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Willis Ford

The Willis Ford Thunderbolt, as it was originally raced.

I was recently contacted by Al Kitts. Al raced several cars in the 60s, and was able to purchase a Thunderbolt and had a very successful career with it. Here is his story as is was sent to me.

Al Kitts, from Richfield Springs, N. Y. started racing on the streets of Schenectady, N.Y. in the late 50's with Shirley Muldowny and many others. He won his first sanctioned race in 1960 at Fonda, N.Y. In 1961 he had 48 wins in super stock, driving a 1961 Ford Starliner, 390/401hp. He finished the year winning the NASCAR NATIONALS in SS. In 1962 he worked on 406 FORDS with Richie Evans, which produced only a couple of wins.

In 1963 he joined the Willis Ford race team in Waterbury, Vt. Al quickly rose to the top of the team driving their 63 427 Lightweight Galaxie.

In 1964 Willis Ford had enough pull to acquire a Thunderbolt. With Al driving, the car became the one to beat in Northern New England and Quebec. 1964 was a very good year for Willis Ford, setting many track records and winning the Canadian Nationals. After a call from Griffith Motors, Willis Ford teamed up with Jack Griffith and designed the only Griffith ever made for drag racing. Once again with Al Kitts at the wheel it became the car to beat. The car was unbeaten that year in AA/Sports. The dealership was sold that year and it ended the Willis Ford, Flying Fords forever.


Al Kitts