The Ford Mexico
By Jim and Cheryl Farrell
Most of us have seen the film “Ford Versus Ferrari.” That film will not be correct in all respects, however it does present Henry Ford II’s willingness to spend Ford cash to construct automobiles that received races just like the 24 Hours of LeMans. Fords received that race from 1966–69, however LeMans was not the primary nor will or not it’s the final time Ford went racing. In 1935, Ford-built race automobiles have been pushed in that 12 months’s Indianapolis 500—with not superb outcomes. Though Ford’s participation within the Mexican Street Races 17 years later was initiated by Benson Ford, HFII was properly happy when Lincoln received its class in that race in 1952, ’53 and ‘54.
Within the Nineteen Fifties, due to publicity about Corvette’s success throughout the Daytona Seaside Velocity Week, HFII determined to ship a properly ready 2-passenger Thunderbird to Daytona Seaside to compete. Throughout a velocity run, the Thunderbird hit a bump, took to the air at a reported 135 mph, went the wrong way up, after which slid down the seashore for about 1,500 toes. A lot to HFII’s embarrassment, the wreck was all captured on digital camera.
As a result of no one may inform HFII what went improper or how one can repair the issue with the brand new Thunderbird, he contacted Ford engineers and requested them. His engineers had no reply both, however they referred him to Ford’s resident aerodynamics skilled, Alex Tremulis, on the Ford Styling Heart.
Tremulis, who was head of the Superior studio on the time, instructed Mr. Ford that the issue was apparent—the Thunderbird developed an excessive amount of raise over the rear finish, and when it hit a bump it went airborne. HFII requested Tremulis how one can repair the issue. Tremulis instructed him it couldn’t be mounted, and the subsequent time the Thunderbird was going that quick it was doubtless the identical factor would occur if the automotive hit a bump. Tremulis then instructed Mr. Ford he wanted a zero-lift automotive to repair the issue. Mr. Ford didn’t actually know what Tremulis was speaking about, however when Tremulis instructed him he may design such a automotive, HFII instructed him to please achieve this.
Administration on the Ford Styling Heart was skeptical, and Tremulis was given just one week to design his aerodynamic, zero-lift automotive. So inside the subsequent week, Tremulis, with help from designer Romeyn Hammond and clay modeler Larry Wilson, transformed another person’s already completed 3/8-sized mannequin right into a race automotive Tremulis named the Mexico after the Mexican Street Races.
After the Mexico was completed, Tremulis and Hammond put in a full stomach pan. Most designer and engineers snickered, however Tremulis took the completed 3/8 mannequin with stomach pan to the College of Maryland’s wind tunnel the place, to everybody shock, it was decided to have a drag coefficient of .22 with the stomach pan and double that with out. When Tremulis returned to Dearborn, he instructed Mr Ford the outcome, and that he calculated the Mexico must be going 400 mph earlier than it developed raise issues. Consequently, HFII requested Tremulis to design a full-sized operable Mexico. The operable Mexico Tremulis designed had a tubular body and weighed solely 2,500 lbs, together with a 400-hp Mercury Marauder engine. Tremulis instructed HFII the Mexico, as he had designed it with the Marauder engine, had a calculated prime velocity of 240 mph—quick sufficient to beat the world’s quickest sports activities automobiles.
Within the 1954 Mexican Street Race, Lincoln received its class for the third 12 months in a row, and plans have been quickly underway getting ready for the 1955 race. The larger ‘56 Lincoln was purported to be launched for the 1955 mannequin 12 months, however due to the necessity for up to date engineering, together with a much bigger engine and brakes, it needed to be delayed for one 12 months. Consequently, eight inches have been added to the size of the ‘54 Lincoln physique model, largely within the rear finish. With different modifications, that automotive change into the ‘55 Lincoln. The additional size could have helped it present continuity with the subsequent (1956) Lincoln, however the additional size, totally on the rear of the ‘55 Lincoln, created an excessive amount of raise, which successfully disqualified it from consideration for future Mexican highway races. That left Ford Motor Co. with two selections in the event that they needed to take part within the 1955 Mexican Street Race: 1) use Mercurys as an alternative of Lincolns; and/or 2) enter a number of special-build Ford Mexicos in a special class and attempt to blow the doorways off of each different automotive within the race!
The choice whether or not to organize and enter Mercurys and/or to construct and enter the Mexico within the 1955 race didn’t have to be made as a result of future Mexican highway races have been cancelled after the 1954 race. (To many bystanders have been being killed or injured).
Many designers and engineers at Ford in that period believed that had there been a Mexican Street Race in 1955, Ford may have constructed Tremulis’ Mexico in time and it will have received that race. Along with competing within the Mexican Street Races, Ford designers and engineers dreamed of different races (just like the 24 Hours of Le Mans); a 2,500 lb., 400-hp Ford Mexico may have been entered.
After it was determined to not construct the Mexico as an actual race automotive, Tremulis made a 3/8-sized driver to take a seat within the Mexico’s drivers seat. The little man appeared similar to Tremulis with a racing helmet. Tremulis and Hammond additionally put in a platform below the Mexico with servos, battery and a radio-controlled electrical motor. Tremulis typically drove the Mexico inside and outdoors the Styling Heart, generally simply to see how far-off it could possibly be managed. Each earlier than and after Tremulis involuntarily left Ford in 1963, the Mexico normally sat on a raised bench close to the door to the Superior studio. Then at some point, it was gone. A pal later instructed Tremulis that after he left, about 20 of his fashions have been gathered up and moved to the Rouge, the place they have been put below a tarp—and years later have been destroyed.
Pictures: Ford Design