Motor Mouth: What Matt Damon didn’t tell you about ‘Ford v Ferrari’

Yes, Ford humiliated the Italian brand in ’66—but its new Daytona SP3 returns to Ferrari’s perfect V12-powered revenge

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How do I create an icon? Or, rather, how do you repeatmake icons? This is a serious question, especially if you happen to be the lead designer for a Ferrari division whose name — “Icona” — implies that it will become iconic.

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If you’re Stefano De Simone, the design lead for the latest Icona project — the Daytona SP3 — you’d like to “reimagine, not recreate” the icon, there are more than enough so-called “continuation” models — we’re looking at you, Bentley and Jaguar — who remained completely faithful to the days of yore. Simply put, you are inspired by greatness, not enslaved by it.

Even so, imitating icons can be very confusing. When Ferrari first announced the SP3, I, like many, assumed it was patterned after the famous ’68 to ’73 365 GTB/4, a very powerful roadster from the swinging ’70s. But the pictures fail to express that imagined inspiration. In fact, bearing no resemblance to the original 365 with a sloping-roof front-engined fastback, the new Daytona SP3 is a long-tail mid-engined supercar.

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Turns out, that’s because these two really don’t have any legacy other than names, both of which celebrate the SP3’s true lineage, the 1967 Daytona 24 Hours of endurance race. (And, by the way, while the SP3 is formally named Daytona, Ferrari insists that such labeling of the original GTB was the result of media interest in its victory in that glorious race.)

So why does Icona’s long-forgotten – and apparently obscure – pattern of endurance race nobody cares about anymore?

Well, if you remember something about Ford v Ferrari — and, if you love cars enough to read this column, of course you watched the Oscar-winning award for the late, the great Carroll Shelby — you’ll remember that Ford beat Ferrari at the ’66 24 Hours of Le Mans. Actually, Ford kicked Ferrari’s ass.

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And while specific insults may be exaggerated for dramatic effect – the scene with the missing bolt is a bit too stereotypical, don’t you think? — Dearborn really humiliated Maranello. Enzo himself had resisted Ford’s attempts to buy the then-small—and, by comparison, insignificant—sports car manufacturer, and Henry II’s revenge was, as the film’s ending perfectly captures, to make all three of his GT40s. through the line ensemble. , Ferrari’s disgrace was all the more complete because none of his vaunted 330 P3s finished the race.

What the film doesn’t depict — the real the story behind all made-up celluloid — is Ferrari’s revenge.

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If you know anything about Ferrari lore, Enzo Ferrari doesn’t take defeat well. So, along came 1967 — the date of inspiration, at least, finally starting to clear — the whole of Maranello was focused on vengeance. Ferrari’s 4.0-liter V12 gets extra valves — the 1966 version was built with a single intake; the ’67 update boasted two – and mated to an all-new built-in five-speed transmission (the ZF version on the P3 was a major source of reliability headaches) in a chassis that became lower, shorter, and wider.

It even produced several “customer” versions of the P4 – the 412 P – which were all identical, except for the Lucas fuel injection which went on to become a breakthrough at the auto factory. Such was Il Commendatore’s determination to take revenge.

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And when he was sure—absolutely sure, as it is known, because Ferrari did no less than 560 test laps on the edge of a high cliff just months before the race—that he had the combination to beat Ford, he took the whole team to ’67 24 Hours of Daytona. , where Enzo has hers turned to humiliate Henry. Reinforcing that vengeance — and part of the whole story that Ford v Ferrari what is most glaringly left unsaid — is that, in a faithful recreation of Ford’s ’66 abasement, it has a 330 P3/4 winner flanked by a second-place 330 P4 and a final podium finisher, number 26 412 P, all crossing the finish line simultaneously.

How important is this win for Ferrari? According to legend, Enzo kept a photo of the three on their final lap of the ’67 Daytona race by his side until the day he died. It was his revenge. That’s why the Icona Daytona SP3 exists.

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