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“When Ford Defeated Ferrari”: US Soldier’s Film Footage of the 1966 Race

In the mid-1960s after a cousin came back from a tour of duty with the Army in Europe he shared photos with us he took at the 1966 Le Mans race and a first-hand account of the competition in which Ford finished 1-2-3 and defeated Ferrari. It had a profound effect on your editor at the time who was a young budding antique automobile and racing car enthusiast.

After viewing the excellent recently-released “Ford vs. Ferrari” movie we decided to share historical coverage here of Carrol Shelby, Shelby American, the Ford Motor Company, and the Ford GT40’s driver’s and crew’s work leading up to and including the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans victory.

Today’s photos are taken from Ford Performance’s 2016 video (below) featuring amateur film footage taken by Marcel Chiles, an American soldier who also attended the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race. In this video, you will listen to commentary by Edsel Ford II and other “Ford Icons who were there that day.”

Share with us what you find of interest in the video “When Ford Defeated Ferrari: Lost Footage Discovered from 1966” and your thoughts on “Ford vs. Ferrari” if you have viewed it already.

  • A crew practicing pit stops in the days leading up to the race.

  • The crew of the number eight car and some of the other one-hundred Ford employees who worked at the 1966 race.

  • Three of the Ford team cars lined up before the race.

11 responses to ““When Ford Defeated Ferrari”: US Soldier’s Film Footage of the 1966 Race

  1. David, about 20 of us in our little car club seen the movie about a week ago. I would have been the primary “doubter” of the bunch since I have everything I could get my hands on concerning Ford, Shelby, and the cars form other makers that had Ford engines. All the other folks I hang around with are mostly either drag race fans or fans of their car and their car only, ha ! Anyway, besides the normal “Hollywooding” that always happens in movies, we all thought it was just plain great entertainment. I thought they could have chosen someone who looked and acted a bit more like Shelby and Iacocca, but that is nit-picking. I have recommended it to others and continue to do so. Guess with my advancing age, I have come to realize everything doesn’t have to be exact. And besides, there were at least 3 Studebakers shown, so that was great too, ha ha ! Thanks for your coverage of it today sir.

  2. I, too, watched the movie last weekend, and despite its inaccuracies and over-dramatization, I enjoyed it and recommend it to others. A more accurate (and shorter) documentary on Miles in the race is “8 Meters”, available on YouTube. A new documentary is said to be about to appear: “Shelby American.”

  3. I would like to say there little mention in the film that the car is a Lola by birth. Short clip of the car by the plane just arrived from Englnd, no more.

  4. There used to be (still?) a speed shop in Milwaukee that had a big sign over the counter: “Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go?” If the Ford victories at LeMans represent the triumph of anything, it’s cash. Truckloads of it. Then and now. A far more interesting story in my mind is the history of the Cobra Daytona. Or Max and Ina Bulchowskys Old Yeller 2 (talk about a winning race car built on a budget…1500 dollars according to Max.)

    • The first Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, CSX 2287, permanently resides in the Simeone Automotive Foundation Museum, Philadelphia, PA, USA. To celebrate the movie, the museum is hosting a series of Demonstration Days featuring cars that participated in Le Mans. The presentation schedule is Nov 28th, Dec 7th, 14th, and 21st. The cars to be exercised in the back lot include Ford GT 40s, Mk II and Mk IV, Ferrari 250P and 365P, Cobra Daytona Coupe, and Aston Martin DBR 1, among others. The Daytona Coupe is scheduled to go out this Saturday, the 7th. Do a search on Simeone Museum to find the web site and see the complete schedule. Demonstration Days will kick off for 2020, Saturday, Jan 25th.

  5. FvF is indeed terrific entertainment. It has given my sons and I a priceless shared experience, rooted in our mutual love of all things automotive. Even my ‘hipster’ son, who dissects and criticizes every movie ad nauseam, couldn’t wipe the grin off his face. We can’t wait to own it so we can watch it at leisure and take in all the background eye candy. Just good, clean fun, with infinite topics for debate and discussion. Just what Old Motoring is all about!

  6. Also worth watching on Netflix is “The 24 Hour War” the same story told as a documentary with many of the original drivers and sons of both Ford and Ferrari speaking.

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