Friday, November 23, 2007

Congratulations to Anna Sorensson!!!

I just received word that Anna has just received official notice from the Automobile Club de Monaco that she has been accepted to participate in the annual running of 11e Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique which will take place from 1st to 6th February 2008.

As soon as I get more information as to whom is competing with Anna I will be sure to post it. Anna was navigator for Ralf Christensson in car #389 in a beautiful Monte Carlo Falcon and they are an awesome team. I hope they will both be running together since they are such a good team. We are very excited for them and wish them all the best and I will keep their ongoing results posted as their adventure continues.

Ralf and Anna had a little bad luck in this years La Carrera but knowing that's just part of racing they took it like the true champions that they are. Had their car not taken a wrong turn thru some trees on a hillside or had a flat in another section they would have had an even better showing. Now that I think about it, all of the Falcons in this years race suffered some bad luck. One team bought a car literally days before the race and managed to show up in time to pass tech inspection only to blow their engine in the beginning of the race. Another was a guy we became good friends with and his name was Joe Harding owner of car #380. Joe was hauling the mail thru Mexico City and afterwards during a transit stage Jon and I saw him smoking a lot so we pulled up next to him and pointed it out. At the time it was smoking so bad we thoyght it was oil. Later he found the water-pump had gone bad and the fan went thru his radiator. Now that I think about it, all three of these cars were red! Hmmm.

Ralf's Monte Carlo Falcon is unique in that many people don't realize they are not just an ordinary Ford Falcon. In 1964 Ford Motor Company fully sponsored eight entries using the restyled 1964 Ford Falcon "Sprint" in the Monte Carlo Rallye. Keep in mind this was going on at the same time that Carroll Shelby was building the now famous GT350. In fact Shelby's engines were installed in the Monte Carlo Falcons and they were topped off with not one but two 4 barrel carburetors. This was the same hi-po motor that was to achieve similar racing glory in early Cobras, GT40s. Ford decided to center their rally efforts on the newly restyled 1964 Falcon "Sprint" through the mid-year of 1964 until the new Mustang model was introduced.

Besides all the usual goodies that Ford had to offer such as the top loader transmission and Ford 9 inch rear end and tricked out suspension that Shelby helped design the '64 Rally Falcon weighed only 2,156 pounds, almost a thousand pounds less than the stock Sprint. The weight savings was mainly gained from the fiberglass pieces that were specially made for the hood, rear deck lid, front fenders and doors. The front windshield was made from safety glass, but the remainder of the windows were made from Lexan which is a lightweight polycarbonate material.
The interior of the Falcon was also furnished in a manner to reduce weight. The front seats and the dash were the main components of the interior. Standard trim such as door panels and carpeting were removed. The dash was outfitted with a tachometer and rally equipment, and the rear seat area was fitted with an array of tools.

So as you can see, the Monte Carlo Falcons were anything but ordinary just like Anna and Ralf, both ready to take on any sort of race venue set in front of them.

One funny story about Ford's success with the Monte Carlo Falcons is about the seven Econoline vans that were used as support vehicles. Arrangements were made with Holman and Moody to outfit the Econolines with 427 engines and NASCAR suspensions.

After the Econolines were delivered to Europe, one Falcon van and its unnamed driver created a huge traffic jam during the London rush hour. The van was hauling a load of tires and a retaining chain broke and spewed a load of tires from the back of the van. Tires went bouncing off the hoods of cars and in all directions on the streets and sidewalks of Trafalgar Square. Fortunately, nobody was injured, but the Falcon rally effort received some unwanted press coverage on the BBC News that night.

Then there was the time a support driver was cruising along an open highway in Europe. The van was towing one of the Rally Falcons on a trailer. The driver of the van did not like the way a Porsche passed him and decided to catch up to him and show the driver a thing or two about the strange American machinery not to mention the middle finger no doubt. Can you imagine the look on the Porsche driver’s face as the van towing the Falcon went sailing by him at an unmentionable rate of speed!

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