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UK People - BBC4 8pm Cobra Ferrari Wars


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#1 Crafty

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 18:17

Couldn't see a thread for it, so heads up for this, back over the story of the Cobra and the late Carroll Shelby's '64 win at LeMans

Edited to correct date, that'll teach me for copying EPG :blush:

Edited by Crafty, 27 May 2012 - 19:57.


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#2 jimjimjeroo

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 19:25

In racing comments, my bad...

#3 arttidesco

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 23:06

Thanks for the heads up on this, visually very entertaining if historically a little open to misinterpretation in one or two key places like the Le Mans 1962 result.

Shame history does not flow in to the neat little sound bites the way TV Directors, Producers and Editors might like to produce a silky smooth narrative, but all in all this was engaging entertainment and IMHO a much better effort than the over dramatised Le Mans '55 programme.

Had to laugh at 13m 23s when we were treated to a close up front to rear pan of a 250 SWB and the rear tyre was clearly marked N/S/F :drunk:

#4 BRG

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 10:56

I liked the piece of presumably period US coverage of Le Mans with a be-blazered type declaiming about Ferrari's domination. Apart form the five years of Jaguar dominance that is...

Not the greatest effort in accuracy terms, I fear.

#5 DoubleM

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 11:02

Just in case anybody missed it - or wants to watch it again - it's repeated on BBC 4 tonight (28:05:2012) at 23:25.
Mike.

#6 dank

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 11:03

It's also on the iPlayer for those who fancy an early night: http://www.bbc.co.uk...a_Ferrari_Wars/

#7 cpbell

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 12:11

It must have been filmed a while back, given that Salvo appears and seems fine. I must admit I enjoyed it, even though I found myself adding points about "GT class only, not overall victory" and, as mentioned by BRG "excepting Jaguar".

#8 LittleChris

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 13:50

It must have been filmed a while back, given that Salvo appears and seems fine.


It was first shown on BBC4 during May 2009 so probably filmed during the previous year


#9 cpbell

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 14:05

It was first shown on BBC4 during May 2009 so probably filmed during the previous year


Ah, that explains it! I didn't see it first time around.

#10 AAGR

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 14:09

The Copyright stamp at the end stated 'MMII' - which means 2002. I reckon that some of the interviewing was done years earlier than that - the blonde, for instance, was surely not 40 years older (when interviewed) than she had been when Shelby hired her in the first place ?

AAGR

#11 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 15:19

Is this the film where someone (who should have known better) gives the viewer the impression that Carroll Shelby, as a driver, was virtually the North-American Fangio?
I think I tuned out at that point :|

#12 D-Type

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 15:39

The Copyright stamp at the end stated 'MMII' - which means 2002. I reckon that some of the interviewing was done years earlier than that - the blonde, for instance, was surely not 40 years older (when interviewed) than she had been when Shelby hired her in the first place ?

AAGR

Don't forget that some blondes, particularly the North American sub-species, weather the years ratherwell  ;)

I watched it when it first came out, perhaps I'll watch it again tonight, although that's after my usual bed time.

#13 paulhooft

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 15:48

I saw a 2004 2 DVD set by www.spiritlevelfilm.com
This must be the same docu?

Don't forget that some blondes, particularly the North American sub-species, weather the years ratherwell ;)

I watched it when it first came out, perhaps I'll watch it again tonight, although that's after my usual bed time.



#14 BRG

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 19:15

It's an interesting story, and I suppose some licence has to be allowed to make it more dramatic, otherwise it would be too specialist and the programme would never be made in the first place.

But you have to say that Enzo doubtless went away from Le Mans in 1964 thoroughly pleased with a 1-2-3 victory and probably didn't even notice some Yanks winning the GT class, although 4th overall was pretty impressive.

It might have been more honest if the programme had at least mentioned that 1964 saw the GT40's debut, the car that really would end Ferrari's reign at Le Sarthe, but maybe that bit ended up on the cutting room floor?

#15 kayemod

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 20:03

But you have to say that Enzo doubtless went away from Le Mans in 1964 thoroughly pleased with a 1-2-3 victory and probably didn't even notice some Yanks winning the GT class...


I doubt if Enzo was ever aware that there was a 'war' on at all, certainly not at the time. Didn't he mostly leave the GT class to his customers ?


#16 Nigel Beresford

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 06:30

I liked the piece of presumably period US coverage of Le Mans with a be-blazered type declaiming about Ferrari's domination. Apart form the five years of Jaguar dominance that is...


Not a "be-blazered type" at all... that was Chris Economaki, a man worthy of much respect and surely aware of Jaguar's record at Le Mans.

Edited by Nigel Beresford, 29 May 2012 - 06:38.


#17 RCH

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 06:56

I doubt if Enzo was ever aware that there was a 'war' on at all, certainly not at the time. Didn't he mostly leave the GT class to his customers ?


Exactly. I don't wish to knock the efforts of Mr. Shelby or the Cobra team but this film was "spun" to give a totally false impression to a non specialist audience. Le Mans '64 was the scene of one of the first "battles" of the "Ford Ferrari Wars" but that wasn't what the film was about! I find it truly irritating that Shelby's efforts to race GT cars in Europe are portrayed as tiny newcomer against the might of Ferrari. Given that Ferrari factory GT entries rarely happened, GTOs were almost always raced by customers whereas the Cobras were a works team, backed by Ford and able to employ the likes of Dan Gurney the truth is really the other way round. Sledgehammer to crack a nut springs to mind.

At no point does the film make any effort to point out that we are talking the lesser GT category and Ferrari would only have seen being beaten by Shelby as a minor irritation.


#18 Stephen W

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 08:15

At no point does the film make any effort to point out that we are talking the lesser GT category and Ferrari would only have seen being beaten by Shelby as a minor irritation.


TV never lets the truth get in the way of a story be it true or imagined! I enjoyed the programme, especially he period footage, and can tolerate the hype. However like many others I found myself correcting the narrator on many occasions. As for Enzo I doubt that the Cobra victory even registered.





#19 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 09:18

Exactly. I don't wish to knock the efforts of Mr. Shelby or the Cobra team but this film was "spun" to give a totally false impression to a non specialist audience. Le Mans '64 was the scene of one of the first "battles" of the "Ford Ferrari Wars" but that wasn't what the film was about! I find it truly irritating that Shelby's efforts to race GT cars in Europe are portrayed as tiny newcomer against the might of Ferrari. Given that Ferrari factory GT entries rarely happened, GTOs were almost always raced by customers whereas the Cobras were a works team, backed by Ford and able to employ the likes of Dan Gurney the truth is really the other way round. Sledgehammer to crack a nut springs to mind.

At no point does the film make any effort to point out that we are talking the lesser GT category and Ferrari would only have seen being beaten by Shelby as a minor irritation.


I have to agree with you there RCH. The whole "Cobra Ferrari war" thing is largely retrospective PR bull, creating the image of some great gladiatorial contest that never really happened (certainly not as portrayed in the last twenty years!).

It's a shame it's all been so overblown as the cars are so evocative and visceral to watch at speed that they really speak for themselves. But of course if all the popular myth stuff has done wonders for certain historic (and continuation) car values, books sales, T shirts etc etc...



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#20 BRG

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 16:05

Not a "be-blazered type" at all... that was Chris Economaki, a man worthy of much respect and surely aware of Jaguar's record at Le Mans.

Ah, was it? I know of him, of course, but am not familiar with his looks. He was wearing a blazer, and if he did know about Jaguar, he didn't seem to let it get in the way of what he said!

#21 Nigel Beresford

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 20:03

Ah, was it? I know of him, of course, but am not familiar with his looks. He was wearing a blazer, and if he did know about Jaguar, he didn't seem to let it get in the way of what he said!


You're quite right, he was indeed wearing a blazer, but it was characterising him as a "type" that I thought was a little bit unfair, but if you didn't recognise him then fair enough. FWIW I have my enthusiasm for officious blazer wearers well under control too, but of course Economaki couldn't be less like that.

Thanks

Nigel

Edited by Nigel Beresford, 29 May 2012 - 20:32.


#22 green-blood

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 20:46

Hey, no matter what, it was nice to spend 60 minutes being entertained, intrigued, informed etc rather than having my ears bleed as is normal for tv these days.

#23 kayemod

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 20:47

...if he did know about Jaguar, he didn't seem to let it get in the way of what he said!


I'm sure he would have known, but that wasn't what the film makers wanted him to say. It wouldn't have fitted in with their agenda, much of which seemed to be concerned with re-writing history.


#24 elansprint72

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 20:51

.....much of which seemed to be concerned with re-writing history.


