We’re less than a month away now from the theatrical release of Ford v Ferrari, the dramatized tale of the struggle for racing supremacy between the Ford Motor Company and Ferrari, a savage rivalry that had its roots in Henry Ford II’s failed effort to buy out Enzo Ferrari. The manufacturer’s war that followed had its culmination in Ford’s 1-2-3 finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. The book we’re reviewing here isn’t a rehash of the movie plot, but instead a concise recounting that the forces that made the worlds of global auto production collide with the Machiavellian, old-world fiefdom of hand-crafting exotic cars for competition on the world’s greatest circuits. Ford Versus Ferrari only takes a little longer to absorb than the film probably will, and it’s authored by one of the world’s current lead authorities on motor racing history.
Just to repeat, this is not a book based on a movie script. The author, John Starkey, is a Briton now living in Florida who restores and writes about international racing cars from this era, most notably the creation of Lola and Porsche. This 128-page softcover volume tells the story of how Eric Broadley’s first Lola GT indirectly morphed into the famed Ford GT that crushed Ferrari’s finest. All the real-life characters from the film take turns in the text, including Carroll Shelby, Ken Miles, Dan Gurney and also Ferrari’s lead driver, the great Englishman John Surtees. It’s hard to imagine any two manufacturers going at it today in such an openly hostile struggle for supremacy on such a global stage. Ford Versus Ferrari is an authoritative telling of an incredible story in a format you can easily get through in one night. It is certainly worthy of a read. The book comes from Veloce Publishing Ltd., costs $19.99 and can be ordered through Motorbooks in the United States.