Sunday, July 17, 2016

Automoblog Book Garage: Ford GT

Originally appeared on

Book Garage

It is sometimes called the “Ferrari killer” becasue of its famed performance capabilities. Recently, Ford captured a historic win at Le Mans, finishing ahead of their longtime adversary. The fifty year rivalry was sparked when Ford’s plan to purchase Ferrari fell through after the Italian automaker suddenly jumped ship.

Henry Ford II, (Hank the Deuce) wanted a car capable of winning the most prestigious racing crowns in Europe – more specifically, he wanted Le Mans. When Ford learned Enzo Ferrari would consider selling, it all looked very promising. Ford invested numerous resources scouting Ferrari’s operations, all to be let down when negotiations fell through.

Ford took it personally.

Beat Ferrari

That was the message radiating out of Dearborn, Michigan to the United Kingdom, where Ford tapped Eric Broadley’s Lola GT. The car was state-of-the-art, with a powerful, small-block V8 fitted specifically for the mid-engine chassis. The Lola GT would later become the Ford GT, being handled personally by Carroll Shelby. Under his direction, the “Mark II” GT40 would capture Ford’s infamous 1-2-3 sweep of Le Mans in 1966.

Special Anniversaries

Ford GT: How Ford Silenced the Critics, Humbled Ferrari and Conquered Le Mans details the 50th anniversary of Ford’s journey to Le Mans. We are given access to the Ford GT in the most intimate ways, from the GT40’s competing seasons to the challenges that resided before the Ford team. The book shows the foundation of the GT program, which ultimately made history again at Le Mans in 2016.

Author & Photographer

Preston Lerner, a regular contributor to Automobile magazine, has written about Motorsports for publications ranging from Sports Illustrated to the New York Times. Lerner co-authored Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman and History’s Greatest Automotive Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, both of which are published by Motorbooks.

Photography is provided right from the source by Dave Friedman, Shelby American’s official photographer in the 1960s. He is a longtime Motorsports photographer and author of several racing books.


Ford GT: How Ford Silenced the Critics, Humbled Ferrari and Conquered Le Mans is available through Motorbooks and Amazon.

*Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. 

Ford GT Gallery

Don Frey gives Dan Gurney instructions before a high-speed racetrack demonstration of the Mustang I at Watkins Glen prior to the US Grand Prix in 1962. Roy Lunn’s work on the prototype earned him the job of chief engineer on the Ford GT program. Richard Attwood and David Hobbs race the Lola GT at Le Mans in 1963. Although gearing issues limited the car’s top speed, its lightweight chassis, slick aerodynamic shape and powerful Ford engine pointed the way to the future of the Ford GT. At Le Mans, Ford planned to run three cars for the first time—the two cars tested there in April and a new one completed just in time for the race. Photo: Mike Teske Archives/Ford Motor Company The engine bay of the Ford GT is exposed in the pit lane during practice. Various minor changes to the car were made during this time. Ford GT: How Ford Silenced the Critics, Humbled Ferrari and Conquered Le Mans Cover.

Last weekend in the Automoblog Book Garage, we covered another iconic racer.

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