That's what Historians do for a living. The new Napoleon biog is fascinating.  ;)


#25 Kpy

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 21:08

Déja vu

http://forums.autosp...a...109089

#26 kayemod

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 22:25

Déja vu

http://forums.autosp...a...109089


Well, this is called The Nostalgia Forum for very good reasons.


#27 BRG

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 10:16

Well, this is called The Nostalgia Forum for very good reasons.

At least we have been consistent in our comments in both threads!

I'm sure he would have known, but that wasn't what the film makers wanted him to say. It wouldn't have fitted in with their agenda, much of which seemed to be concerned with re-writing history.

But wasn't that a piece of period footage? So unless Chris is psychic, he wouldn't have known in 1964 what these film makers wanted him to say?

#28 David McKinney

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:26

Did he do the commentary in 1964?

#29 PRD

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 12:05

The Copyright stamp at the end stated 'MMII' - which means 2002. I reckon that some of the interviewing was done years earlier than that - the blonde, for instance, was surely not 40 years older (when interviewed) than she had been when Shelby hired her in the first place ?

AAGR


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#30 David Wright

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 19:39

Exactly. I don't wish to knock the efforts of Mr. Shelby or the Cobra team but this film was "spun" to give a totally false impression to a non specialist audience. Le Mans '64 was the scene of one of the first "battles" of the "Ford Ferrari Wars" but that wasn't what the film was about! I find it truly irritating that Shelby's efforts to race GT cars in Europe are portrayed as tiny newcomer against the might of Ferrari. Given that Ferrari factory GT entries rarely happened, GTOs were almost always raced by customers whereas the Cobras were a works team, backed by Ford and able to employ the likes of Dan Gurney the truth is really the other way round. Sledgehammer to crack a nut springs to mind.

At no point does the film make any effort to point out that we are talking the lesser GT category and Ferrari would only have seen being beaten by Shelby as a minor irritation.


Again I think this isn't fully reflective of the truth. Enzo was VERY upset when the FIA refused to homologate the 250LM as a GT. If he wasn't concerned about the GT class why get so upset?

Also the "customers" you refer to were surely semi-works teams. They not only ran GTs but works standard prototypes. And they were able to employ the Ferrari works drivers such as Surtees, Bandini, Parkes and Scarfiotti, as well as world champions such as Graham Hill and Phil Hill.

#31 David McKinney

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 21:07

Again I think this isn't fully reflective of the truth. Enzo was VERY upset when the FIA refused to homologate the 250LM as a GT. If he wasn't concerned about the GT class why get so upset?

Because he foresaw lost sales

And they were able to employ the Ferrari works drivers such as Surtees, Bandini, Parkes and Scarfiotti, as well as world champions such as Graham Hill and Phil Hill.

In GT cars at Le Mans?

#32 scheivlak

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 21:32

And they were able to employ the Ferrari works drivers such as Surtees, Bandini, Parkes and Scarfiotti, as well as world champions such as Graham Hill and Phil Hill.

Phil Hill worked as a double agent in 1964?

#33 RCH

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 22:54

Again I think this isn't fully reflective of the truth. Enzo was VERY upset when the FIA refused to homologate the 250LM as a GT. If he wasn't concerned about the GT class why get so upset?

Also the "customers" you refer to were surely semi-works teams. They not only ran GTs but works standard prototypes. And they were able to employ the Ferrari works drivers such as Surtees, Bandini, Parkes and Scarfiotti, as well as world champions such as Graham Hill and Phil Hill.


As David McK has said, sales. If you go back to 1961, Ferrari had the SWB which was the car to win with in GT. For 1962 the Sports Car Championship was supposed to be replaced by a GT championship. With the possibility that there would be GT only "classic" sports car races Ferrari saw the possibility of much greater competition from Jaguar, Aston Martin and maybe Chevrolet and developed the GTO. As we know things turned out differently and the GTO became a customer car but presumably a source of income to help pay for F1 and prototype racing. Where do you go next? Ferrari had been running the 250P prototypes so the logical step was to turn the prototype into a production car, it had the potential to blow off every other GT car and would therefore be an excellent money spinner. This was before the Daytona "coop" remember so when that came along the need in Ferrari's eyes was much greater. Ferrari did not like being thwarted, as he saw it cars were frequently homologated long before the minimum production figure was reached so long as it looked as though that figure was feasible so what was different with the LM?

