With so much to watch as a cord cutter, it is very rare that I go to the movie theater anymore. But I did go and see Ford V Ferrari, staring Matt Damon and Christian Bale. Why? In my humble opinion the AC Shelby Cobra is one of the finest cars to ever grace the road. No car, before or since, has ever quite captured such a specific blend of power and elegance. It is a masterpiece of human engineering and aesthetics.
The movie is pretty good, though the writing can be a little conventional at times. Shakespeare it is not. However, Christian Bale’s performance, especially when racing, is solid. He talks to the car in a way that is both tender and demanding, like a really good coach. And which of us has not spoken to our cars? We urge them on. We curse our dead battery. We have, lets not kid ourselves, a relationship with our cars of which our toasters might be jealous.
As I have mentioned before, I am not a car guy. I don’t build cars or race cars or set my sights on buying a new car every two years…I can’t afford it. But I do appreciate cars because of what they represent. Next time you look at a car, think about the millions and millions of man hours expended over the last century to make it possible for you to own, lease or borrow such a stupendous machine. Never forget that the car industry spawned revolutions in consumer finance and trade. The industry employed millions of people and granted real geographical freedom to so much of the world. The automobile is the real triumph of western capitalism…and if you don’t believe me then do a little research into the cars of the Soviet Union. Communism failed because they made bad cars.
My goal of all of this is not to descend into comparative economics but to recommend a documentary I found on Netflix called Shelby American. As you can probably guess, its about the life and work of the entrepreneur Carroll Shelby. It is a great American story of which you only get a hint in the movie. In the movie Ford V Ferrari you don’t hear how this gritty man lost all his money when his chicken farm failed. Or how he was thrown from the car during “the greatest race ever held,” the Carrera Panamericana.
It is well worth the watch.