Of course, the tale of Jim Clark regularly borrowing the works Anglia fitted with the prototype twin cam engine during the Lotus Cortina development, scaring the hell out of E Type and Aston drivers, was part of the folklore of the times. I can remember the magazine headline from a 1962 publication saying something like “Jim Clark’s 110 Mph Anglia streetcar”. The mind literally boggled.
In my home town of Port Elizabeth, Motor City in SA & the home of both Ford and GM, hot Fords sprouted out of the pavement. And here is an interesting comparison, Ford folk were the enthusiasts and GM guys the straight laced conservatives….no surprise ….”racing doesn’t sell cars….people do” ….a maxim that lived with the General in SA right through the Can Am years ( we will cover this in future tales).
Here’s the thing though……GM had no street-cred in this part of the world, we had no John De Loreans and no ‘Small Block go faster culture’ to carry the flag. Donner and team’s No Racing, No fast car, No excitement extended to all four corners of the planet and really floored us. Clearly these hot – shots had no idea of the real consequences of this approach outside of the USA. Those American CEO’s handling the Vauxhall, Opel & GMSA operations, despite being hammered by their dealers to get with the programme, were more interested in towing the party line to keep their careers intact……Except for one brilliant exception….and we will talk about him in some detail in future tales.
Despite the archaic view of our masters, many of us just got on with the job of making Ford enthusiast’s lives as difficult as we could…… and we embraced the times. The riot of hot Fords on the street in addition to the track onslaughts described in Part 1, were a part of the psyche that will live with us forever. The Red Windmill and Bird Rock road houses the meeting places for all the hot machines…Marine Drive provided adequate black-top and the traffic light grands prix drove the local cops to distraction. ….sadly for us GM petrolheads, Ford did rule the roads, no question. Whilst outnumbered, we were not outgunned. For me the necessity to stand up to the fight was a just a simple necessity and we eventually walked away from the scrap with the two book-ends in place… not too much in the middle, which I guess for the Fordies was the important bit……we had the last word though.
The Kadett in pic was not what equivalent Fords wanted to meet on the street and of course when the Firenza Can Am arrived in late 1972….Ford had to put away their Capri Peranas and GTHOs.