by Marshall Gardner
Holman & Moody are renowned as the team that built virtually all of the factory Ford racecars of the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's, driven by Bobby and Donnie Allison, Mario Andretti, Johnny Beauchamp, Jimmy Clark, A.J. Foyt, Dan Gurney, Graham Hill, Ned Jarrett, Parnelli Jones, Junior Johnson, Fred Lorenzen, Tiny Lund, Marvin Panch, Benny Parson, Richard Petty, David Pearson, Fireball Roberts, Wendell Scott, Jackie Stewart, Curtis Turner, Bobby Unser, Joe Weatherly, Cale Yarborough, Lee Roy Yarbrough, and many more, but their influence and achievements extend even beyond this. They rank as the most successful team in motorsports history.
It began in the early 1950's when John Holman, of Southern California, was a crew chief for the Carrera Panamericana Lincolns, while Ralph Moody was running his own speed shops and driving his nearly unbeatable midgets in New England. In 1956 John Holman moved his young family to Charlotte, North Carolina, to manage Ford's new stock car racing effort. Ralph Moody was already one of the factory driver-mechanics. They won their very first race together, foreshadowing the future. In 1957, Ford officially left racing under the AMA ban, but not before selling the Charlotte operation to the new partnership - Holman & Moody. So began the most storied racing program in the world, where Competition Proven became more than a trademark.
John Holman was the ambitious merchant, the business manager, and the master salesman. Ralph Moody's special gift was translating track behavior into mechanical innovations. Once these talents were combined, the partners never looked back. The team grew from a shoe-string operation to a multi-million dollar business complex devoted to racing, high-performance component design, engineering, testing and manufacturing. Three hundred employees worked around the clock to support the Holman & Moody racing dynasty that traversed the globe and transcended the sport of racing. Holman & Moody was the foremost and most prolific manufacturer of racecars and racing components in the world. Holman & Moody made Charlotte, North Carolina the Racing Capital of the world.
Holman & Moody's innovations included the fuel cell, full-floater rear axle, on-board fire systems, quick change disk brakes and much more. The 1966 Holman & Moody Fairlane is the basis for today's NASCAR racecars. Future crew chiefs who learned their trade at Holman & Moody include Robert Yates, Waddell Wilson, Keith Dorton, Jake Elder, Junior Johnson, Bondi Long, Bud Moore, the Wood Brothers, and Smokey Yunick.
Highlights of the team's record include Dan Gurney's five wins at Riverside, David Pearson's 1968 and 1969 Grand National Championship, and the David Pearson/Wood Brothers #21 victory in NASCAR's Greatest Race of All Time – the 1976 Daytona 500. Driving a Holman & Moody Ford in 1963, Fred Lorenzen was one of the nation's highest paid athletes at $122,558. In 1965, Holman & Moody-built Fords won 48 of 55 Grand National Races - a record that has never been broken. In 1966 the Holman & Moody-built Ford GT40 Mark II's finished 1-2-3 at Daytona, then 1-2-3 at Sebring, and then, in the most famous racing victory of all time, 1-2-3 at LeMans. Holman & Moody piled on many more wins over three decades of competition to amass a cumulative record unparalleled in the era.
In Can Am, Drag Racing, Sports Cars, European Rally Racing, NASCAR, Indy, Off Road, Off-shore Boat Racing, USAC, and throughout the world of motorsports, the slogan "Competition Proven" personified the team that became legendary for winning – Holman & Moody.