Ford Ohio George Pinto Turbocharged
Ironically, the car that Ohio George Montogomery completed his illustrious career with was perhaps as much a trendsetter as the legendary 1933 Willys had been two decades earlier. With his wins at the Nationals, the Willys had exposed the effectiveness of that body’s design to racers nationwide. Similarly, Montgomery’s experimentation with turbocharging during the second half of his career would lay the groundwork for today’s six-second late-model turbo Mustang race cars.
Turbocharging had been around for decades, but George was one of the first to successfully apply it to drag racing with the debut of his new record-setting Boss 429-powered Malco Gasser Mustang in 1969. This effort was successful enough that NHRA eventually looked for ways to make the twin-turbo package uncompetitive. In fact, the power available from well-tuned and designed turbocharging has frankly become the dominant combination in any racing series that has not restricted its use. George’s prowess and understanding in that regard was what allowed him to be the exclusive supplier of engines to the Indy Lights open wheel circuit for many years following his drag racing successes.
The nicely-proportioned 1974 Ford Pinto race car presented here was considered groundbreaking following its debut in 1976; instead of using a big-inch package, George used a factory-designed 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder for the base powerplant. With a single turbocharger, Holley carb, Accel ignition, custom tubular race headers and other upgrades, the engine was reportedly capable of putting approximately 500 horsepower off the crank. Under NHRA’s evolving rules structure of the time, when George himself retired for good in 1984, this car was running in SS/AC and was parked at that time in as-raced condition except for later cleaning.
Dark blue with a fiberglass hood, the car features its original 1970s era lettering graphics including long-time sponsor Malco, Centerline spun aluminum wheels, M&H slicks, certified (to that date) NHRA roll cage, black seats, wood-rim steering wheel, Hurst T-handle with LineLoc and reverse lockout. This beautiful unrestored vehicle is a time capsule of Montgomery’s meticulous preparation and maintenance. While its collector value likely offsets its possibility of being upgraded to race competitively now, it is basically a turnkey package, representative of one of drag racing’s most notable personalities and the predecessor of 21st century Ford drag racing.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in September 2009 at the Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, California.
Est. 500 bhp, custom turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, Hurst T-handle with Line Loc and reverse lockout, NHRA roll cage.
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel