Get the key ideas from

Go Like Hell

Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans

By A. J. Baime
16-minute read
Audio available
Go Like Hell by A. J. Baime

Go Like Hell (2009) tells the remarkable story of a high point in automotive racing: the mid-60s rivalry between Ford and Ferrari, two very different car manufacturers that wanted to win at all costs. The pinnacle of this rivalry was the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most gruelling endurance race in the world as well as the most prestigious.

  • Fans of the Ford vs. Ferrari movie
  • NASCAR and racing enthusiasts
  • Anyone who loves a good sports story

A. J. Baime is a former automotive and sports feature editor for Playboy and is a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal and Road & Track magazine. His other books include Big Shots: The Men Behind the Booze (2003).

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
4,000+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from

Go Like Hell

Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans

By A. J. Baime
  • Read in 16 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 10 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Go Like Hell by A. J. Baime
Synopsis

Go Like Hell (2009) tells the remarkable story of a high point in automotive racing: the mid-60s rivalry between Ford and Ferrari, two very different car manufacturers that wanted to win at all costs. The pinnacle of this rivalry was the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most gruelling endurance race in the world as well as the most prestigious.

Key idea 1 of 10

Henry Ford II led the Ford Motor Company out of a financial free fall during a national car craze.

In 1945, when Henry Ford II took over as president of the Ford Motor Company, he had quite a job ahead of him. In the years prior, his father, Edsel Ford, had been hamstrung by his grandfather, the original Henry Ford. Despite Edsel’s pleas to modernize the brand, Henry stubbornly refused to allow his son to make any changes, while the Chevrolet car company slowly became the American brand of choice.

At the same time, Henry Ford, who had no talent for accounting, placed a former convict by the name of Harry Bennett as an executive manager. The company was hemorrhaging money. And the run of terrible fortune continued as, at the age of 49, Edsel Ford died of stomach cancer, though many believed it was due to a broken heart since he had never managed to gain the trust of his father.

Henry Ford II believed that his father was a saint who’d been killed by his job, and he wasn’t going to let that happen to him. So when he took the job of company president, it was on the condition that he be allowed to make whatever changes he wanted. First on his list was to modernize the company – as his father had once hoped – and in doing so, regain supremacy over Chevrolet.

It was a momentous time to be in Ford’s shoes, as, in post-WWII America, there was an ongoing car craze.

Key to the burgeoning fascination with big and fast cars were the new interstate highways that were built in the 1950s. They wove throughout the US and allowed people to drive from coast to coast. Meanwhile, WWII veterans who’d learned how to be mechanics or become accustomed to fast speeds as fighter pilots were turning their attention to cars and their increasingly big and powerful engines.

And so were a new generation of teenagers, who made up the big crowds around the automobile races taking place on local drag-strips and the big, sponsored events in cities such as Indianapolis. All across America, people were getting most excited about cars with loads of horsepower, like Chevrolet's Corvette, which was capturing lots of checkered flags.

In response, Henry Ford simply had to come up with a Corvette killer.

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Key ideas in this title

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Learn more, live more

Sign up now to learn and grow every day with the key ideas from top nonfiction and podcasts in 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.