Jump to content
twobjshelbys

Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans

Recommended Posts

As a boy of 13, I followed the Ford versus Ferrari story religiously. I got hooked when I watched a documentary featuring Phil Hill and the new Ford GT40 in it's initial year of campaigning.

 

Fast forward to Le Mans 2009 and David Hobbs was telling stories about Dan Gurney saying that he had been paired with Mr A. J. F*^%ing Foyt to drive the MKIV pictured in my avatar. I have the utmost respect for Mr. Gurney and his remark to David which I'm sure he NEVER meant to be aired in public, might reflect his frustration in finishing 2nd to Foyt just days earlier at the Indianapolis 500.

 

Mr. Shelby was asked about the strange pairing of Foyt and Gurney and commented on how hard it was for them to agree on the setup for the car. Apparently, each driver would take the car out for a couple of laps and demand that the car be totally changed. It went on until the chief mechanic for the car gave up and asked Mr. Shelby what to do. Mr. Shelby told them to just wait until the end of practice and then duplicate the setup of one of the other GT40 MKIV's.

 

The friction continued into the race itself with Dan missing some of his night-time stints at the wheel because he felt below par. This resulted in A. J. being at the wheel at the end of the race and there is a famous picture of Dan jumping on the car after A. J. took the checkered flag.

 

There is apparently nothing like winning to ease the tensions and Dan started the tradition of spraying the crowd and others with champagne at the post race celebration.

 

Dan went on to win the British Grand Prix a few days later in one of his own American Eagles and he is still the only American to win a Grand Prix driving an American car.

 

Many people say Ford won by throwing money at it. My comment is sure, they spent a ton of money. I think people lose sight of the fact that Ford had to spend lot's of money to catch up in just a few years to the expertise that Ferrari had developed over many years and that Ferrari had also spent millions over the many years that they were racing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As a boy of 13, I followed the Ford versus Ferrari story religiously. I got hooked when I watched a documentary featuring Phil Hill and the new Ford GT40 in it's initial year of campaigning.

 

Fast forward to Le Mans 2009 and David Hobbs was telling stories about Dan Gurney saying that he had been paired with Mr A. J. F*^%ing Foyt to drive the MKIV pictured in my avatar. I have the utmost respect for Mr. Gurney and his remark to David which I'm sure he NEVER meant to be aired in public, might reflect his frustration in finishing 2nd to Foyt just days earlier at the Indianapolis 500.

 

Mr. Shelby was asked about the strange pairing of Foyt and Gurney and commented on how hard it was for them to agree on the setup for the car. Apparently, each driver would take the car out for a couple of laps and demand that the car be totally changed. It went on until the chief mechanic for the car gave up and asked Mr. Shelby what to do. Mr. Shelby told them to just wait until the end of practice and then duplicate the setup of one of the other GT40 MKIV's.

 

The friction continued into the race itself with Dan missing some of his night-time stints at the wheel because he felt below par. This resulted in A. J. being at the wheel at the end of the race and there is a famous picture of Dan jumping on the car after A. J. took the checkered flag.

 

There is apparently nothing like winning to ease the tensions and Dan started the tradition of spraying the crowd and others with champagne at the post race celebration.

 

Dan went on to win the British Grand Prix a few days later in one of his own American Eagles and he is still the only American to win a Grand Prix driving an American car.

 

Many people say Ford won by throwing money at it. My comment is sure, they spent a ton of money. I think people lose sight of the fact that Ford had to spend lot's of money to catch up in just a few years to the expertise that Ferrari had developed over many years and that Ferrari had also spent millions over the many years that they were racing.

 

I think the GT40 is one of the most beautiful cars ever made. But I still think that the Cobra - both roadster and Daytona Coupe - were the Miracle Machines. It was the group of hot rodders that did it. Sort of like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland - "Let's put a show on in our dad's barn".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Go Like Hell..." was an enjoyable read for me. I knew many of the names, but just a bit young to know the history from the 60s. Recommended reading for those interested in racing in the 60s. Different world from today...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My copy has been sitting here for several weeks. I understand this book is one of those that you can't put down once you start reading it so I'm waiting for some down time to dive in.

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

None, and I mean none, of the local bookstores have a copy, so Amazon is scheduled to deliver mine on Saturday. This is one book I am truly looking forward to not putting down. I don't care that I know how it turns out. I've probably seen all of the pictures. Still don't care. The write ups have been tremendous. Can't wait to re-live the glory!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My copy has been sitting here for several weeks. I understand this book is one of those that you can't put down once you start reading it so I'm waiting for some down time to dive in.

