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Fact against fiction in the new film about Carroll Shelby, Ken Miles and Le Mans '66.

  Christian Bale and Matt Damon in Ford against Ferrari and Ken Miles with Carroll Shelby.

Christian Bale and Matt Damon in Ford v Ferrari and Ken Miles with Carroll Shelby.

Photo illustration of Slate. Photos by Merrick Morton / 20th Century Fox and Bernard Cahier / Getty Images.

To say that Ford v. Ferrari plays fast and easy with the facts, is probably the point miss. Even so, Ford Gearbox's senior vice president Leo Beebe's transmissions, automotive historians, and former business associates will have much to contend with in this historicized first victory of the Ford Motor Company against their Italian rivals at the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours. what takes his inspiration from AJ Baimes nonfiction book Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari and their fight for speed and fame at Le Mans .

In one of the many rousing sales pitches that Matt Damon's racer racing car maker Carroll Shelby delivers in the movie, he solemnly promises: "We'll make history." And though there's not much evidence, that Shelby did in the 1960s actually do this encouraging talk He has certainly said later when Shelby American and Ford reunited in 2008. So when Ford against Ferrari write history, when, at least? true to the spirit of history, and when does it simply print the legend? To use another (but unfortunately not the last) race metaphor, let's take a look under the hood.


  Tracy Letts and Henry Ford II

Tracy Letts and Henry Ford II

Photo illustration of Slate. Photos by Merrick Morton / 20th Century Fox and Hugo van Gelderen / Anefo.

Ford Motor's grandson, Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts), nicknamed "Hank the Deuce," is portrayed as both an imposing industrial captain and neurotic beneficiary of the size of his family in . Ferrari . A factual aspect of the dynamics portrayed in the film is that Ford II and its subordinate executives – including Ford's then-vice president and general manager Lee Iacocca – viewed success on the European circuit as an acronym for a youthful mod glamor approaching a new generation of American car buyers could. Ford's plan to cut costs for this project was indeed inspired by Italian car designer Enzo Ferrari, who rejected Ford's tender offer and limited conditions for his proposal for a Ferrari Ford racing team. Ford II's response to this easy, as reported in real life, "Okay, we'll beat his ass, we'll go up against him," was a little more decent than what came out of the mouth of the Ford II of versus Ferrari came out when he heard this message: "We will bury this greasy wop."

  Jon Bernthal and Lee Iacocca

Jon Bernthal and Lee Iacocca

Photo illustration of Slate. Photos by Merrick Morton / 20th Century Fox and Bettmann / Contributor.

The film also streamlines the Ford team to a size better suited for a movie. Ford's first two defeats at Le Mans in 1964 and '65 were overseen by another stubborn Briton, John "Pappy" Wyer, Shelby's former boss in Aston Martin's racing team, but Pappy got into fierce clashes with Ford's manager Beebe on the micro-management of the company by committee – similar to those shown in the film between Shelby and Beebe.

  Josh Lucas and Leo Beebe

Josh Lucas and Leo Beebe

Photo illustration of Slate. Photos by Merrick Morton / 20th Century Fox and Bernard Cahier / Getty Images.

Even though the conflict scenes in the team, in which sloppy marketing people assert themselves against outsiders in racing, have a certain basis in reality, they are decorated. Shelby Beebe has never locked up in an office to reach a private audience with Ford, according to Frank Comstock, a journalist and former student of Beebe. Still, Beebe objected to the risks Miles had taken at Sebring's 12-hour race in Florida and later at Le Mans, which he considered unnecessary – but not to the extent Carroll Shelby ever felt the need for his entire business to put on Miles. Success, "lock, stock and mark", or go to the shoulder of the track with a sign saying "7,000+ go like hell."


Fact: In Italy, there really was a company called Ferrari that made outstanding and fast sports cars in a tailor-made manner that was dramatically different from Ford's assembly line system. And in April 1963, Ford really tried to buy the financially troubled Ferrari over several secret meetings, including a tour for Ford employees at one of the craft shops where machinists were working diligently on Ferrari's 400 Superamericas. While Iacocca played a role in this scheme, it was miniscule than it was in Ford v. Ferrari appears. Much of the traveling and haggling was done by his subordinate, a metallurgist named Don Frey, whose technical know-how sincerely earned the respect of the eccentric automaker for some time. Enzo Ferrari called Frey "Dottore Ingegnere" (Dr. Engineer) and wistfully drew logos to experiment with fusions of the names Ford and Ferrari.

In the film, thanks to an insider tip from an enterprising Italian photographer, apparently employed by Ferrari, the Ford Ferrari acquisition crater was delivered to the home base of Fiat owner Giovanni Agnelli, whose competitive spirit and national pride compel a counteroffer. In fact, Fiat Ferrari provided a cash grant for years to increase the international profile of Italian automobiles, and Enzo Ferrari, as many speculated before and after, was too nationalistic to sell his business to Americans. The sale to Fiat was also in 1968, long after Le Mans 66.

As for Ferrari's rejection of Ford's offer, Franco Gozzi, the lawyer and chief adviser to Enzo Ferrari, recalled something akin to the film's Ferrari, calling the company's executives "worthless whoresons," the one "Great ugly factory" that makes "big ugly cars" for a "pig-headed boss" who is "not Henry Ford" but Henry Ford II As Gozzi says in Baimes book, it was "a tirade that I never seen or heard in my entire life and have not seen since. "

Ken Miles (Christian Bale)

  Christian Bale and Ken Miles

Christian Bale and Ken Miles

Photo illustration of Slate. Photos by Merrick Morton / 20th Century Fox and Bernard Cahier / Getty Images.

