Lee personally during the 50th. Anniversary in Charlotte. He gave me a private tour and I enjoyed for quite some time being left alone in their library browsing old documents. They contain a lot of unknown information, blueprints of GT40 stuff and homologation conversation letters. It was also good to talk to genuine mechanics in their shop.
Some of the good memories however have been a bit watered up due to so many incoming letters from HM maniacs suggesting other stories and found cars, so over the years it became a bit unclear to some of them themselves, what is true and what just retold stories from others.
I read some of these rare finds letters and many sounded credible, while others just seem to be written from people that wanted to have a car verified that was never a true HM modified car. Therefore I could understand much better that history is also about credibility of people narrating stories. After some time you just remember what someone said 2-5 years ago than what happened really in those days. Fading to a grey zone. Therefore it is good to preserve memories at the right time, but put a torch once and then on the issues with facts.


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