 

Steve

 

Steve, have you watched the show from Richard Symons? It's called "The Snake and The Stallion" on the DVD now, but was originally broadcast as "The Cobra Ferrari Wars".

 

It has the most wonderful opening.

 

The words are something like this - trying to transcribe:

 

Building a race car is an art form like no other. It has a clearly defined purpose -- to win. The skills, passion and artistry of many craftsmen are combined to create an object of great beauty. But if it doesn't win you may as well hang it in an art gallery. Many have tried to master this elusive art. Few have succeeded. Because winning takes something more. In the battle that was the Cobra - Ferrari wars, that something was personal."

 

It is "the story of two cars, two men, and one race."

 

cap001.jpg

 

 

Buy it, form spiritlevelfilm.com, you won't be disappointed

.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just finished this book and it is well worth the time and money. As a lifelong Ford fan, I've heard this story countless times, but this book fills in so many holes, it gives huge insight in to the Ford buyout of Ferrari and it brings the drivers you know closer than you ever thought you'd know them.

Buy it, read it, relive the history.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm nearing the end. Ken Miles just augered in. This was sad. But here are some words to live by:

 

... As one obit put it, "We don't have to feel sorry for people who choose to live dangerously, and lose. So the bull wins one. The matador must take the risk. The closer he plays to the horn, the better the show... Well, Miles, good show".

 

Everyone should live their lives, and especially, their careers, this way. I've taken chances. Lost some, won more.

 

So long Ken, it was a good show.

Edited by twobjshelbys

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, this book has been optioned for film rights. I know who my secret cast list is, who's yours?

 

Somehow, James Garner has to be in this movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm nearing the end. Ken Miles just augered in. This was sad. But here are some words to live by:

 

... As one obit put it, "We don't have to feel sorry for people who choose to live dangerously, and lose. So the bull wins one. The matador must take the risk. The closer he plays to the horn, the better the show... Well, Miles, good show".

 

Everyone should live their lives, and especially, their careers, this way. I've taken chances. Lost some, won more.

 

So long Ken, it was a good show.

 

I've ordered the book but it won't be here for another couple of days. Did they tell the story about how Ken Miles didn't get to win the 1966 Le Mans? There is something fishy about that story. FIA says they told Ford how they would calculate the winner and that Ford decided to go for the photo op. I just have a problem believing that.

Edited by moabman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've ordered the book but it won't be here for another couple of days. Did they tell the story about how Ken Miles didn't get to win the 1966 Le Mans? There is something fishy about that story. FIA says they told Ford how they would calculate the winner and that Ford decided to go for the photo op. I just have a problem believing that.

 

Yes it does, in some detail. It was because they had an agreement for a "tie" but then they said the McClaren car had started later and since he was at the front, he won. The words were by 20'. It might have been more than that but it wasn't much. The Conspiracy Theory, mentioned, is that the French eradicated a Miles lap.

 

I still like the photo of the finish. AJ's book shows the frame with all 4 GT40's in the frame, the conventional one shows only three:

 

http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/me...dgtlemans66.jpg

 

Read it. The writing is very tight. The facts are all there - about 1/8 of the book is footnotes with facts.

Edited by twobjshelbys

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've ordered the book but it won't be here for another couple of days. Did they tell the story about how Ken Miles didn't get to win the 1966 Le Mans? There is something fishy about that story. FIA says they told Ford how they would calculate the winner and that Ford decided to go for the photo op. I just have a problem believing that.

 

I wasn't going to answer this, but since someone else did I'll just say that it not only covers that but also how it hung over him for the rest of his short life.

I do wish there were more photos, as those included were mostly those that all of us with an intererst in the subject have alreadt seen.

 

As to the movie casting idea...hmmm. I'll have to give that some thought...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be nice if someone could get Carroll to give his recollection of this story. He should know, he was managing one of the teams. Hello - mods?

 

 

edit:

 

Peter Coyote for Carroll Shelby

 

because I'm from Houston, I've always liked A. J. and was thrilled by the 67 results but I have also admired Ken Miles who did so much for the Shelby & the Ford program.

