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FAST FORDS: 50 YEARS UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH FORD’S FINEST

By Jeremy Walton

2024 review by James Loveridge

Helpfully, prolific author Jeremy Walton starts his new book with a brief summary of his life involved with motor cars and his close connections with the Ford Motor Company and motor sport. This puts the rest of this interesting book into its proper context.

Jeremy is at pains to make it clear this is not a hagiography. On the very first page he states firmly that this book is not “a toothless promotion of all things Blue Oval” and throughout the book he explains some of the issues that have arisen during his long relationship with Ford. He was employed full time by Ford for a period but, as he says, “It was largely a negative personal experience that even left a long-term health legacy.” Clearly the book needs to be read with that in mind though it is not thought this clouds his judgement.

As the title suggests this 408-page book is concerned with “performance” Fords, taking for granted the fact that from the very start by Henry Ford himself the company never made a “bad” car (even the Edsel was a perfectly adequate car, just not what the public wanted). As a result virtually ever model, including white-van man’s favourite, the Transit, has been capable of coping with upgraded performance though, fortunately, the Supervan doesn’t seem to have been available commercially.

Fifteen of the seventeen chapters deal with a particular model ranging from the notch-back Anglia through Cortina Escort, Capri, Fiesta, Sierra and Mondeo etcetera in their various guises. Each chapter goes into considerable detail, resulting principally from Jeremy’s personal experience, to tell how it was improved, giving its successes and some of the people who handled it. The seventeenth chapter, Powered by Ford, is perhaps the most interesting to those who are interested in makes other than Ford as it tells how Ford has contributed to the success of so many cars and makes in motor sport as well as ordinary road cars, for example AC Cobra, various Morgans, the Lotus Seven and Elan as well as the odd TVR. However, probably the most significant contribution to motor sport was the range of Cosworth-developed engines such as the DFV and others, leading to Formula One World Championships in the likes of Lotus. Ford themselves were no slouches on the race track, most notably with wins at Le Mans with the fabulous GT40, although it must be said that they did get a head start from Lola.

All in all this book provides a very interesting view in considerable depth of one company’s policy and history for the development of high performance and competition cars over a considerable period as seen by a sometime insider. As such it gives a pretty good idea of what it was like to be both a part of the motoring scene and a dispassionate observer for a significant time.

It is well produced on gloss paper with a large number of excellent photographs. It is published by Evro Publishing, Westrow House, Holwell, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 5LF.

Publisher: Evro Publishing (evropublishing.com)

Price: £60 direct from the publishers. Possibly cheaper on Amazon.

Description:   270mm x 210mm, 408 pages, hardback published without dust jacket. 300 photos.

ISBN: 978-1-910505-83-0


One response to “FAST FORDS: 50 YEARS UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH FORD’S FINEST”

  1. Jeremy Walton says:

    Thanks to the society–of which I am not a member–and Mr Loveridge for a thorough and fair book review. I have had a number of reviews of this title and this account covered some points not mentioned elsewhere. 10/10!

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