The semi works teams, by which I guess you mean Maranello Concessionaires, Ecurie Francorchamps, NART, Fillipinetti etc were increasingly running prototypes by 1964, something had to be done with those 250LMs, and the drivers you mention would be more likely in a prototype. In fact, as it transpired, Ferrari was able to sell LMs to teams who were happy to run them as prototypes so he was able to let the GT series go hang.

By 1965, when much was made of the Cobras winning the championship, there were few GTOs to be seen. It would appear that the only people making a regular attempt to keep Ferrari in the GT championship were Mike Salmon and Peter Sutcliffe. Whilst I have the greatest respect for both these drivers they were hardly a works team.


#34 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 09:03

The semi works teams, by which I guess you mean Maranello Concessionaires, Ecurie Francorchamps, NART, Fillipinetti etc were increasingly running prototypes by 1964, something had to be done with those 250LMs, and the drivers you mention would be more likely in a prototype. In fact, as it transpired, Ferrari was able to sell LMs to teams who were happy to run them as prototypes so he was able to let the GT series go hang.

By 1965, when much was made of the Cobras winning the championship, there were few GTOs to be seen. It would appear that the only people making a regular attempt to keep Ferrari in the GT championship were Mike Salmon and Peter Sutcliffe. Whilst I have the greatest respect for both these drivers they were hardly a works team.

:up: Seems a pretty fair summation of the whole thing RCH.
More of a border-incident than a war.

#35 pete53

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 11:00

I am glad to see that my own doubts about describing 1965 as a "war" between Ferraris and Cobras are shared by many TNFers.

By 1965 the GTO was getting a bit long in the tooth. Even the aforementioned Salmon and Sutcliffe only took in selected events and certainly didn't embark on a full season of GT qualifying races. In reality there was nothing else around to challenge the Shelby domination. The big GT class tended to be made up of privateer GTOs, and depending where the race was, various other marques. For example the TT at Oulton had a handful of Jaguar Es, whilst the stateside qualifiers would have included a number of Corvettes.

A quick check on an internet site gives the final points score as Shelby 90, Ferrari 71, Austin Healey 8, Jaguar 7, Chevrolet 2. The fact that Ferrari were only 19pts behind gives something of a false impression as they were never in the running for the title, but picked up points at most races from placing, although a GTO did win the class at the Targa in the absence of Cobras.

#36 backfire

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 11:24

It was first shown on BBC4 during May 2009 so probably filmed during the previous year

A bit late in with this one, but the "modern" stuff was shot at Goodwood on 21st February 2002, with most of the driving done by Mark Hales.

#37 Tim Murray

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 11:41

... and was first shown on 17th June 2002:

Cobra Ferrari Wars - BBC 4 Monday June 17th


#38 Macca

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 12:07

I am glad to see that my own doubts about describing 1965 as a "war" between Ferraris and Cobras are shared by many TNFers.

By 1965 the GTO was getting a bit long in the tooth. Even the aforementioned Salmon and Sutcliffe only took in selected events and certainly didn't embark on a full season of GT qualifying races. In reality there was nothing else around to challenge the Shelby domination. The big GT class tended to be made up of privateer GTOs, and depending where the race was, various other marques. For example the TT at Oulton had a handful of Jaguar Es, whilst the stateside qualifiers would have included a number of Corvettes.

A quick check on an internet site gives the final points score as Shelby 90, Ferrari 71, Austin Healey 8, Jaguar 7, Chevrolet 2. The fact that Ferrari were only 19pts behind gives something of a false impression as they were never in the running for the title, but picked up points at most races from placing, although a GTO did win the class at the Targa in the absence of Cobras.


Ferrari may have given up on the GT title for 1965 after having to get a race cancelled to be sure of winning in '64 :cool: but Le Mans was very important to them so in '65 they provided Swaters with a very special 275GTB with paper-thin bodywork and so far under the homologated weight it was a joke; it came 3rd.

Paul M

#39 pete53

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 12:21

Le Mans was very important to them so in '65 they provided Swaters with a very special 275GTB with paper-thin bodywork and so far under the homologated weight it was a joke; it came 3rd.

Paul M

Yes, totally forgot Le Mans!! Not such a good race for the Cobras with 8th overall ( 2nd in class) the best placing.

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#40 kayemod

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 12:39

Yes, totally forgot Le Mans!! Not such a good race for the Cobras with 8th overall ( 2nd in class) the best placing.


I'd say it was the only race that Enzo really cared about, winning there probably meant much more to him than championships.

