Ferrari’s feuds coming to the silver screen
Hollywood to tell the stories of bitter Italian rivals Enzo Ferrari and Ferruccio Lamborghini, as well as an American who built a ‘back to the future’ car
Hollywood has taken a renewed fascination in cars — or rather the colourful personalities behind them — with several biopics lined up including the stories of Enzo Ferrari, Ferruccio Lamborghini and John DeLorean.
As petrolheads we tend to concentrate very much on the cars, but their human creators can be just as interesting. Sometimes the birth of an iconic car brand has nothing to do with a grand vision or master plan to change the world. Sometimes it’s about hubris, one-upmanship or revenge — as in the case of the bitter rivalry between Ferrari and Lamborghini.
The story goes that Ferruccio, a tractor manufacturer who also owned a couple of Ferraris, gave some friendly advice to Enzo on how to improve the clutch on his sports cars. Mr Ferrari wasn’t too impressed and told Ferruccio to stick to his tractors as he didn’t know how to drive Ferraris and so a rivalry was born between the two Italians.
Ferrucio decided to build his own sports cars to compete against Ferrari, and created the bull-badged brand that has given us iconic supercars such as the Miura, the Countach and today’s Aventador.
The biopic, simply titled Lamborghini, is based on the biography Ferruccio Lamborghini: La storia ufficiale by Ferrucio’s son, Tonino. Antonio Banderas is set to take the role of Ferruccio, with Alec Baldwin cast as Enzo. There is no release date for Lamborghini yet.
Another biopic due for 2019 will be about Enzo himself, with Hugh Jackman cast in the role of the driver and entrepreneur who built up one of the world’s most iconic car brands. The movie, which has been in development for several years, is set in 1957 and will reportedly focus on another Ferrari rivalry, this time with Italian brand Maserati, which Ferrari now owns.
Yet another movie involving Ferrari, due in 2019, will be a biopic about the 1966 Le Mans 24-hour race that pitted Ford against the Italian sportscar firm.
In another motoring rivalry borne of resentment (Enzo seemed to make a few enemies in his time), Ford created its Le Mans-winning GT40 sports car to take on Ferrari after Ford’s offer to buy the then Italian sports car firm was rebuked at the 11th hour. It led Henry Ford to utter the famous words: "Build me a car that will crush Ferrari at Le Mans."
And Ford did just that, and after failed attempts at the 24-hour classic in 1964 and 1965 it stormed to victory in 1966, and also took second and third places. Set to star Matt Damon and Christian Bale, the movie’s working title is Ferrari vs Ford.
Apart from Enzo’s feuds, one of the motor industry’s most interesting characters was American John DeLorean, who gave us the short-lived but famous DeLorean DMC 12 gull-winged sports car.
Although the DMC-12 was only in production for the US market from 1981 to 1983, it became immortalised as the time-travelling car in the Back to the Future movies of the 1980s.
The car makes a return to the silver screen in the movie Driven, a comedy thriller about the downfall of its maverick creator, who left General Motors to found his own company. The film, shown at the recent Venice Film Festival, tells the story of John DeLorean’s last desperate attempt to save his firm by getting involved in a cocaine smuggling deal that turned out to be an FBI sting.
DeLorean was found not guilty but by then his motor company had gone bankrupt and his reputation as a businessman was beyond repair. DeLorean died in 2005 aged 80.
Driven is described by its director Nick Hamm as a story of entrapment, coke deals, models, and fast cars in a retro 1970s world — in a humorous way.
Hamm, who grew up in Northern Ireland where the British government had lured DeLorean to build his factory, said he was inspired by 1970s period movies such as Boogie Nights and American Hustle.