Edited by moabman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing that did not get covered, and if I am wrong or pushing an urban legend please correct me, but I seem to recall somethign about HF II sending a jet from Detroit to France carrying a load of windshields (only) for the GT40s due to an issue wiht the ones on the cars. Apparently that was the straw that broke the camels (financial) back.

I agree that hearing Carrolls recollections about that particular race would be a serious bonus for fans. I though that the minimal coverage of the Cobra efforts (Daytona coupes, really) were pushed to the back, although I understand that this was the fight between the GT40 and the 'red' cars. But it is ashame that so few know that the cars that got this country its first world championship in international racing was the mighty (yet small block powered) Daytona Coupe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My copy has been sitting here for several weeks. I understand this book is one of those that you can't put down once you start reading it so I'm waiting for some down time to dive in.

 

Steve

 

Steve, have you read it yet? We'll have a test in two weeks :)O

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One thing that did not get covered, and if I am wrong or pushing an urban legend please correct me, but I seem to recall somethign about HF II sending a jet from Detroit to France carrying a load of windshields (only) for the GT40s due to an issue wiht the ones on the cars. Apparently that was the straw that broke the camels (financial) back.

I agree that hearing Carrolls recollections about that particular race would be a serious bonus for fans. I though that the minimal coverage of the Cobra efforts (Daytona coupes, really) were pushed to the back, although I understand that this was the fight between the GT40 and the 'red' cars. But it is ashame that so few know that the cars that got this country its first world championship in international racing was the mighty (yet small block powered) Daytona Coupe.

 

 

This book was about the GT40. The Cobra/Coupe and the GT class is a totally independent story. Peter Brock is not even mentioned in this book (OK, I'd have to check the footnotes, but I'm pretty sure, and if so he is only a footnote). For that see the "Snake and Stallion" thread.

 

Yeah Bob Bondurant!

 

The book has been optioned for a movie. I can't wait!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like a book Ill have to pick up after Im done with School. I dont want to be interupted with studies

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My copy just arrived yesterday along with David Friedman's book called Shelby GT40

 

Freidman's book is mainly pictures with captions so I browsed it last night. According to Freidman, the windshield story is confirmed. They were tempered poorly and started to suddenly crack into many small pieces when the aerodynamic pressure increased at highspeeds during testing at Le Mans. It just said that they flew over untempered versions of the windshield but didn't say how they were flown. It also didn't mention that it was inordinately expensive.

 

There was also a direct quote by Carroll Shelby about the finishing order of the 66 Le Mans that was interesting (don't want to spoil the books for anyone but if your interested, PM me and I'll tell you what Carroll is quoted saying about the finishing order).

 

I just started Go like hell and can confirm it is well written but I'm not to the interesting part yet.

Edited by moabman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I won't spoil it for you...but Ford wins!

 

It is a great book, and the behind the scenes details are amazing.

 

Thanks for the confirmation on the windshield story. I just wish it had been included in the book. Not sure why it wasn't, although I'm sure there in a whole 'nother books worth that was left out. It really is a book about the people involved, even moreso than about the machines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let us know how long it takes you to finish. It is a well written piece that coudl esily pass for a quality work of fiction, except that we know better!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay I've been following the string since you guys got started. I'm also on the GT40.com net. I'll order this book tomorrow to go with my 10 GT40 books and DVDs I have. Have any of you picked up a copy of 'FORD GT40 & GT'. It has many great details because it is compiled from reviews and magazine articles written at that time. There is a fascinating article written from an interview with Don Frey who was sent by HF II to negotiate the purchase of Ferrari and the 10 days he spent with Mr. Ferrari.

 

Also for you Daytona Coupe lovers, you already know CSX2601 sold at the Mecum Monterey Auction on August 15th. Peter Brock put a little hardback together for the sell of about 100 copies. Lots of pictures from Pete, David Friedman, David Newhardt, and Drew Phillips. I talked with his Pete's wife and got one of the few signed copies. If you interested it is a great book to hold.

 

If you can get your hands on a HB copy of 'Daytona COBRA Coupes, Carroll Shelby' 1965 World Champions, all 531 pages and four pounds or so, you got the prize especially if it has the 22 drivers, 21 crew members signatures, and the Shelby VIN plate.

The stories are especially endearing if you knew or know some of those guys as some of you are lucky to crossed each others paths.

 

Well back to my SHELBYs and other Ford products.

