“Leisurely was not a word in Bosse’s vocabulary,” George Merwin once said of Swedish rally driver Bosse “Bo” Ljungfeldt. Driving an Alan Mann-prepared Ford Mustang in the 1964 Tour de France, a car that recently emerged from restoration and has been put up for sale, Ljungfeldt thus had a good chance to claim the pony car’s first motorsports win, were it not for a simple electrical gremlin.
Merwin, writing about Ford’s 1963 and 1964 European rally efforts with the Falcon in a 1979 issue of Automobile Quarterly, relayed a story from Graham Hill – a member of the 1964 Falcon rally team – in which Hill described Ljungfeldt’s driving style. “He told about following Bosse over a special stage on which Bosse actually would pass cars by flinging his Falcon up the face of the mountain bordering the narrow road and then dropping back down. As Graham said, ‘I saw him do it time after time and I still don’t believe it.'”
Ljungfeldt, an ice racing champion, had already been under contract to Ford of Europe to drive a Cortina, but as Merwin put together a rally team using Holman and Moody-prepared Falcons to tackle Monte Carlo in 1963, he decided to give Ljungfeldt a shot. He didn’t regret it; Ljungfeldt, though he placed 43rd overall, won all six of the rally’s speed stages and contributed to the Ford marketing blitz that eventually forced Saab to take out its own ads noting that Saab, not Ford, actually won the rally. In the 1964 Monte Carlo rally, Ljungfeldt then took first in class and second overall.
With the arrival of the Mustang, however, Ford dropped the Falcon from its European rally schedule like a hot croissant. At the same time, Ford brought on Alan Mann in England to prepare the rally cars. Mann, according to an interview with Wolfgang Kohrn at PonySite.de, tested Mustang prototypes for Ford as early as February or March of 1964, and later received six production Mustangs from Ford: two white ones destined for the 1964 Liege-Sofia-Liege rally in August (neither of which finished), and four red K-code examples for the Tour de France Automobiles the following month.
First organized in 1899, the Tour de France Automobile, which spread its racing over France’s major tracks and up its more daunting mountain passes, was reborn in 1951 and ultimately ran through 1986. French drivers typically dominated the event, but they typically did so in Ferraris and Jaguars, particularly during the early 1960s. In 1964, the Tour would include 117 starters covering 3,700 miles over nine days, visiting such tracks as Reims, Le Mans, and, briefly crossing into Italy, Monza.
As told to Kohrn, the Tour de France Mustangs received Holman and Moody-prepared 289s, Girling disc brakes, and a selection of heavy-duty suspension components either developed for the earlier Falcon rally cars or borrowed from the full-size Galaxie. They also used 60-amp alternators to run the additional forward-facing lighting, heavy-duty radiators, and open exhaust. Mann prepared three of the four to race, keeping one in reserve as a spare. That spare car he would drive himself along with the support retinue, which included a Ford 390-powered Econoline that Ford had Holman and Moody prepare for the Falcon rally efforts.
(A fourth Mustang was entered in the 1964 Tour de France Automobiles, though it was entered by Ford of France and not by Alan Mann Racing.)
According to Mann, Ljungfeldt – who lost power during the Liege rally and drove his car off a 40-foot cliff – suffered another electrical gremlin in the Mustang assigned to him for the Tour de France, license number DPK 5B, which ran under racing number 82. While Mann claimed that Ljungfeldt’s car finished the race, the official results show that it retired, along with the Ford of France-entered Mustang. (Reportedly, Ljungfeldt was disqualified due to “unauthorized help with a battery problem.”) The other two Mustangs, however, finished eighth and ninth overall and first and second in the Touring car class.
The post-race history of the cars gets a little murky. All three were slated to be returned to Ford (or, if sold, the proceeds were to appear as a credit on Alan Mann’s Ford account). Kohrn reported that the class-winning car did indeed return to the United States and that the second-in-class car may have gone on to compete in and win the 1965 British Touring Car Championship series.
The Alan Mann Racing site notes that the Ljungfeldt-driven Mustang was sold to a Ford dealer in Bournemouth, which had Mike Salmon race it, and which later sold the Mustang to Rob Slotemaker, all despite unpaid import duties that should have caused the UK’s Customs department to impound and destroy the car. After half a century, the Mustang found its way back to Alan Mann Racing, which restored the Mustang in its Tour de France livery and which confirmed the Mustang’s identity based on its chassis number (5F07K208111), on the original paint under subsequent racing color schemes, and on the recollections of one of the Alan Mann engineers who originally worked on the car.
Following the restoration, the Mustang crossed the block as part of Bonhams’s Goodwood Revival sale last year with a pre-auction estimate of £250,000 to £300,000 but didn’t sell. Still in the United Kingdom, the Mustang is now up for private sale with an asking price of $225,000. For more information, visit the Hemmings.com listing for the Mustang.