Thursday, December 5, 2019

Some Thoughts upon the Ford v Ferrari Movie

This beautifully prepared Superformance GT40 Mk II replica was driven by Christian Bale in the Ford v Ferrari movie. (Image source:
As have Y'all been to a Movie theatre lately?

As a Dyed in thoust Wool FoMoCo' Aficionado, primarily All things Shelby American Inc. and Ford Total Performance lore. Naturally I eagerly awaited going to the Ford v Ferrari movie, for which I did so nearly a Fortnight ago. And was very happy it made It to our sleepy 'lil Seaside town of Florence, Oregon.

This isn't intended to be a Blow-by-Blow review of the movie, which I totally recommend seeing to anybody, even if you're not a Motor Racing Fan. But be aware, it's definitely been "Dramatized for Hollywood!"

Having had the privilege of meeting thou legendous' 'Ol Shel, aka Carroll Shelby in Monterey once, when acquiring his "John Hancock" during one of his multiple Autograph Sessions for his Children's Heart Charity during the 1997 Monterey Historics, featuring his iconic Shelby marque.

And having him bellow at Mwah, What's Your Name, Son! Before signing my Historics program. I was very interested to hear what Matt Damon would sound like while portraying him.

Does the Ford v Ferrari movie have many glaring Inaccuracies? Yes! Am I intending to tear apart the movie? No! As I went into it fully knowing that it had been "spiced Up for Thee Big Screen." And instead just looked forward to enjoying a rare motor Racing Motion Picture, especially since I typically do not frequent movie theatres these days...

Yet I'd like to Highlight two of the movie's major embellishments, since I fear that many will believe they really occurred. Which like I've already typed above, 20th Century Fox definitely took  Artistic license with this Film, which in Hollywood Speak, "is Based upon a True Story."

As Americres' oldest racetrack in continuous operation, with Willows Springs Raceway having opened in 1953, and being just an hour north of Los Angeles. Arse-sumedly' it definitely saw its share of Cobra's, Corvettes, Shelby Mustangs, Camaros and Cudas' racing in anger over the years, Righto?

But the race in the movie at Willows Springs is fictional and never happened. But is simply utilized to speed up the introductory relationship between Shelby and Ken Miles. Which if this Shelby American Inc. chapter was included, could easily add another half hour to the movie's 152mins running time!

Although by doing this, we completely miss the beginnings of Shelby American's, and more importantly Ken Miles important work with the Cobra and Cobra Daytona Coupes before taking over the Ford GT40 programme from Ford Advance Vehicles, (FAV) which the movie gives a cursory nod to with Roy Lund's brief cameo.

Secondly, engineered to tug upon our Heartstrings, contrary to the movie, Ken Miles did indeed go to Le Mans in 1965 and raced one of that year's two prototype Ford GT40 X Nasty 7-litre Big Block V-8's, paired with Bruce McLaren, which did retire due to Gearbox maladies.

Part of the film I enjoyed, since I'm Blind and relied upon a wireless Headset "Adaptive Listening" device to fill in the blanks for Mwah, was hearing a younger Lee Iacocca, "Father of The Mustang" and then Vice President of the Ford Motor Company, who'd ultimately become it's President in the early 1970's.

Having subsequently read his Autobiography simply titled Iacocca, for which my Hardcover copy sits collecting Dust somewhere upon my Stuffed Bookcase...

Since I only remember Iacocca from his much later role as the public Pitchman of Chrysler, when rescuing it from Bankruptcy in the early 1980's' as it's CEO. Taunting us by saying: If you can find a better vehicle, then Buy It! Or Somme-thun' to that effect.

And would once again reunite with his Pal Carroll Shelby to Spice Up Chrysler and Dodge's anemic, utilitarian Automobile line-up with such variants as the Shelby GLHS, which I subsequently christened Goes Like Hell Sometimes, Sorta; But I Digress...

Along with wishing I could be able to see what Narly Cobra roadster variant 'Ol Shel's racing round in the movie as his "Daily Driver," presumably a Cobra 427, Eh?

And while Matt Damon does a really good job as that Texas Snake Oil Charmer, nee Carroll Shelby, for Mwah, Christian Bale as Ken Miles Steals the Show! Which is probably largely due to my never hearing Miles in real life.

Whilst if the rumours are true? That originally the film was to star Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in these two roles, then I'm far happier that Damon & Bale ended up as the main characters instead.

And even though the movie is tweaked to make us feel vindication for Miles and Shelby doing the "Right Thing" their way, I've felt for Decades that Ken Miles never got the recognition he deserved for his instrumental role in Ford's and Shelby's success. So it's nice he's getting it now...

With one of the funniest mental pictures I conjured up in my cranium during the movie was the scene when Miles wife Molly brings out a fold-up chair, sits on the lawn and watches her Hubby' and Shelby get in a fisti-cuffs brawl which includes their bag of groceries Ken was bringing home!

While I'd never known that Miles had a son, who's name is Peter, and as a teenager sadly was at Riverside International Raceway that Fateful Day...  

Although I totally understand why it wasn't in the movie, since it would take the spotlight away from our two Heroes, nevertheless, it's interesting to learn all these years later, that if an enterprising engineer hadn't figured out an unlikely solution for the 427cid V-8 Side Oiler Big Blocks powering those Bad Arse GT40 Mk II's, none of this might have happened!

Whilst Y'all might enjoy the following Youtube video I just Discovered when searching for some 'Ol Shel' Soundbites...

Along with learning the following tidbit regarding the Ford GT40 P/1015 Replica chassis used in the Film...