Knowing a little about Maranello Concessionaires, it's stretching things a bit to refer to them as a semi-works team. They never really had anything to race that was in the same league as the factory cars, they were always deficient in valves per cylinder or something equally important.


#41 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 13:29

Knowing a little about Maranello Concessionaires, it's stretching things a bit to refer to them as a semi-works team. They never really had anything to race that was in the same league as the factory cars, they were always deficient in valves per cylinder or something equally important.


MOTOR SPORT's recent feature on the ex Maranello 206 Dino rather confirms this. Driver Dickie Attwood was scathing in his views of how the Colonel's team were treated by Enzo.

#42 David M. Kane

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 13:59

Both Enzo and Carroll were salesmen, promoters and brand builders. I think both of them did a pretty good job of it frankly. Before you throw the next rock you ought try to do it sometime. It isn't really that easy.

Both had periods where they had to do it hand to mouth without a lot of money.

#43 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 14:11

Both Enzo and Carroll were salesmen, promoters and brand builders. I think both of them did a pretty good job of it frankly. Before you throw the next rock you ought try to do it sometime. It isn't really that easy.

Both had periods where they had to do it hand to mouth without a lot of money.



I didn't think we were criticizing either man on this thread. I think we are all, generally, admirers of both for having 'done it' rather than just talked the talk.

What we are doing is criticizing the overt re-writing of history to create something that never really existed.

Edited by simonlewisbooks, 31 May 2012 - 14:11.


#44 Tim Murray

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 14:34

What we are doing is criticizing the overt re-writing of history to create something that never really existed.

Hear hear!

#45 David M. Kane

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 14:47

Hear hear!


Clearly I'm ok with that. There is way TOO much of that going on at all levels. Clearly the documentary is not accessible here in the colonies except as a DVD.


#46 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 15:00

Couldn't see a thread for it, so heads up for this, back over the story of the Cobra and the late Carroll Shelby's '64 win at LeMans

Edited to correct date, that'll teach me for copying EPG :blush:


Quick note that BBC4 is not limited to UK people only. In Holland we are offered 5 BBC channels... (now I missed it...;-) ) Remember the days when the wind was favorable we could receive a snowish BBC1.

#47 RCH

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 18:55

Ferrari may have given up on the GT title for 1965 after having to get a race cancelled to be sure of winning in '64 :cool:

Paul M


No! No!! No!!! :evil:

Check out DSJ on the subject, Motor Sport Oct(?) '64. Basically he says that the Italians were lukewarm about running the Coppa Inter Europa as a round of the over 2-litre GT championship from the beginning. One must surmise after the embarassment of an Aston win at Monza in'63 and probably a little nudging from Ferrari. The race was therefore only ever included in the championship for up to 2-litre cars. At a later date it was announced that there would be a race for big GT cars and Prototypes but by then it was too late to be a championship round. The race took place and featured a battle for the lead between Vaccarella and Salvadori in 250LMs with David Piper third. Ferrari may have had a hand in seeing the race wasn't a counter for the GT championship but he certainly didn't get it cancelled... because it wasn't!

#48 David Wright

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 20:11

Perhaps a quote from someone who might know what was going on in 1964 is appropriate - Jean Guichet.

"All the cars (64 model GTOs) at Spa were factory cars lent to the distributors. The drivers, too - Parkes, myself, Bandini and Bianchi - we were team drivers and would take all the prize money and split it after the race."

"Ferrari did not wish to appear to compete against customers or to break strikes in Italy, so we had to look like a private team. Ferrari provided the car and the mechanics, but the driver had to make the entry to appear that the car was not entered by the factory."

#49 RS2000

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 21:01

Both Enzo and Carroll were salesmen, promoters and brand builders. I think both of them did a pretty good job of it frankly. Before you throw the next rock you ought try to do it sometime. It isn't really that easy.

Shelby's involvement with the works Sunbeam Tiger engines might qualify as not so good a job - as Marcus Chambers certainly implied in his book, although the Coupe des Alpes win/exclusion over homologated valve sizes might be considered more down to Rootes Comps' admin rather than Shelby's?

#50 elansprint72

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 21:57

Most interesting thread (for a sports-car bloke) on the forum for quite some while.

imho Shelby always seemed overly-defensive regarding the LM Sunbeam Tiger problems and Horsman's account of Ford GT racing indicates a tendency not to accept responsibility for his team's short-comings appears to back this up.
However; I'll fight anyone who dares to criticise his choice of racing overalls.  ;)