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Fall 2016 90


August 17, 2016

Jacque Passino was the head of

all of Ford’s racing ventures from

1957 through 1970 when Ford

withdrew from racing. He was born

on September 4, 1920. During

WWII he served in the Army Air

Corps as a major. After the war he

returned to his hometown of

Toledo, Ohio where he completed a

degree in mechanical engineering

at the University of Toledo. He

worked at Willys Motors promoting

the Jeep for a few years before join-

ing FoMoCo in 1957 where he

worked sales promotions. When a

position opened up in the special

vehicles department he applied for

it because he thought it was more

appealing that holding down a desk

in Dearborn. Little did he realize he

was moving into a round-the-clock

job. In 1957, racing in the U.S. was

primarily NASCAR, Indianapolis

and all of the smaller tracks around

the country. He learned about rac-

ing quickly and eventually rose to

Director of Special Vehicle Activi-

ties where he oversaw all aspects of

Ford racing.

When Ford began it’s Total Per-

formance campaign in 1963, Passino

was in the right place and had the

right attitude. He believed that racing

sold cars and Ford’s goal of winning in

NASCAR, Indianapolis, drag racing,

endurance racing and off-road racing

was in step with his philosophy. His

job was to oversee all of Ford’s differ-

ent racing aspects. In an interview in

Hot Rod

magazine in 1968, he was de-

scribed as, “the cunning impetus be-

hind Ford Motor Company’s successful

racing ventures.” Passino’s close re-

lationship with Holman Moody

came into play when the Ford GT

MK II was created. Shelby Ameri-

can did not have a lot of experience

with the 427 engine at that point,

and Passino did not want them to

climb the learning curve, so Hol-

man Moody was brought in for en-

gine development. In 1966 they

were given a team, along with Alan

Mann, to create intramural compe-

tition. Passino felt this would make

each team work harder.

According to Glen Wood of

Wood Brothers Racing, Passino felt

that race fans were having trouble

distinguishing between cars that

looked alike (think about eight

Ford GTs at LeMans) so he came

up with the idea of painting them

all different colors. He wanted the

cars the color of candy and em-

ployed George Barris to develop the

various colors used on the Ford GTs

in 1966 and 1967.

After leaving Ford he remained

in the automotive field until he re-

tired at age 78. He moved to

Florida where he passed away at