Ford’s racing icon, remembered

It’s been more than half a century since the Ford Motor Company upended the haughty hierarchy of international motorsport by sweeping the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its own cars and engines. Three years ago, Motorbooks commissioned a new title on the development of the Ford GT40 and its klieg-lighted triumphs on the global stage. That effort involved author Preston Lerner, one of the United States’ most acclaimed motoring journalists, and my longtime cohort Dave Friedman, who, as company photographer for Shelby-American during its 1960s glory days, got to witness this unprecedented effort first-hand. With an editorial pairing that talented, the book couldn’t miss. That’s why it’s still in print. And if there’s only one book to have on the GT40’s growth and success, Ford GT by Lerner and Friedman is it.

The narrative of this 236-page hardcover history belongs to Lerner, whose CV includes stints at Automobile and Hagerty Publications, and the photos are all Friedman’s from his tenure with Ol’ Shel. Yes, the story of the GT40, and of Henry Ford II’s rage-fueled determination to humiliate Enzo Ferrari, has been told in the past. But the sheer quality on both sides of this book’s germination makes it eminently worthy, and again, a rock-solid one-volume read on this glorious episode in the annals of American auto racing. You will not question your purchase after the fact, we assure. The retail price is $60. I’ve included links above to both the publisher and to Friedman’s website, where you can acquire examples of his unforgettable work to decorate your office or garage.

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