In the early 1960s, Ford was riding the crest of the wave in the road-going department with a product for almost every occasion. But the firm lacked a little in the excitement department. To combat this, those in charge set their eyes on finding some products that were a little bit more passion-driven and decided on the obvious route – Ferrari.
The Ferrari stable had some of the fastest and most aesthetically pleasing models, plus a fierce racing programme. So in 1963, instead of starting from scratch, Ford pulled out the big guns and attempted to buy the Italian concern. It didn’t go down well, with Enzo Ferrari quickly saying no.
A humiliated Henry Ford II then did what many thought was impossible and set about building a supercar to beat Ferrari at a race it had dominated for years, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ford roped in Carroll Shelby, who had won the 1959 race but was forced to hang up his helmet shortly thereafter with a heart condition. Endlessly resourceful, Shelby reinvented himself as a car designer and salesman working out of a warehouse space in Venice Beach with a team of engineers and mechanics that included hot-tempered test driver Ken Miles. A champion British race car driver and a devoted family man, Miles was brilliant behind the wheel… but was also blunt, arrogant and unwilling to compromise.