Ford vs Ferrari is the gripping story of Carroll Shelby, Ken Miles, and Ford's efforts to win the famous 24-hour Le Mans race in France. Ames, IA residents who see the movie will be treated-to an Oscar-worthy look behind the scenes of Carroll Shelby's development of Ford's first world-class racecar. For us at Ames Ford, it was also great seeing the origins of Ford Performance. As Central Iowa's #1 Ford Performance dealer, Shelby's legacy always looms large in the performance vehicles we sell.

And Carroll Shelby's impact extends further than just Ford's performance line of vehicles. His name has long been legendary among performance enthusiasts, but Ford vs Ferrari's look at Shelby's creative process and struggles is engaging for gearheads and your average viewer alike. If you want to learn a bit about the true history behind Ford vs Ferrari and the true events' impact on Ford Performance, read on below.


Ford Performance - From Le Mans to Ames, Iowa

Over half a century ago, in the early 1960s, Ford was seeking a way to gain respect for their vehicles' performance. While they had attempted to buy Ferrari, Ford executives decided the road to performance glory would be beating Ferrari on their own turf: Le Mans in France. The Le Mans is a grueling, 24-hour race that requires speed, cornering, and an iron will from the driver. Competing vehicles also had to be rigorously engineered due to the length of the race. While Ford had competed in past years, its vehicles were no match for the European competition.

Ford knew they needed special talent to both design and drive a performance vehicle that could best Ferrari in a race they had dominated. They turned their eyes to Carroll Shelby, a former driver turned engineer who had become infamous for his off-the-shelf racecars. By combining British coupes with powerful Ford engines, Shelby had designed vehicles that could beat the best at local races across the US. As Ames drivers who have shopped Ford Performance know, Shelby's legacy is evident throughout the lineup. Current Shelby models exemplify the best of Ford Performance, such as the Mustang Shelby GT500. But would this hot-rodding entrepreneur be able to work on Ford's short timeline to tackle the Le Mans?


Carroll Shelby - The Father of Ford Performance

Carroll Shelby was a truly unique vehicle designer. His most famous vehicle, the Shelby Cobra, remains a Holy Grail among performance enthusiasts, and was nearly guaranteed to win in any race in which it was entered. Many home tinkerers still work to recreate this legendary vehicle. Its combination of low weight and high horsepower was revolutionary for the time, and led to the Cobra being banned from many competitions due to its unfair advantage.

Needless to say, Shelby was already on Ford's radar when they decided they had to win Le Mans. Because though Shelby was by then mostly known as a hot-rod custom maker, he'd also won Le Mans as a racer for Aston Martin. And when looking for someone to drive his new creation for Ford, Carroll Shelby chose Ken Miles, a controversial racer from England. While Miles had developed a reputation as a firebrand, he was also very in tune with the mechanics needed to field a world-class racecar. Together, Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles worked tirelessly to create Ford's first world-class performance vehicle: The GT40. Using what Shelby had learned in the production of the legendary Cobra, as well as their combined experience at Le Mans, Shelby and Miles provided Ford with the vehicle they needed to finally make a statement against European competition.

Despite the short development timeline, and the combined volatility of Miles and Shelby, they managed to produce a racecar that would dominate both in the US and abroad. In the race shown in Ford vs Ferrari, the 1966 Le Mans, Ken Miles in his Ford GT40 was able to finally topple the champion Ferrari. And not only that, he was followed by two other Ford GT40 vehicles. The Le Mans win put Ford in the news across the world, and signaled that its Performance division was here to truly compete. Ford's identity as an automaker would be forever changed due to the accomplishment of Carroll Shelby, and the influence of that fateful race can be seen right here in Ames Ford's performance inventory.


Ford vs Ferrari - See it in Ames, Iowa

Ford vs Ferrari is more than the story of Ford's triumph at Le Mans. Ames, Iowa viewers will get insight into his personal life and relationship with Ken Miles. Critics are already saying that Ford vs Ferrari will likely get a Best Picture nod at the Oscars, and that it is a truly inspiring story. We agree. At Ames Ford, we see Carroll Shelby's legacy each and every day. From the Ford Mustang, to their GT Performance variants of the Ford Edge and others, to the innovative vehicles from ROUSH. Carroll Shelby's work with Ford in the 1960s has helped shape not only Ford Performance, but the American auto industry at large.

If you want to experience Ford Performance for yourself, Ames Ford is the area's #1 Ford Performance dealer. While we doubt you'll want to make a grueling 24-hour trip around a racetrack, we know our Ames Ford customers love the feeling of driving a truly performance-tuned vehicle like a Ford Mustang or other Performance model. So make sure you see Ford vs Ferrari to see the origins of Ford's performance history, and then experience it for yourself at Ames Ford.

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