Auto Racing: For Want of a Shaft

Before last week's 24-hour Daytona Continental road race even ended, a group of grim-faced Ford Motor Co. officials boarded a plane for Detroit, carrying a dozen battered 14-inch rods of steel. The rods were power output shafts for the transmissions of six 490-h.p. Mark II racers that Ford had entered in the season's first big sports-car race—with high hopes of retaining the world manufacturers' championship it had wrested away from Italy's Enzo Ferrari last year with victories at Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans. Ford had earmarked $6,000,000 for the campaign. The transmission output shafts accounted for less than $750—but for...

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