CHARLOTTE, NC – When I was getting some work done on the official Team Mustang Girls’ 1965 Mustang at Classic Speed and Custom in Charlotte, NC, recently, I discovered that the legendary Holman & Moody race shop was just down the road. My friends at Ford Performance helped me make the connection with owner Lee Holman, and I immediately called to request a meeting and possible tour of the Holman & Moody headquarters. To my delight, Lee obliged!
I hate to admit that although I recognized the name, I knew very little about Holman & Moody’s history with Ford racing. Because of that, I was nervous as to how I might be received. But the opportunity to see the home of the original Ford GT40 and to meet and talk with Lee Holman himself was just too good to pass up.
My nerves were calmed the minute we walked through the door. Lee was so welcoming and kind that I almost forgot to whom I was talking! It was like I was just in a regular auto shop, talking to a regular car guy. But then he started to show us some of the historical photos in his massive collection, and it soon became clear just how special Holman & Moody – and Lee Holman – is: Not too many people have a picture of themselves hanging out at Le Mans 50 years ago with a young Edsel Ford II. As he began to share some of his stories about being the lead race engineering shop for Ford and Ford race teams back in the “Total Performance” era, I could see the passion in his eyes for Ford Motor Company as well as for the Holman & Moody brand that he and his family helped build over the years.
Lee then gave us a tour around the shop, showing us everything from the original molds for the Ford GT40 to his firm’s latest product, the 50th anniversary TdF (Tour de France) Mustang. I know that Ford Performance had been through Lee’s shop a few years ago but to witness in person all the project cars and high-performance Ford hardware that Holman & Moody has on hand was a fascinating experience.
We then asked Lee if we could wrap up our visit by sitting down for a brief video interview. After just a few minutes of listening to Lee’s stories, I began to feel like a real Ford racing “insider” who knew just too many race secrets now. The biggest thing I took away from the interview was the level of humbleness and dedication to Ford that Holman & Moody has maintained all these years. As an example, Lee showed us a letter from Ford to his father, John Holman, after a race in which the Holman & Moody team’s Ford entry was told to allow another Ford factory entry to win. In the letter, a Ford executive congratulated Holman & Moody on their team’s third-place finish in the race, and then thanked them for "holding their car in reserve."
"We know your car and drivers very well could have won the race,” the letter said, “and were deprived of the opportunity only by our instructions, which you followed."
In a day and age where everyone seems to have to share every minor accomplishment by shouting from the rooftops and across every form of social media, it was amazing to hear such a story about “taking one for the team” and allowing your client to take some glory that you might otherwise had won for yourself. It was simply a case of Holman & Moody wanting to do what was best for Ford and sacrificed their chance for a win in doing so.
Truly, Holman & Moody is rooted in Ford’s racing heritage, and remains committed to building on its legacy with Ford Performance. I’m looking forward to what Lee Holman and his shop comes up with next. Team Mustang Girls can certainly recommend contacting Holman & Moody for a shop visit if you are ever in Charlotte; we’re sure you’ll come away with an even deeper appreciation for Ford Performance history than ever before!
FORD PERFORMANCE PHOTOS & VIDEO COURTESY COURTNEY BARBER / TEAM MUSTANG GIRLS