Presented by RM Sotheby’s – Holman-Moody was founded by John Holman and Ralph Moody. The pair had been hired by Ford in 1956—Holman as Ford’s stock car mechanic at their workshop in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Moody as a NASCAR driver. In 1957, Ford, along with other American manufacturers, was banned from official participation in motorsport. Holman and Moody were made redundant, and so founded Holman-Moody to continue their involvement in racing. They subsequently purchased Ford’s Charlotte workshop for $12,000.
By 1965, Holman-Moody was a leading American race car manufacturer, with Fords built by Holman-Moody winning 48 of 55 NASCAR Grand National Series races in 1965. To this day, this record remains unbroken. The constructor wanted to compete in the Can-Am series, bringing about the Honker II, nicknamed after Holman from his truck driving days. The car was painted in the Ford team color, Passino Purple, while Len Baily designed the car, and Alan Mann built the chassis. The disc brakes and certain suspension components were placed inboard, similar to Formula 1 cars made by Cooper. The initial powerplant was a fuel-injected 351-cubic-inch V-8 pre-production Ford engine. The second was a 377-cubic-inch V-8 with Gurney-Weslake cylinder heads, and a Hewland LG-600 transaxle transmission sent power to the rear wheels.
The Honker II competed in the 1967 Can-Am racing series, when it was owned by Paul Newman and driven by racing legend Mario Andretti. The car entered five races, with the best result of 8th at Bridgehampton, New York. Newman would feature the car in the 1969 film he starred in, Winning.The car was returned to Holman-Moody’s workshop and sat until the mid-1980s, when Lee, John Holman’s son, commissioned a restoration. This was completed by Holman-Moody and InMatch engineering of Barrington, Illinois. After the restoration, a 377-cubic-inch Ford SVO engine with Gurney-Weslake heads and four Weber carburettors was installed. In 1994, Thomas Mittler purchased the Honker II and tasked Alex Greaves, a former McLaren Can-Am builder, with the project of making the car competitive. Mittler spent $190,000 and was rewarded when the Honker II won the Historic Can-Am celebration cup in 1997. In 2008, the engine and suspension were rebuilt.
A beautifully designed and carefully restored chassis intimately connected to some of the most famous names in American racing history, the 1967 Holman-Moody Ford Honker II would be well-suited to further exhibition and vintage competition.
RM Sotheby’s will present this vehicle as part of a single-owner collection comprised of 75 of the finest racing and road cars in the world, offered entirely without reserve. The Guikas Collection, to be sold at Paul Ricard Circuit in France in November 2021, presents pedigrees spanning from the endurance racing of the 24 Hours of the Le Mans to the world stage of Formula One and nearly everything in between. The collection of race cars will provide modern racing enthusiasts an introduction into virtually all vintage racing series worldwide, including GT and road cars that are equally impressive which offer a wide selection of Pre- and Post-War sports cars.