SEP 02nd 2015

Video: 7‑litre Fairlane Thunderbolt goes Revival Testing

We have mentioned once-or-twice of late that this year’s St Mary’s Trophy is shaping up to be a bit special, based upon the cars we’ve seen testing at Gooders recently and the determination of the drivers and teams running them. 

Andrew_Jordan_Testing_Promo_01092015 Thunderbolt

So far we’ve pointed out the BTCC-themed pairings of Matt Neal/Gordon Shedden and Mike Jordan/Andrew Jordan as being ones to watch. Certainly, both teams were extracting enormous performance from their Lotus Cortinas and don’t seem to be in the mood to make up the numbers. Similarly, ‘Mr Mustang’ Bill Shepherd was often troubling the timekeepers with his brutal 7-litre Ford Galaxie, which he’ll share in the two part race with none other than Jochen Mass. Having watched those three outfits in testing, we were of the opinion that one would end up as the St Mary’s Trophy victor. But then the car you see here turned up …

Henry Mann, son of the great Alan Mann whose fast Fords enjoyed a rich history of winning back in the day, arrived with this Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt. Available originally as an experimental factory car, the (100 made) Thunderbolts were significantly lighter than the Galaxie and yet shared a similar 7-litre motor. A custom for ‘sandbagging’ horsepower figures in America back in the Sixties meant that they were officially credited with producing around 425bhp, although the actual output was reckoned to be well-over 500bhp. In a body weighing in at under 1500 kilos that’s a pretty handy amount of snort. To put it all into context, back in the Sixties a Thunderbolt would cover a standing quarter mile in about the same time it would take a modern Audi R8 GT today.

Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt

Alan Mann Racing ran a Thunderbolt in-period although that car has seemingly vanished over time. The faithful recreation you see here was nailed together by Holman Moody in 2002-2003 and has only recently been finished in a colour scheme closely resembling the car Alan Mann used to run.

Before we learned who the second driver would be we had a hunch that the car was going to go very, very fast indeed. Then we found out that Le Mans legends Tom Kristensen would be sharing the controls with the rapid Mr Mann…

But please, don’t take our word for it. Take a look at the latter’s style around Goodwood, imagine the aforementioned Lotus Cortinas and the Galaxie snapping at the Thunderbolt’s heels and you can see why we continue to assert that this St Mary’s Trophy race is going to be epic. Oh and have we mentioned Nick Swift and Karun Chandhok in the former’s Mini yet? See what we mean?!   

Gallery - Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt

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