A secret warehouse in Detroit maintains a collection of the rarest American cars ever made from several manufacturers. Ford made many of the autos, but the company also has their own dedicated repository in England.
On the outskirts of Ford’s expansive Dagenham factory is a small, slightly dilapidated warehouse. The Ford Heritage Collection is a rolling archive of Ford motor vehicles. Over 117 vehicles include everything from a model T up to present-day vehicles; autos that span across more than a century of automobile manufacturing.
The Heritage is not an automobile museum open to the public, but a collection made available to journalists and staff. The vehicles are surprisingly original and meticulously maintained. The vast array of Fords includes numerous chassis #01 cars, many “last off the line” models, and a few of the most historically significant race cars Ford has sent to the racing circuit.
Here are twenty pics inside ford's secret warehouses.
20 Sierra RS Cosworth Turbocharged
Even with a spoiler fitted over the rear window, the 1986 Sierra RS Cosworth looks like an average economy car. However, this turbocharged 2.0-liter 16-valve beast develops 204 horsepower pushing it from 0-60mph in 6.2 seconds on the way to a top speed of 149mph. This car, equipped with a roll cage and stored at the Ford Heritage Center, was used for development work at Dunton, Essex.
19 2005 Ford GT Mk1 Supercar
The Ford GT40 beat Ferrari and won the world's most prestigious race at LeMans three times from 1966 to 1969. This 2005 model, equipped with a 5.4-liter supercharged V8 that produces 550 horsepower and reaches a top speed of 205 mph, now sits idle in the Ford warehouse.
The MSRP in July 2005 for the GT was raised to $149,995 after earlier models sold for as much as $100,000 over the retail price of $139,995. A used GT sells today for over $250,000.
18 1965 Ford Mustang 289
The shiny red paint on this 1965 Ford Mustang suggests the car has been outside the warehouse for only a very brief time. The plaque on the front where the license plate would normally be mounted says the car is equipped with a 289-cu. in. engine, first available on the 1965 model year. The “289” produced 225 BHP @ 4,800 RPM and 305 lbs./ft. @ 3,200 RPM.
17 1967 Ford “Bullitt” Mustang Mk1 GT390
Steve McQueen's character, Frank Bullitt, drove a 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT 2+2 Fastback in the movie, Bullitt.
The ’67 GT390 shown here resembles the car used in the movie and was acquired by the collection after being used to promote the 2018 Bullitt Mustang. In 1967 less than 1,000 of the pony cars with an S-Code 390cid V8 and 4-speed manual transmission were built.
16 1963 Ford Cougar II Concept Car
The 1963 Cougar II “Dream Car,” based on the Cobra SX by Shelby is a two-seater fastback with a fiberglass body that boasted a high-performance 260-cu.in. V-8 engine coupled to a four-speed manual transmission.
One of three “X-Car” concepts built in the early Sixties, Ford designed the candy-apple red car to compete with the Corvette. However, a production version was never made.
15 Ford Mustang with 5.0-litre V8
Ford Motor Company has manufactured the Mustang for over fifty years. The Heritage Center is home to several including some more recent models. This one is a Mustang that boasts a 5.0-liter V8 that generates 412 horsepower. The modern pony car will accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in a mere 4.8 seconds.
14 Capri 280: European Muscle Car
Advertised as “the car you always promised yourself,” the Ford Motor Company built the Capri from 1968 to 1986. It is often called the European Ford muscle car. American Philip T. Clark, who contributed the development of the Ford Mustang, designed the Capri.
The fastback coupé was a huge success story for Ford, selling nearly 1.9 million units during its 18-year production run.
13 Ford GT70: Only Six Ever Built
Ford designed the GT70 in response to competitive pressure from the Alpine A110 and Porsche 911 at several rally events in the early 1970s. The all fiberglass vehicle weighted only 765kg equipped with a 2.6-liter V6 taken from the Capri RS2600. Coupled to a five-speed manual transmission the car generated 240 hp. Ford built only six GT70s.
12 Ford Mk1 Escort Mexico
The specs for some high-performance vintage cars seem pathetic when compared to even an average modern vehicle. However, relative to other cars of the era, they are exceptional. The Mk1 Escort is an example. Built in 1974, this Escort Mexico was powered by a 1599cc pushrod engine, generating a paltry 86bhp with 92lb ft of torque. The car’s top speed was just under 100mph.
