Is Ford v Ferrari A True Story?

“Ford v Ferrari” tells the story of an American car company, Ford, who decides to go head-to-head with Ferrari, a top racing team from Italy. Led by two brave men, they set out to do something many think is impossible. As they race against time and expectations, we’re left wondering, is Ford v Ferrari a true story? Let’s find out the true story behind this thrilling race.

Is Ford v Ferrari A True Story?

Yes, “Ford v Ferrari” is based on a true story. The film, also known as “Le Mans ’66” in some regions, dramatizes the real-life rivalry between Ford Motor Company and Ferrari in the 1960s, culminating in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race. It focuses on American car designer Carroll Shelby (played by Matt Damon) and British driver Ken Miles (played by Christian Bale), who worked together under Ford to build a race car capable of beating Ferrari at the world-renowned Le Mans race. Here’s a breakdown of the factual basis and the fictional elements:

True Story Elements:

  • Ford’s Attempt to Acquire Ferrari: In 1963, Ford did attempt to buy out Ferrari. However, negotiations fell through when Enzo Ferrari, the head of Ferrari, discovered Ford’s plans to control Scuderia Ferrari, the racing arm. This sparked a bitter rivalry.
  • Ford’s Quest to Defeat Ferrari at Le Mans: Enraged by the failed acquisition, Henry Ford II poured resources into creating a car that could beat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s most prestigious endurance race.
  • Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles’ Involvement: Ford hired legendary car designer Carroll Shelby to develop a competitive car. Shelby, in turn, brought in talented driver Ken Miles to push the Ford GT40 to its limits.
  • The Development of the Ford GT40: The film accurately depicts the challenges Ford faced in developing the Ford GT40, a car that could handle the grueling 24-hour race at Le Mans.
  • 1966 Le Mans Finish: The controversial finish at the 1966 Le Mans is mostly true. Three Ford GT40s were in the lead, but a controversial decision from Ford management forced them to cross the finish line together for a “photo finish,” denying Ken Miles a well-deserved victory.

Fictional Elements:

  • Exaggerated Rivalry Between Lee Iacocca and Henry Ford II: The movie portrays a more antagonistic relationship between Lee Iacocca, a Ford executive, and Henry Ford II than what likely existed.
  • Dramatic Depiction of Ford Executives: The film portrays some Ford executives in a more villainous light for dramatic effect.

Overall, Ford vs Ferrari captures the essence of the real-life story – Ford’s determined effort to dethrone Ferrari at Le Mans with the help of Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles. However, it does take some creative liberties to heighten the drama.

Was Ford Involved in the Making of the Ford v Ferrari Movie?

No, there is no evidence that Ford was directly involved in the making of the movie Ford v Ferrari. Here’s why:

  • Creative Depictions: The movie portrays some Ford executives in a negative light, which wouldn’t be ideal for a company endorsement.
  • Historical Accuracy: While the movie is based on a true story, it takes some creative liberties. Ford might not have wanted to endorse a potentially inaccurate portrayal of certain events.
  • Focus on Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles: The film focuses heavily on Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles, with Ford playing a more supportive role. This might not have aligned with Ford’s marketing goals if they were aiming for a central role.

There are instances where car companies collaborate with filmmakers on movies that feature their vehicles. However, in this case, it seems Ford opted out of involvement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What caused Ken Miles’ crash?

Ken Miles’ tragic crash occurred during a routine test of the Ford J-car. The vehicle rolled end-over-end multiple times, finally catching fire. Thrown out of the car during the third revolution, Miles sustained severe head injuries and died before emergency services could arrive. Ford attributed the accident to mechanical failure.

What did Ford do to Ken Miles?

In the film “Ford v Ferrari”, Ford executives including Henry Ford II mastermind a PR stunt. They instruct Ken Miles to decrease his speed, allowing the rest of the Ford team to catch up so they can finish simultaneously.

What happened to Enzo Ferrari’s son?

Enzo Ferrari’s eldest son, Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari, died due to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) in the 1950s. This tragic event significantly impacted Enzo Ferrari, as shown in a new biopic about his life.

Did Carroll Shelby make Henry Ford II cry?

Contrary to the scene in the film “Ford v Ferrari”, Carroll Shelby never took Henry Ford II for a joyride in a GT40. This highly emotional experience, resulting in Ford’s laughter and tears, never actually happened in real-life.

What parts of “Ford v Ferrari” are not true?

The film misconstrues several truths. In reality, Ken Miles’ winning margin in the 1966 Daytona 24 Hours was 8 laps, not as depicted in the film. Additionally, Enzo Ferrari sold 50% of his company to Fiat S.p.A. in 1969, not in 1963 following his rejection of Ford Motor Company’s buyout offer.

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