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Thoughts from Author Charlie Morris

I can best describe myself as old school in most aspects of my life. I particularly like “old” cars. The history surrounding them, both individually and collectively, is of great importance.

I have been a race fan since 1959 and have actively participated in drag racing on a number of different levels since 1964. I’ve written articles and covered events for a number of different automotive publications since 1989. As part of my affiliation with these publications I restored three cars: 1964 Fairlane, 1965 Mustang, and 1964 Ford Galaxie as projects. I currently have several “fun” cars that are regularly driven: A 1963 Ford Galaxie 500, a 1956 Ford Ranch Wagon, and a 1956 Ford Mainline business coupe. I have been a member of several successful drag racing teams over the years and most recently my partner and I won the 2010 East Coast Nostalgia Super Stock title and followed up with a second place finish in 2011.

I came on board with CarTech some years ago with my first effort at a book. The title was Total Performers: Ford Drag Racing in the 1960s.

The best way for me to describe the book is to say that it was a labor of love and basically a recounting of my memories growing up as a teenager in the 60s. That first book gave me the opportunity to meet many great people with similar interests and I learned a lot along the way as well.

My second book, Factory Lightweights: Detroit's Drag Racing Specials of the 1960s, was somewhat of a departure from my Ford roots. In Factory Lightweights, I researched and wrote about the drag racing special vehicles of all the auto manufacturers from 1960-1971. I found this work to be most rewarding as it allowed me to learn a great deal about the efforts outside of Ford, and introduced me to many of the wonderful and talented people involved in the GM and Chrysler racing programs.

Book number three was done at the request of my friends at CarTech who were looking for a “how-to” book on the Lima series Ford engines. It just so happened that my friend had undertaken the restoration of a rare 1970 Ford Torino NASCAR Pace Car which was powered by a 429 Cobra Jet engine, making it a perfect fit for the book. Of course I had to include my old favorite FE series and the 351 Cleveland as well.

I’m fond of saying that the older I get the further back in time I want to go and that is evidenced by my two 1956 Fords. The latter of these takes me back to my Y-block roots—my first pass down a legally sanctioned drag strip was in a 1954 Ford powered by a Y-block.

That brings us to my latest project with CarTech, tentatively called How to Rebuild and Modify Ford Y-Block Engines. It seems that this often maligned and overlooked engine series is finally getting some of the respect that it deserves. Traditionally, hot rod enthusiasts (and a stalwart few who have loved them all along), have generated enough interest in the Ford Y-block that several manufacturers of aftermarket performance parts have produced pieces that can be used to turn your Y-block into a world class performer.

And once again the timing was just right for yours truly, as my friend and collaborator Richard Stuck bought himself a 1957 Ford Custom with a factory supercharged 312 Y-block powerplant. This car, along with a plethora of engines and other parts that Rich recently purchased, will be the basis for my latest endeavor with CarTech.

Keep in mind that there has not been a book dedicated to this engine series in more than 20 years, and none written that cover the modern performance modifications available. I’m excited by the prospect of once again revealing more Ford history during this work and hope to make it the end-all book on this great engine series. This book will be available in mid to late 2013, and will cover rebuilds as well as performance modifications.

And, as if I’m not busy enough with all my car projects, I am acting as one of the coordinators for the 406/427 Ford Reunion to be held at the 2012 Carlisle All Ford event in Carlisle, PA, the first weekend of June. We are expecting to have the largest gathering of 406- and 427-powered Ford and Mercury vehicles ever assembled in one place. Along with this gathering of rare and valuable cars we will also provide Ford fans with the opportunity to meet a number of the original members of the Drag Team who will be joining us as special guests. 

 


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