Ford vs. Ferrari: An Unlikely Battle
Most car fans are familiar with the fun arguments between Ford drivers and Chevy drivers, but they may not know about the battle between Ford and Ferrari. This short-lived battle existed in the 1960s and instead of being between the men and women who drive the two makes, the battle was between the two men who ran the companies, Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari.
In 1963, Enzo Ferrari himself sent a proposal to Henry Ford II that Ferrari was up for sale. Two years prior to the offer, Ferrari was decimated when spectators were killed when a Ferrari was crashed at the Monza Grand Prix. Ferrari offered the price of $10 million to Henry Ford and the two men decided to pair up and create Ford-Ferrari (the daily drivers) and Ferrari-Ford (the racing cars). Unfortunately, the deal was ended when Enzo Ferrari received pressure from the Italian media after the deal leaked. He backed out and Ford decided that was the moment that he needed to beat Ferrari at his game: racing in the Le Mans.
As a response to Ferrari pulling out of the deal, Henry Ford II hired Carroll Shelby to create a competitor, the Ford GT40. The car was 40 inches tall, which is quite low for any car. The same year the GT40 was prototyped, it crashed, while a Ferrari set a 194-mph speed record.
Ferrari won six victories in a row and Ford wanted to beat that record. They did not get the chance to even get on the track until 1966, when the Ford GT40 was entered in the Le Mans and low-and-behold, Ford won in a one-two-three finish. Ford then won the next three races, creating their own record of four in a row. This small, but respectful record took the wind out of Ferrari’s sales. The last Ferrari win was in 1965 – the carmaker has not won a Le Mans since.