My Car Quest

April 20, 2024

Hollywood Considers Carroll Shelby Bio (Again) – UPDATED

by Wallace Wyss –

A new team is intent on visualizing the drama of long distance racing in a new movie about Texas chicken-farmer-turned-race-driver Carroll Shelby.

The Texan failed in raising chickens in the early ’50s and took up sports car racing in ’54 only to win the 24 hours of LeMans just five years later. He went on to create the iconic AC Shelby Cobra, and oh, help Ford win LeMans with their GT40.

The movie will be released in 2019.

Carroll Shelby by Wallace Wyss

Chris Bruce, in a story on announced the new effort to bring Shelby’s story to the big screen saying,

“Clear your calendar for June 28, 2019, because you’ll want to be at the local theater to watch the premiere of the film chronicling Ford’s conquer of Ferrari at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. The movie from 20th Century Fox will star Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as engineer and racing driver Ken Miles. The flick has the working title Ford vs. Ferrari, but the name could still change.”

The actual book it is based on is Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans by A. J. Baime

(Editor’s note:Ford vs. Ferrari is the title of an existing book by Anthony Pritchard.)

According to Variety, a trade paper, the film focuses on Shelby and Miles effort to turn the GT40 into a Le-Mans-winning machine. Jon Bernthal of The Punisher series on Netflix and previously in The Walking Dead is in negotiations to portray Lee Iacocca. Caitriona Balfe from Outlander has the role of Ken Miles’ wife.

Bruce goes on to name-drop a whole slew of Hollywood pros involved with the new project, naming James Mangold of Logan, 3:10 to Yuma, and Walk the Line as the man helming director’s chair. He names the screenwriting team as Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, who are credited with previously writing the Tom Cruise sci-fi flick Edge of Tomorrow while Jez had a screenplay by credit on the James Bond movie Spectre.

Bruce chronicles some of the previouss efforts including Tom Cruise efforts in 2013 for a release planed for 2015. Although Cruise couldn’t match Shelby’s 6-ft stature, he had pegged the part of Carroll Shelby for himself, and even Brad Pitt (who has been seen driving race cars in France) was also in negotiations for a starring role. Bruce mentions point, Michael Mann (Miami Vice) was supposed to direct, but then says director Joseph Kosinski is in consideration for that project.

In the convoluted story, Bruce also mentions Christian Bale as a possibility of “someone taking on Enzo Ferrari because at one point he nearly portrayed the famous automotive executive.” (meaning Ferrari) Bruce seems confused here, as Miles was only say a Lieutenant in Shelby’s operation not the General devising the strategy.

That was Shelby’s job.

Bruce says: “In 2015, Bale signed on with Michael Mann to do a cinematic adaption on the book Enzo Ferrari: The Man, the Cars, the Races. The story would have dealt with the crash of Ferrari driver Alfonso de Portago at the 1957 Mille Miglia that killed him, the car’s co-driver, and nine race spectators.”

Chernin Entertainment is producing the Damon-starring film, having bought the rights from 20th Century Fox.


Hello, James: It sounds like you’re zeroing in specifically on Shel at LeMans. No doubt there’s a lot of ways to tell the Shelby story. But I just wanted you to be aware of my two bios of Shelby that tell his whole life story in the event you need more insight/anecdotes on his life prior to the Ford LeMans effort.

The titles are Shelby’s Wildlife: The Cobras, Mustangs and Dodges (with forward by Shelby) and Shelby: The Man, The Cars, The Legend: Updated and Expanded Edition

Should film rights option be a subject, I’m all ears at

All the best,

Wallace Wyss

Carroll Shelby by Wallace Wyss

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is a fine artist, whose oil on canvas car portraits can be commissioned. Write




Carroll Shelby

Carroll Shelby with a GT350 Mustang and a Cobra in 1966


Shelby’s Wildlife the Cobras and the Mustangs
SHELBY The Man the Cars The Legend
Ford GT40 Photo Archive (with Brian Winer)
Ford vs Ferrari by Pritchard (Wyss editor and publisher)
Ford GT40 and the New Ford GT, author with Brian Winer


Not all the people in Wyss’ list below of recommended characters have been announced yet; some may not be in the story. But the movie makers are adding new characters all the time, so there is hope- Ed.


Charlie Agaipou, a Brit expatriate who crewed for Shelby from the Cobras to the GT40s

Pete Brock, young energetic car designer who pushed Shelby into letting him design the coupe that became the Daytona but who left when the Ford people arrived en masse

Roy Lunn, the British born engineer in Dearborn who designed the GT40

Eric Broadley, the British born engineer who designed the Lola that Ford based their design on, went to work for Ford but left when he clashed with John Wyer.

Phil Remington, an old time American hot rodder who was at Shelby’s from Day One, helping develop the Cobra and who segued into the GT40

Dan Gurney: Shelby’s sometime rival race driver, but who was available to drive in a pinch, often at odds with Shelby on which way Shelby American should go. He partnered with Shelby on All American Racers but bought Shelby out.

Mrs. Henry Ford II. Italian born blonde, whose remark at LeMans in ’63 “Ford could never win this race” was one of the impetuses that got Ford going on winning the race.

Ken Miles, British born race driver who raced against Shelby when Shelby was still a driver and was hired on in the Cobra era to set up the Cobra race cars; segued over to GT40

John Wyer, former Aston Martin racing chief, who came over to Ford to run the GT40 program in ’64. His role was marginalized when Ford handed his job to Shelby in ’65; but he came back with a GT40 small block and a sponsor and won LeMans twice with it in ’68 and ’69.

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss, by virtue of his three books on Shelby, Cobras and Ford GTs is considered by many to be an expert on the era. He can be reached at

Hollywood Considers Carroll Shelby Bio (Again)
Article Name
Hollywood Considers Carroll Shelby Bio (Again)
A Carroll Shelby bio movie is on the way.


  1. Mike Clarke says

    Lets just hope that the CGI is kept to a minimum. Rush was a good story and could have been a great movie had they used less CGI. Take note producers, what made Grand Prix and Le Mans epic racing movies was the film footage, combine that with a good story and you will have a hit.

    Is there a casting call after this years LeMans classic?

  2. wallace wyss says

    The trouble with RUSH is that once the drivers put that cloth scarf on and full face helmet you lose a sense of who you are looking at. And like most racing movies, to the non enthusiast ,it;’s so much droning on lap after lap. If that was a good example of a racing movie, they have to re-think the genre…

  3. An update by Wallace Wyss was added on July 28, see it at the end of this article.

  4. wallace wyss says

    CASTING CALL (but . alas, only if you live near Savannah)

    They must be filming at a racetrack down there. Here’s the story and where to send your pictures to. Remember no clothes after 1966 styles

  5. says

    All their hard work paid off, and the GT40 Mk. II was born. Ford didn’t just defeat Ferrari at Le Mans in 1966, it humiliated the Italian stallions. While Ferrari didn’t even have a car that completed the race, GT40 Mk. II’s captured first, second and third places.

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