Bob Ford, Inc. of Dearborn, MI sponsored no less than 4 Thunderbolts during 1964. Three were "directly" sponsored by them, with a fourth car given some support but run by a privateer (and not featured on this page yet). Two of these cars were from the first group of 11 built, and one came from the last group of 50.
The second Thunderbolt finished went to Bob Ford (4 speed) and was driven by Len Richter. Len drove it to an AHRA Championship in 1964, winning countless races along the way. Len's job was a special test driver, and it was his job to drive this car!!
Len and his T-Bolt can be seen in a 1964 documentary movie about drag racing, called "The 1320". This movie is included in a 1964 Ford video still available. I hope my advertisement of this video will allow me to show the following clip. Here you go, check your volume and then click here for the clip.
During 1965, Bob Ford continued to campain the car. It was driven by Ken Vogt and painted yellow. Ken called the car "Stinger". Notice the bumble bee on the quarter.
This photo is after the car was sold, so the "BOB FORD INC" is no longer on the door.
Sometime around 1966, the car was purchased by Paul Moody and Billy Williams. They paid $2500 for the car. The car was painted blue and red, and sponsored by Expressway Gulf. It was raced by them for a year or two, then owned by several people, and finally faded away during a time when the cars where forgotten.
Today, this car is owned by my friend and Thunderbolt collector / researcher Dennis Kolodziej. Dennis has restored the car to it's 1964 condition and kept it as original as possible, down to the wheels, fiberglass pieces, plexiglass windows, and even taillights. The same person lettered the car both in '64 and '04!
Len Richter and the original Bob Ford Thunderbolt. Reunited after 40 years.
The second car that Bob Ford Inc ran was the only automatic car built out of the first group. It was driven by Paul Harvey. The paint job was similar to the number 2 car, without "THUNDERBOLT" on the quarter.
Unfortunately, the car was wrecked in 1965 (after being sold), killing the driver. I have no information on what happened after that. The car was probably stripped and scrapped.
The final car sponsored by Bob Ford Inc was the 4 speed car called "T-Bolt Too". It was driven by Jerry Harvey, Paul's son.
This Thunderbolt is now owned by Don Snyder. Don and his son have several Thunderbolts and actively race them.
Go to the "NEW PHOTOS" page to see this car racing in it's restored condition.
I know there is more information on these cars, so if anyone wants to help out that would be great!
Does anyone have a photo of the automatic car when it was wrecked???
***Thanks to Tim Maloney at DST Industries for forwarding the Expressway Gulf T-Bolt Photos !!!
***Thanks to Rick Proctor for the Bob Ford Automatic car pit shot
T-Bolt Too photo courtesy of Race Car Art, from a Super Stockers in Action Magazine.
Assorted TBolt Images
The History of Individual Cars