Ken Miles, the human being, does not differ much from Ken Miles, the bubbly and boomer-accented character, Christian Bale in Ford v Ferrari . Miles not only drove heavy-duty tanks for the British Army during World War II, but also set records in some of the fastest sports cars produced in the following two decades. He really moved to Hollywood and has integrated himself into the Southern California hot rodding racing scene. In fact, he operated a tuning shop, Ken Miles Unlimited, in North Hollywood, happy but unprofitable, until the beginning of 1963 – when the IRS closed the deal for unpaid taxes. He married a woman named Mollie and fathered a son named Peter. And tragically, Ken Miles died shortly after Le Mans 66 when he tested Ford's experimental J Car at the Riverside Raceway on August 16, 1966.

As far as the cinematic miles deviate from the historical miles, it is the myriad of small events and dialogues that Ford v. Ferrari give his character and his dramatic tension. A concrete example: After Ford II gave Carroll Shelby and his team a blank check to design, build and test a race car for the best Ferrari at Le Mans, the American crew of Shelby in an aircraft hangar near LAX kinks under various prototype Dragsters go through their steps. In the film, Miles has no patience with Ford's corporate gearboxes, who insist on complaining his experimental Ford GT40 with a sophisticated avionic computer in the passenger seat, ripping out the whole unit frustrated and opting for the more experienced one with the rest of Shelby's team – True, old-fashioned approach: Glue string pieces outward onto the vehicle and direct their wriggling movements on the ball to prove the resistance. In fact, there was no conflict. Ford's aeronautical engineer and Shelby's team manager Carroll Smith worked these two methods together, with the computer collecting internal air pressure and temperature and the string method collecting information about the exterior and exhaust of the car.

Among the many rough edges that are smoothed out, is one of the most famous and dramatically relevant quotes of the historical Ken Miles. Realizing that he had lost his well-deserved Le Mans & # 39; 66 victory to another Ford driver, the real Miles said something that would probably have led to a gratifying line reading from Bale: "I think I got fucked. "

Carroll Shelby

  Matt Damon and Carroll Shelby

Matt Damon and Carroll Shelby

Photo illustration of Slate. Photos by Merrick Morton / 20th Century Fox and Reuters / 1978 Sid Avery.

Matt Damon received a perm that better resembled the legendary Texas-born racer, and went well with Iacocca's memory of the man as a "good-looking son of a" bitch. "But the historic Shelby was a bit more proactive than the movie. In Ford v. Chr. Ferrari shows Iacocca in Shelby's garage with a life-changing offer and a blank check, but in real life Shelby, who showed up with Iacocca's office in Detroit, was a well-rehearsed place and a calculated price. "The idea faces the American automakers face," Shelby said after Go Like Hell (19459009). "With $ 25,000 I can build two cars that blow up the Corvettes."

Like Miles, the screen version of Shelby comes very close to the real driver and the mogul. Shelby was truly an experienced salesman, and his gift for giving was the continued support throughout his life and Ford's Le Mans project. As in the film, Shelby had a severe heart disease, angina pectoris, which led him to retire from racing in 1960 and to regularly feed on nitroglycerine tablets, as Damons Shelby is featured in the film. Shelby was also a trained pilot, and although he did not frighten Iacocca and his escort on the way to the Ford Mustang GT350 press on January 27, 1965, he was present for what was reportedly a bumpy plane riding.

As for Shelby's relationship with Miles, Shelby may be a sentimentalist about his friend and colleague, but no matter how difficult Miles may be, her friendship does not seem to have included a fight in which Miles Shelby threw a wrench Shelby, who framed this key. Similarly, Miles' crew chief recently told CBS News that he had never seen them getting involved in heavy rainfall food-fist fights.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans

One of the most surprising things about Ford vs. Ferrari in relation to Le Mans (and other races like Sebring) is the accuracy of the carnage. As many as seven cars crashed as a result of serious accidents, many due to the rain that occurred at the start of the 24-hour race. Ferrari driver # 20 had an accident that resulted in a collision with a Porsche and a French Matra MS620. Many other vehicles, including Ford and Ferrari subscribers, which gask seals and burn out their engines in the film, failed due to less severe equipment errors.

Under these nerve-wracking technical faults, Miles actually had trouble closing the door of his Ford GT40 Mk II, reportedly because he had banged the door on his own (helmeted) head, but that did not stop him Setting several new lap records. Much of the overlapping tension and harbingers of the car's "brake fade" problem as well as the pit crew's unorthodox strategy of swapping the entire front brake discs, the shock of the French racing officials, but apparently not the voice, remained true to Ferrari's own pit crew objections that are depicted in the film. Meanwhile, the daring integrity of the move has not been reinforced when Shelby stabbed the precise Swiss stopwatches of the Ferrari team, a feat that is unfortunately not included in the starting material.

However, in line with the many dramatic license files already reviewed, the Ford team had fewer internal quarrels over Beebes' instruction, which slowed Miles down so long that second and third-placed Ford overtook the three-shot photofinish. In the heat of the moment, Shelby was perfectly fine with Beebes proposal, though he regretted it after the unexpected death of Miles a few months later. As he says in Go Like Hell "I will forever be sorry that I agreed to Leo Beebe and Henry Ford seeing the three cars at the same time." Ken had one and a half laps ahead and would have won the race. It broke his heart. Then we lost him in August. "

Miles was more accommodating in real life than in the movie, even though it was clear that he had been fucked. When he explained to the Los Angeles Times reporter, Bob Thomas, "Please be careful how you report what I said. I work for these people. They were terribly good to me. "Perhaps a man who is sympathetic, talented and has refused to be recognized in his life due to minor technical issues and a fatal accident in the late forties deserves a slightly hagiographic Hollywood dramatization like this with a little more brilliance.

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