The famous 'Pony' car the Ford Mustang has a long history of racing in special saloons despite being mainly imported for the British Saloon Car Championship. Teams were often dove-tailing between the BSCC and club races in search of track time and any prize money. Team owner Alan Mann was probably the main driving force having imported the works-built Ford Falcons and Mustangs. It was Mann who recorded the Mustang's first win on UK soil in a rare drive on January 31st 1965 at Brands Hatch in the postponed Boxing Day meet. Several drivers bought Mustangs and raced them in club events ,Jackie Oliver the most famous in 1966 followed by Aussie Bryan Thomson 8 wins in 1967 and best of all Robin Smith with 14 class wins ( 7 outright ) the same season.
By the 1970s their were still a few Mustangs about in club racing and as the model progressed the newer Boss versions started to appear notably with Martin Birrane.
This page attempts to review the 1970's Mustang racers.
Brian Cutting from Bournemouth had a long and varied career in special saloons and raced his Mustang from 1967 into 1970 before moving onto the Martin V8-engined Escort. For sale at the end of 1969 it was described as 'Ex Alan Mann, immaculate in metallic turquoise. Full lightweight equipment. For a £1250.
3 races known all at Castle Combe in 1970 before the car was eventually sold after being readvertised in 1971.
Martin Thomas is perhaps best remembered for that famous televised race at Crystal Palace against Gerry Marshall in his white Camaro. Before he switched from blue oval to GM Thomas raced an older Mustang ,also white and also with Ovaltine sponsorship. Prepared by S.R.G. racing ( Saffron Road Garages ) Thomas twice won special saloon races at Snetterton in 1970 and also scored points in 5 BSCC rounds. Initially running a 380-bhp 289ci V8 then a full 5-litre J-block unit. The car was advertised for sale at the end of the season described as 'Group 2 saloon car. 2 years left on homologation. Immaculately prepared. With choice of 3 engines having used a 4.7 for £1155 plus extra for engine and was sold to David Enstone
Bernard Mayes is maybe one of the lesser known drivers in saloon car racing but he had a very fruitfull 1970 season ! Racing entirely at Snetterton he took his ex-Alan Mann Mustang to 6 class wins ( 5 outright ) in at least 12 races.
Irish-born London-based Estate agent caught the big banger bug in the late 60s and raced both a huge Ford Fairlane and a Ford Falcon. The latter gave Martin 16 wins during 1968/69. By April 1970 he had moved to a yellow and black 7-litre '68 notchback Mustang ( 6985cc ) ( his second choice after plans to run a Barracuda fell through ) which Autosport described as 'a 7-litre Mustang with 520 bhp but as yet no handling...'when this engine blew he ran with 450 bhp single-holley for the rest of the season. Overcoming 'an alarming lack of brakes' the car finally fulfilled it potential with a BSCC class win in the final round . The car having been sorted was sold to Tony Rosen and Martin aquired a Boss 302 ( see below ).
Martin enjoyed a long and varied career including Le Mans and the ex-Mick Hill Capri before eventually taking over Lola Cars.
British Saloon car regular Dennis Leech made occasional appearences in club saloon races in his new Boss Mustang. The Farmer from Exeter had shot to fame in his Ford Falcon (TPE 4F ) in 1969. His 2 races in 1970 club races were both at Thruxton ,colliding with Pierpoint's Rover in August then beating Birrane to the flag in the September 'Yellow Pages' race. Dennis' Green and red 5-litre desribed in Autosport as 'started life as a road car in America, he brought it over to this country and carried out the G2 conversion himself. Engine used Webers and gave an estimated 440bhp. 'Noticably quicker in a straight line than Gardner's car' but didnt handle as well and suffered with overheating problems in first half of the season. 8 British Saloon car rounds in 1970 .
Dennis enjoyed this car in the British Saloons car championship until putting it up for sale mid-1975 for £2750 still in G2 spec and with nearly 600bhp Holman +Moody 429.
David Enstone purchased the ex-Ovaltine Mustang from Martin Thomas for the 1971 season having previously been raced by Jackie Oliver (DR Racing) and John Ewer. After a difficult BRDC Championship opener when the the halfshaft broke for the second time in a week during the race Enstone settled in for the season.
Martin took his 4th American race car for 1971 and it was beautiful Boss 302 Trans Am car built by Kar Kraft. This became a familiar sight at UK circuits in the British Saloon car championships 1971-73 and also some special saloon races. Sponsored by Cona Coffee for 1972 it famously caused an issue when it raced in Portugal due to the meaning of the word Cona !
The car's BSCC career eneded with the end of the Group 2 era at the end of the 1973 season. Martin raced in many other disciplines and by 1976 the car had moved on to Dave McCloy and then raced in Welsh hillclimb events by Alvin Powell. Its history is well documented on the 2 websites linked below.
Birrane also had 1 race each in his Fairlane and in his Falcon in April.
Leech holds off Baillie Russell in the Anglia at Thruxton.
The Mustangs faded from UK tracks until the rise of the ASCAR series which started with mainly Camaros in 1979 but had an influx of Mustangs inn the early 80's noticably the ex-Rocky Moran Trans Am Boss for Tony Wolfe and Brian Sheridan.
Elsewhere ,well particularly at Oulton Park Roy Yates developed his Mach One through the 80's and is featured on this page linked :
Birrane ( left ) cant stop Dave Brodie nipping passed at Brands Hatch in September 1970.