Fortner Automotive Company (commonly referred as FAC or Fortner) is an American automobile manufacturer. The main headquarters are in Missoula, Montana, and the company builds a wide range of vehicles from sports cars to fire and rescue equipment. It is the largest manufacturer in the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 1938 by Arthur G. Fortner, his vision was to build a durable, long lasting vehicle that could withstand the rough gravel roads of Montana. He co-owned Universal Rubber Company (URUCO for short) to create denser tires to uphold the muddy conditions. It celebrated it's 75th anniversary in 2013.
FAC's iconic and legendary race team, Fortner Motorsports, is the leading innovator of high-quality stock cars, GT touring cars, and drag racing cars. Fortner Motorsports also manufacturers high-performance consumer crate engines for some of Fortner's most popular models, including the legendary FS260 ZR, GS800-R and C-Series pickups.
Early days of racingEdit
When racing was in its infancy, people from the eastern regions of the United States were out "moonshining", a practice known then to have been dangerous, illegal, but very profitable. It was the period after World War II when Fortner first entered motorsports. It was in 1946 that Fortner began full-time stock car racing. Since the start of World War II, the sanctioning body, the Intercontinental Motor Sports of America, only allowed 1938 models to compete, due to the shortage of steel and iron and the fact that it was a much needed commodity for the manufacturing of warships and aircraft carriers. Finally, in 1947, IMSA allowed 1947 models with full metal bodies after a period when the 1939-1945 models were normally fit with wooden elements because of the steel and iron needed for the NAVY and Air Force. But, IMSA, and top manufacturers like Fortner were able to find an alloy that was not a military necessity. Aluminum. Real quality aluminum was available only in select markets throughout World War II, but became more accessible afterward. This allowed teams to build full bodies because of damage to the wood frame if two or more cars were involved in a collision, thus exposing the driver to a higher risk of injury or death. Thus, between 1940 and 1946, cars were allowed to be built with aluminum rather than steel due to its high demand for warships and aircraft.
Fortner's glory daysEdit
As stock car racing evolved, Fortner Motorsports became the flagship factory team for Fortner Automotive Company. Teams rolled in with Fortner SR3400 cab-over trucks hooked with a 48 to 53 foot van trailer with a low-boy frame to place the team inside, the needed equipment for the race weekend, including shocks, extra tires, and so on, along with an upper deck to place the race cars in, particularly two, one primary and one secondary. Like that of the NBA's Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers as the two powerhouse teams, Fortner Motorsports became a powerhouse team and the technology from the track led to the showroom. As champion of over 15 IMSA national titles stemming from the 1970's, Fortner Motorsports continues as the innovator of not only performance, but also safety, including the introduction of the Generation Six Car of Today (G6-COT), which brings showroom-like elements to the racecar, and allows better protection in side-impact collisions with the introduction of crush panels, which is a steel and foam energy resistance structure designed to minimize the centrifugual forces usually induced with a normal car equipped with airbags. It is known as the "SAFER barrier of race cars" because of the technology of this kind applied to the outter wall of a race track not allowing cars to impact the concrete portion. The innovative technology of the SAFER barrier led to better chassis structure in Fortner's showroom vehicles.
Medium to heavy duty commercial vehiclesEdit
Through its partner, American Commercial, Fortner entered a joint venture to form Fortner-American as an expansion of Fortner Automotive Company's growing portfolio. Fortner-American manufacturers medium to heavy duty commercial vehicles including cargo trailers, buses, and medium to heavy duty mobile cranes.