The Henry Ford

Among the rich and diverse holdings of The Henry Ford is one of the seminal racing cars in American history: the Lotus-Ford that won the 1965 Indianapolis 500. This extraordinary vehicle was the result of a partnership between British sports and formula-one car builder Lotus and the quintessentially American Ford Motor Company. The two were brought together by legendary American road-racer Dan Gurney. In the early 1960s Gurney concluded that the sleek but technologically primitive front-engine American Indianapolis race cars could be defeated by proper application of rear-engine, European formula-one technology. He introduced Ford engineers to Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus and one of the world’s most innovative race car builders. The result was a lightweight Lotus chassis mated to a powerful, specially designed Ford V8 engine.

In 1965 a Lotus-Ford, driven by Scottish-born formula-one star Jimmy Clark, won the Indianapolis 500. With its aircraft-inspired monocoque chassis, four-wheel independent suspension, and rear-mounted engine, the Lotus-Ford effectively killed the traditional Indy car and established a new paradigm for American race cars. Thus the 1965 Lotus-Ford is one of the most significant racing cars in American history.

The Racing Exhibit
The Lotus will be a key component of an American racing exhibit for permanent display in Henry Ford Museum, part of The Henry Ford. While there are many great museums devoted to racing, none tells the broad story of the cars, the drivers, the owners, the sponsors, and the races in the context of American history.  The Henry Ford alone can do the breadth of this topic justice, for hard core race fans and novices alike. The exhibit will provide special access to the spectacular world of racing, via a dynamic, immersive, multi-sensory opportunity to meet the people, experience the risk, enjoy the spectacle and get a rare look at the behind-the-scenes culture of racing.

Artist rendering of American Auto Racing exhibit



We need your help!

We, at The Henry Ford, hope that racing fans worldwide who recognize the historical significance of preserving this vehicle will help make it possible The cost of restoring the Lotus-Ford is $80,000.

Please help us preserve one of the world's true racing treasures by contributing to this fund!


The Henry FordCopyright © 2012, The Henry Ford
The Henry Ford is an independent, non-profit, educational institution not affiliated with the Ford Motor Company or the Ford Foundation. The Henry Ford is an AAM accredited institution.