The Goodwood Revival is world renowned for celebrating the living history of motor sports. One of the great stories of this year's Revival is the 45th anniversary of the Ford Mk IV win at Le Mans. Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt were the first American drive team and all-American car to win the 24 hours of Le Mans race. This incredible win was supported by the best team in the business, led by Carroll Shelby.
Many obstacles were overcome to win the race, including the failed windshields of the Ford cars, which were cracking just days before the race was about to start. The millions of dollars that Ford had spent to win Le Mans and beat Ferrari were at risk, because the cars could not be allowed to run with damaged windshields. Ford immediately had a new set of windshields made in the United States and flew them all in first-class seats on a commercial airliner to France. Ford then flew in Terje Johansen, a Norwegian glass engineer living in Brussels, to install the windshields to ensure they would not crack again. Terje worked from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. installing the windshields just hours before the start of the race.
The rest was, of course, history.
Today Terje Johansen, pictured on the left and Dan Gurney, pictured on the right met for the first time - 45 years later after the famous win at Le Mans. Terje Johansen brought a set of photographs taken while he was installing the windshields at Le Mans and gave them to Matt Anderson, our Curator of Transportation for the Racing in America archives as part of our Collections to further document the process of innovation in racing.
Here at The Henry Ford, we participate in a lot of car shows. From the events we host here, like Motor Muster and Old Car Festival, to those organized by members of the car enthusiast community, we love to show off the cars in our collection. While our presenters dress the part for events held in Greenfield Village, it’s not everyday that our team dresses the part of a 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans pit crew just to be able to gain access to a car show.
This week our Executive Vice President Christian Overland, Curator of Transportation Matt Anderson, and Conservation Specialist Robert Coyle took a step back to the 1960s and left Dearborn for West Sussex, England, to take part in the Goodwood Revival, a car festival celebrating post-World War II (1948 to 1966) road racing automobiles and motorcycles.
The Revival started in 1995 as a throwback to the original days of racing on the Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit. Races stopped at the track in 1966. Today vintage clothing is a must and you won’t see a modern day car anywhere on site.
Our THF team accompanied our 1967 Ford Mark IV in tribute to racing legend Dan Gurney, who’s being honored at this year’s revival. Dan and his co-driver A.J. Foyt wheeled the Mark IV to victory in the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans. While the Revival allows cars only from 1948 to 1966, our 1967 Ford was considered very important in the celebration of Dan’s achievements and was allowed to be displayed.
A big part of the preparation for the Revival was making sure our team had period-correct clothing to wear on site. Robert and Matt are dressed as 1967 Mark IV pit crew members. Our research team, led by Jeanine Miller, Curator of Domestic Life, used photos from the race to make sure every piece of the outfits was correct. In addition to the photos, our Senior Curator of Transportation Bob Casey spent time talking with Charles Agapiou, a Ford mechanic at LeMans in 1967 to insure the accuracy of the clothing.
What exactly do their outfits look like?
Burgundy short-sleeve shirt with orange buttons: Matt and Robert’s shirts were purchased from Lands End. But our period clothing department expertly tailored the shirts to recreate the more fitted look of the mid-1960s.
Blue on a white background Ford oval patch: We had these custom made locally for the work shirts to match the special patches worn at LeMans in 1967.
White pants: Lands End jeans were tailored to be shorter for a decade-appropriate look.
Chukka boots: The mechanics often wore these to provide some ankle support.
Christian is dressed as an American businessman traveling with the racing team. Jeanine outfitted Christian in a vintage 60s-era sport coat; new, but decade-appropriate slacks; and a fedora from our period clothing shop. His ensemble is topped off by the classic 60s skinny tie.
For the visitors to the Goodwood Revival, the three-day event is a celebration of an era gone by. We’re proud to be a part of it – hopefully we’ve played the part as authentically as possible!
To see what this weekend's action was like, take a look at their streaming feed.
The Henry Ford mourns the passing of Carroll Shelby—race car driver, champion team owner, automotive designer, true innovator.
From his racing days behind the wheel, to his innovative designs on the track, one common trait threads through all that he accomplished in his more than 50 years in the automotive racing field: passion. He was a firm believer in being passionate about what you did and what you created, always focusing on the future. When asked what was his favorite car creation, he would reply, "the next one."
We are grateful to Mr. Shelby for his pioneering leadership and all that he has done in the automotive and racing industries and we are proud to display his work in the 1967 Ford Mark IV LeMans Race Car in Henry Ford Museum.