 

Regards

Grady

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Okay I've been following the string since you guys got started. I'm also on the GT40.com net. I'll order this book tomorrow to go with my 10 GT40 books and DVDs I have. Have any of you picked up a copy of 'FORD GT40 & GT'. It has many great details because it is compiled from reviews and magazine articles written at that time. There is a fascinating article written from an interview with Don Frey who was sent by HF II to negotiate the purchase of Ferrari and the 10 days he spent with Mr. Ferrari.

 

Also for you Daytona Coupe lovers, you already know CSX2601 sold at the Mecum Monterey Auction on August 15th. Peter Brock put a little hardback together for the sell of about 100 copies. Lots of pictures from Pete, David Friedman, David Newhardt, and Drew Phillips. I talked with his Pete's wife and got one of the few signed copies. If you interested it is a great book to hold.

 

If you can get your hands on a HB copy of 'Daytona COBRA Coupes, Carroll Shelby' 1965 World Champions, all 531 pages and four pounds or so, you got the prize especially if it has the 22 drivers, 21 crew members signatures, and the Shelby VIN plate.

The stories are especially endearing if you knew or know some of those guys as some of you are lucky to crossed each others paths.

 

Well back to my SHELBYs and other Ford products.

 

Regards

Grady

 

I got one of the Brock CSX2601 books. It's on my computer table. I flip through it frequently. They sold out but are considering a second printing if they get enough orders (which I'm guessing already happened).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go Like Hell is in the process of being made into a movie. I've had some off-line emails with A.J. Baime and it's pretty far along - director and producer assigned. I've heard from some usually reliable sources that Carroll has reviewed a script and thought "it was too much about him".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I got one of the Brock CSX2601 books. It's on my computer table. I flip through it frequently. They sold out but are considering a second printing if they get enough orders (which I'm guessing already happened).

 

They found one box they'd missed under a table and been overlooked. That is how I got found mine.

Edited by HIGHFLIGHT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Okay I've been following the string since you guys got started. I'm also on the GT40.com net. I'll order this book tomorrow to go with my 10 GT40 books and DVDs I have. Have any of you picked up a copy of 'FORD GT40 & GT'. It has many great details because it is compiled from reviews and magazine articles written at that time. There is a fascinating article written from an interview with Don Frey who was sent by HF II to negotiate the purchase of Ferrari and the 10 days he spent with Mr. Ferrari.

 

Also for you Daytona Coupe lovers, you already know CSX2601 sold at the Mecum Monterey Auction on August 15th. Peter Brock put a little hardback together for the sell of about 100 copies. Lots of pictures from Pete, David Friedman, David Newhardt, and Drew Phillips. I talked with his Pete's wife and got one of the few signed copies. If you interested it is a great book to hold.

 

If you can get your hands on a HB copy of 'Daytona COBRA Coupes, Carroll Shelby' 1965 World Champions, all 531 pages and four pounds or so, you got the prize especially if it has the 22 drivers, 21 crew members signatures, and the Shelby VIN plate.

The stories are especially endearing if you knew or know some of those guys as some of you are lucky to crossed each others paths.

 

Well back to my SHELBYs and other Ford products.

 

Regards

Grady

 

I'm sorry to say this about the book (Go Like Hell), but I got to the last page. I wish it were longer. All those black and white pictures some of us have, now are seen in color with new information and conversations from reading the book. The story of CS driving the writer to the airport and discussing Ken Miles was very telling about the inner man-Carroll Shelby. A good book to give for a present to someone who appreciates the intertwined history of the Duce, CS, and Enzo. You couldn't dream up a better story to make into a movie.

Grady

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just watched a biographical documentary on CNBC last evening about Enzo Ferrari. It was quite good and briefly included his losses to FoMoCo and Carroll during the sixties which, according to the documentary, was aparantly a *historical turning point for Ferrari. Although short in length, Carroll has an on camera interview where he discusses those wins as well as Enzo cancelling the race because he was getting his ass kicked all over the place.

 

*Aparantly, Enzo did not like to loose (duh, who does?), and took loosing quite personally. According to the biography, up until his losses to Ford/Shelby, Ferrari had not lost a race to anyone for aproxmately 20 years before Carroll's team kicked his ass.

 

If you liked "Go like Hell" you should enjoy the CNBC documentary too.

 

Here is the schedule for when it will be re-aired on CNBC:

 

Sunday, October 17th 7p ET

Sunday, October 25th 11p | 3a ET

Wednesday, October 28th 8p ET

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...