Facts About Ford Vs. Ferrari:
As one of the most fan-favorite movies of the last decade, Ford vs. Ferrari has enticed audiences and showed that with good actors and a decent enough storyline you can make a cult classic. The story of the rivalry that took the world by storm has a lot of incredible facts the fans do not know about. Let us enlighten you.
1. Christian Bale actually took inputs from the real-life son of his character
In the movie, we see that Ken Miles has a very close relationship with his son Peter Miles. The father really loves his son and the son idolizes his father. Christian Bale could do the scenes with a young Peer Miles so fluidly because he had a heart to heart conversation with the real-life Peter Miles, the son of the actual Ken Miles. Bale took inputs and insights as to the characteristics of Ken Miles. Another interesting fact – Christian Bale had a private screening of the movie before the actual premiere of Ford vs. Ferrari for Peter Miles.
2. It all began due to Ford’s love for racing
Henry Ford II was the grandson of the erstwhile Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company. It was his love for racing that started the entire drama which culminated with the events of the Ford vs. Ferrari movie. Henry Ford II was trying to push back sales figures and restore Ford’s former glory, a company that was losing to General Motors at attracting young buyers, who preferred sportier-looking cars as opposed to Ford’s conventional designs. Henry Ford II decided that the best way to save face was to buy Ferrari. When Ferrari refused, Ford ordered the engineers and drivers of his own company to make their own car and compete in the Le Mans race to show Ferrari the middle finger for the snub.
3. The 24 Hours of Le Mans
There are a lot of racing events that happen all over the world. But the one that happens at Le Mans is considered to be one of the best in the world. Happening periodically in the town of Le Mans in France, the race has pretty unconventional and rather unorthodox guidelines for victory. Unlike most races, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a race that tests a car’s endurance instead of speed. It measures the greatest distance that a car that competes in the race could cover in a span of 24 hours. And the only condition is that the car must not experience mechanical failure of any kind during the entire ordeal. This makes it an even more challenging race to win.
4. Shelby stopped racing due to heart problems
Before Ken Miles became the legendary race car driver who was idolized by the masses the one that preceded him on that moniker was Carroll Shelby. Carroll Shelby was the third ever American Driver to win the Le Mans race, a feat that is in no way ordinary. He co-drove an Aston Martin DBR-1 when he won the race in 1959. But Carroll Shelby suffered severe heart ailments during the peak of his career. In the movie, it is shown that Damon’s character is taking nitro-glycerine tablets due to his heart conditions. In real life, Carroll suffered from angina pectoris and had to excuse himself from racing ever again. It was only in 1990 that he received a heart transplant.
5. Christian Bale’s character was a World War Two Tank Driver
Christian Bale plays Ken Miles in the movie. Ken Miles has a rich and colorful history that dates back to World War Two. He was once a WW2 veteran that was posted in Europe as an Anti-Aircraft Gun operator. After that, Ken Miles was transferred to the Engineering Corps and he started to work on machinery. Before 1943, he was already a Staff Sergeant. During D-Day, Ken Miles took part in the Allied Offensive against Nazi Germany as part of an elite Tank Unit that hunter German Panther Tanks. Ken Miles was the Tank Driver of that squad. He is literally a war hero.
6. The Ford GT-40 was actually a Coffin on wheels
Some car enthusiasts and vintage car lovers have called the earliest versions of the Ford GT-40 as the Widow-maker. Some even claim that the car was a coffin on wheels. And there is reason to believe that. The early Ford GT-40 was a very powerful but haphazardly designed car. Its ground clearance was less than 40 inches and even a slight bump or hole in the rode was enough to make it do multiple summersaults. Many of the GT-40’s crashed during testing. The headgear gaskets kept burning up and the gearbox failed colossally several times. When the car went beyond 200 meters per hour, the entire vehicle vibrated and had incredible wheel-spin. Even design-wise, the GT-40 was highly aerodynamically unstable.
7. Many of the races were not even featured in the movie
Were all the races that ever happened in Ford vs. Ferrari featured in the movie?? The answer is a resounding no. James Mangold has confirmed the rumor that many such races were left out of the movie because of cinematic limitations and the fact that the movie had a mandated run-time issued by the studio itself. Mangold has gone on to say that he himself was an avid follower of the rivalry between Ford and Ferrari and had clear ideas as to what were the most critical points of that tale that the audience needed to know. The movie featured only a fraction of the 24-hour ordeal to hammer into the audience the pains and hardships that both sides went through during the 24-hour race.
8. Damon and his bromance with Bale
he storyline for the movie was amazing. The screenplay was awesome. The soundtrack was above the clouds insane. But the true testament to Ford vs. Ferrari’s abilities were the amazing chemistry between Ken Miles and Carroll Shelby – played by Matt Damon and Christian Bale. It was them that turned the movie into an overnight success. There is also a story of how the two actors got together. Matt Damon likes Christian Bale as a person and as tremendous respect for him. He only agreed to clear his already busy schedule and become a part of the project after he heard that Christian Bale is also going to be in it and Matt did not want to lose the chance to work with Bale.
9. Christian Bale underwent extreme weight loss for his role
If The Machinist and American Psycho were any indications, it was that Christian Bale likes to completely submerge himself into his character. Even in the Ford vs. Ferrari movie, he had to undergo rigorous training programs to keep up to his track record. Since his character was a prominent race car driver, he decided to learn the art of racing and even raced in some events. But the icing on the cake is even more surprising. Bale was also a lot heavier than Ken Miles. Race Car drivers of that time had to be shorter and thinner so that their weight was minimal on the car engine’s torque. Christian Bale also enrolled in an extreme weight loss program to become more like Ken Miles – leaner and meaner.
10. Ford Motor Company hates the movie
The movie showed that Ferrari was not the true underdog of the story. It was from Ford. Henry Ford wanted to create a company that could rival the Italian Can Manufacturing Giant. The audience always roots for the underdog. It is a basic tendency in human psychology. Since Ford was the underdog in that movie, it was basically free marketing for them. Ford Motor Company decided to stay away from the movie because of a different reason. Two prominent members of Ford Motor Company that played a vital role in making the Car Manufacturer the giant it is today – Leo Beebe and Henry Ford II, were shown in a somewhat bad light. Beebe was shown as the true antagonist of the movie who schemed every time he had a chance to pull down Ken Miles. This did not sit well with Ford obviously.
Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just… do things