From 1968 Mustang GT to ‘86 Honda Accord: Cars that Ford v Ferrari stars drove before they became famous
With Ford v Ferrari smashing box office records in the theatres, here’s a look at what Hollywood’s top actors, artists, and real-life racers drove before they became famous
Speed, star-power, and lots and lots of sunglasses – if these three elements wow the cinema-lover in you, then you mustn’t miss the much-awaited sports drama, Ford v Ferrari, which hit the theatres last weekend.
The film, starring Matt Damon as the automotive visionary, Caroll Shelby, and Christian Bale as Ken Miles, a British World War II veteran and a professional race car driver, is set sometime around the year 1963.
The timeline is iconic, as fans will remember that it was the same year when Henry Ford II, then president of the Ford Motor Company, commissioned Shelby and Miles to beat Ferrari at 24 hours of Le Mans, considered the most prestigious car race in the world.
What ensues next is a roller coaster of a ride with Ford and Ferrari interlocked in a bitter rivalry – both on tracks and in business – and finishing with the Ford GT40 Mk II, making it to a historic win for America. Even for a not-so-fanatic-about-cars but love-good-sports-drama fan like me, director James Mangold’s latest movie was an absolute treat, filled with a healthy dose of thrills and history.
After all, who doesn’t like the idea of Bale sharing the screen with Damon and a stellar cast boasting names such as Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Remo Girone, and Ray McKinnon.
As you wait it out to watch Ford v Ferrari, here’s something that will keep your anticipation high – a tell-all from the actors, crew, and real-life racers involved with the movie as they recall the first-ever car that they owned.
“My first car was a grey ’86 Honda Accord. I bought it from my brother. We loved that car. It worked and that was better than most people's cars were doing in our neighbourhood.”
“Mine was an old Buick. It was like a tank. We bought it from an old lady who couldn't drive anymore. Now I have a Toyota Tacoma pick-up truck because you never have to fix anything. You can be the worst caretaker of a car if you own a Toyota Tacoma, and that’s me.”
Peter Miles, son of Ken Miles
“A black Renault 4CV. I thought it was a neat-looking car! I bought it for $35 and rebuilt the engine. I loved it. But none of the girls I was going out with at the time were very impressed...”
Charlie Agapiou, mechanic to Ken Miles
“A 1929 MGM. We were only kids so we thought it was fast. It wasn’t really – it just made a lot of noise. It was the predecessor to the kind of racers that Ken (Miles) used to drive back in the day. When I left England, I left it outside my house, for my mum to dispose.”
“Oh God. I didn’t learn to drive till I was 30, because I lived in too many cities with great public transport, so I was pretty late to getting my first car. Mine was a dolphin-grey Audi A3. I may have a few speeding tickets because when I finally did start driving, I made up for lost time!”
Phedon Papamichael, cinematographer
“Mine was a VW Bug. I lived in Munich and drove it four times through the former Yugoslavia, to get to Greece. That road was called the Death Road. One track on each side. Scary. Every 50km you’d see a head-on collision.”
Francois Audouy, production designer
“A 1974 Volkswagen Beetle, probably the most unglamorous car you can imagine. I bought it for $500 and spent $500 rebuilding the engine. I never thought I’d go from a Beetle to building Ford GT40s and Ferraris on this!”
Robert Nagle, stunt coordinator
“A 1968 Mustang GT, exactly like the one Steve McQueen drives in Bullitt. I was 16 years old, but I had yet to see the movie. Somebody said, ‘Hey, your car looks like the Bullitt car!’ So, I purchased the VHS, sat down with the movie and thought, ‘I want to do that one day…'"
Derek Hill, driver
“My first car was rubbish. It was a 1984 Honda Accord. It couldn’t have been more boring! But I think my father (triple Le Mans champion Phil Hill) knew the danger of being behind the wheel. He got me the best set of tyres he could, for the slowest, worst car.”
Alex Gurney, driver
“A Toyota Camry, which was awesome. It was always full throttle! I drove to high school for four years – drove my friends around in it every day, going way too fast!”
Jeff Bucknum, driver
“I’m almost embarrassed to tell you! Mine was a Ford Pinto, but a station wagon! It was a good car to take to drive-in movies. You could open up the back and lay down there...”
Ben Collins, driver
“The first vehicle I ever got hold of was a quad bike. I grew up on a farm and used to steal this thing as much as I could. Ideally it would be raining so I could slide at the highest speeds possible. It was a useful experience for now, especially for the stunts.”