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Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

1967 Ford Mark IV Sports Car Racing: An American Way of Doing Things

November 22, 2019

1967 Ford Mark IV Race Car
The Mark IV gave Ford the second of four consecutive Le Mans victories, starting in 1966. Ferrari had dominated the 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning 8 of 12 races from 1954 through 1965. THF90733

This was the first all-American car and team to win the Le Mans 24-hour race. For decades, Europeans had dominated sports-car racing in cars with small, fast-turning, highly efficient engines. Americans typically used big, slower-turning, less-efficient V-8 engines. This car’s sophisticated chassis used aerospace techniques, and its shape was refined in a wind tunnel. But its big engine was based on Ford’s V-8 used for stock-car racing.

Close-up View of the Ford Mark IV Le Mans Engine
Close-up View of the Ford Mark IV Le Mans Engine, June 1967. THF119457

It was Ford vs. Ferrari in this race, with Ford ultimately coming out on top. The second-place Ferrari was more complicated and temperamental than the first-place Ford. It had a V-12 engine with fuel injection and twin distributors. The Ford (pictured above) had a V-8 engine with two four-barrel carburetors.

Dan
Dan Gurney and A. J. Foyt Popping Cork of Victory Champagne at the 24 Heures du Mans (24 Hours of Le Mans) Race, June 1967. THF127985

Two of America’s great race drivers, A.J. Foyt, right, and Dan Gurney, teamed up to win the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans in this car. Gurney’s post-race celebration included racing’s first-ever champagne spray.

Close-up View of the Ford Mark IV Le Mans Race Car Hull Honeycomb Construction
Close-up View of the Ford Mark IV Le Mans Race Car Hull Honeycomb Construction, 1967 / detail. THF87021

Holes cut in the chassis show its aircraft-style construction of aluminum honeycomb. The concept was to make it strong and lightweight.

Want to learn even more? See the Mark IV for yourself in Driving America inside Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. 

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