11 The First Ford Racing Puma
Although the Racing Puma lacked power, it boasted razor-sharp handling and exceptional styling. The body was similar to that of the privateer Puma rally car. However, the name is a bit of a misnomer. The car never technically raced.
The high asking price discouraged sales. Ford initially planned to make 1,000 units, cut it back to 500, then had to offer employees a special price to make sure every Racing Puma had an owner.
10 Two Winning Escorts
Björn Waldegård drove the Mk2 RS1800 Escort (in the photo on the right with the bull bars) to victory in the 1977 Safari Challenge.
Hannu Mikkola (Finland) and Gunnar Palm (Sweden) won the 1970 London-Mexico World Cup Rally with the Mk1 RS1600 Escort.
The Escort’s success inspired the development of the Escort Mexico.
9 Ford RS200 Rally Car
This RS200 was recently acquired from the dusty garage of a private party or workers at the Heritage Center neglected to cover it with plastic.
Ford built 146 road-going, mid-engined, four-wheel drive RS200 sports cars from 1984 to 1986. The units helped fulfill the homologation obligation; the process of certifying a car meets regulatory standards and specifications, such as safety and technical requirements. Ford based their Group B rally car on the RS200.
8 The Ford Transit Van Record is 48 People
It is difficult to believe the record for the highest number of people ever squeezed into a Transit van is 48, considering the seating capacity of a typical Greyhound bus is 55 passengers. Even with the A/C running full blast, the temperature must have soared with all that body-to-body contact.
After more than 55 years of production, the van remains the UK’s most popular commercial vehicle.
7 Ford Transit Supervan
The third version of the Ford Supervan that arrived in 1995 had a custom fiberglass body and almost nothing in common with the road-going transit. First equipped with a 650hp 3.5-liter engine from a Formula 1 car, it was later fitted with a 2.9-liter Cosworth engine.
The same engine powered Ayrton Senna's and Michael Schumacher's Benetton to five wins in 1993 while still racing for McLaren.
6 Ford Mk5 Cortina, Britain’s Best-Selling Car
Despite CAR magazine’s claim at the time, that the Ford Mk5 Cortina is “a calculated attempt to sell the public ordinariness,” it was Britain’s best-selling car for more than ten years.
This 1982 Cortina Crusader painted Strato Silver with grey velour trim has a 91hp 1.6-liter engine. Sadly, it was the last year of production, and now, nearly forty years later, almost all the four million made have disappeared.
5 Ford Model T at Dagenham
It is no surprise that the Ford warehouse at Dagenham houses the car named the most influential car of the 20th century in the 1999 Car of the Century competition.
From 1914 through 1925 Ford produced only black cars. In the last two years of production, the car was available in gray, green, brown, maroon, dark blue, and bright red, like the one shown here.
4 Ford Focus RS500
This Focus RS500 seems out of place among all the vintage cars stored at the Heritage Center. It features 350-horsepower that accelerates the car to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of about 167 mph.
The standard Quaife limited-slip differential on the front axle improves grip levels and stability through corners by limiting torque delivered to a particular front wheel when slip occurs.
3 Ford Granada Four-Door Estate
The luxurious and spacious Ford Granada was available in three body styles: a two-door coupe, four-door saloon, and the estate, shown here.
Ford Europe manufactured the executive car at both its German factory in Cologne and its British factory in Dagenham from 1972 until 1976. The car was sold under the Granada name in the UK only. Models in other European markets were sold as the Ford Scorpio.
2 Rolling Chassis Work in Progress
The Ford Heritage Center is full of vehicles being restored to their original condition. While they may be unrecognizable during the process, the finished product will be a Ford product that represents a part of the company’s history.
If this model could talk, what stories it could tell about its owners, passengers, and roads traveled.
1 Ford Model Y Succeeded the Model A
The Model A gave way to the Model Y in 1931. It was produced by Ford Germany, Ford SAF, and Ford Britain until 1937. The first Ford automobile designed explicitly for markets outside the United States, the compact car was well suited to European roads. The Model Y was equipped with a 933cc engine and reached a top speed of 60mph.
Sources: motoringresearch, drivetribe.com, topgear.com, jalopnik.com