My Car Quest

December 10, 2023

Ford v Ferrari: Perfect Lap Tour – Los Angeles

Report by Wallace Wyss –

Photographs by Richard Bartholomew –

It was billed as a “Perfect Lap Tour” but it wasn’t like it sounds a driving event, a rally, at all. It was sort of a nostalgia event at Carroll Shelby International Headquarters: 19021 S Figueroa St, Gardena, CA 90248.

Shelby Cobra

Shelby Cobra

Actually the Shelby company is in Las Vegas now but this building is still kept for the Shelby firm to conduct local business, and there’s even a shop there, run by former employees from the Sixties, making fastback ’65 and ’66 Mustangs into Shelby GT350 clones.

I attended this annual party a few yeas ago when Shelby himself was still alive and was surprised to see him still supervising the grilling of the food.

He liked to be surrounded by his fans. Of course there was a long time when there was no new Shelby Mustang, when he had defected to Chrysler and then tried to build an Olds powered car. But at the end of his life he came back to Ford and now there are fearsome Shelby Mustangs being made.

But what really changed the landscape was the coming of the movie Ford v Ferrari, made several years after Shelby’s 2012 death. This Hollywood drama stretched the chronology six ways to Sunday but still told an entertaining story.

And it also is introducing a whole new audience of youngins to the great cars of Ford’s original partnership with Shelby, like the GT350 Mustangs and the Ford GT40.

Ford GT40

Ford GT40

I have to say that, even though I am the author of three books on Shelby and his cars, I can’t tell the real ones from the replicas at a distance and don’t want to rap my knuckles on them to see if they are aluminum (and some are aluminum, in the $100,000 plus range!).

All I can do is judge on how effectively they convey the spirit of the originals. And I think the movie is to be credited with buyers of the replicas working hard to make it only a Cobra 289 or 427 but a look alike for some specific car, say a 289 in the same trim and with the same race number as Gurney drove in the ’64 targa.

I could cheer that all this new interest being shown will revive my last book SHELBY The Man, the Cars the Legend, but alas it is out of print. Some old out of print books on Shelby cars are said to be costing hundreds of dollars on eBay, so much is the zeal for authentic portraits of the originals at races.

They had some real Shelby former personnel at this event, the most famous of which since the movie is Charlie Agaipou once a teenage mechanic on London buses thrust into the world of high speed racing in the ‘60s. Signing autographs right next to him was Ken Miles son, Peter, who I applaud for being so visible after the movie. He was I heard, in the movie, but I didn’t see him. He was portrayed as a child in the movie.

Another person I didn’t see in the movie but was in the driving scenes was Jeff Bucknum, the son of Ron Bucknum, a race driver who drove for the Holman & Moody team in the ‘60s.

I interviewed Bucknum in Shelby’s old office. As I was there last in 1977, I couldn’t recognize it but I know that was the location. Back then Shelby was showing me his fine art, and big game hunting rifles.

Carroll Shelby's Office

Carroll Shelby’s Office – photo by Wallace Wyss

In this new interview in 2020 of the young actor, I asked him several questions and got most of my answers.


All the movie mid-engined cars had the same engine, a Chevy LS, and the same suspension and gearbox so they would be easy to fix.


He has raced at many events including the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 24 hours of Daytona.


Some say that Ken Miles in the film is obsessed with the perfect lap. I say he was experiencing driver fatigue, like “I’d just like to take a nap at 160 mph” and young Bucknum admitted “you do get sort of tired after three hours behind the wheel and forget you are going 160 mph.”


He said he was doing 160 mph in the “Mulsanne straight” which was actually a six mile stretch of Georgia Road they had blocked off. The trees by the side of the track were a little threatening.


I did not see the video but I was told it has another hour added, mostly interviews. I was hoping it would have all the deleted scenes cut form the director’s first cut, a 3½ hour version (only the 2½ hour version went out to the theaters). I am hoping this new video lights fires under newborn Shelby fans who didn’t see it in the theaters.

But have to say that it was the cars themselves, all be it most of them replicas, that fired me up again, especially a blue Mk. I 1965 style GT40 with Goodyear Blue Streak tires. It made the movie car, a light blue one, look shabby but maybe they are leaving the dirt on the movie car to give you that “just driven off the track” feeling.

The blue one was so beautiful I think it holds its own with any racing car of the mid ‘60s except the Ferrari P3/4 and maybe it’s the Ferrari red that lures me.

Shelby GT350

Shelby GT350

I am hoping to see more variations of ‘60s Cobras and GT40s come into being, even in replica form, like the GT40 targas, the “long nose” GTX Can Am car (later transformed into “Big Ed”) the 390 powered 289 with the GTO and many others that I remember seeing in pictures even if I never saw them in person. Even the infamous J-car I’d like to see on the track again.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR/ARTIST: Wallace Wyss is the author of three Shelby books. As a fine artist he has painted ten portraits of Shelby era race cars and street Cobras. For a list of prints or for info on 20″ x 30 giclees on canvas, write


Richard Bartholomew is an artist and photographer based in Southern California. Visit his YouTube channel here. He is open to interesting consignments and can be reached at

More photos are in the two slide shows below.


Ford v Ferrari: Perfect Lap Tour - Los Angeles
Article Name
Ford v Ferrari: Perfect Lap Tour - Los Angeles
The movie Ford v Ferrari, made several years after Shelby’s 2012 death is a Hollywood drama that stretched the chronology six ways to Sunday but still told an entertaining story. The Perfect Lap Tour is a promotion based around the film’s Digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD release.


  1. You should come to Cincinnati the weekend of June 12 -14 as the Cincinnati Concours d’Elegance celebrates this year’s theme: An Exhibition of Motorsports Excellence.
    We will have two different Ford v Ferrari displays – the first at our Friday night kick-off with a 1962 Ferrari GTO and the Shell GT40 “parachute” car that was used in the Shell commercial shown blasting through a paper billboard and releasing a parachute, which is still on the car. Then, on Sunday at the Concours we will have the 1965 LeMans winner Ferrari 250LM displayed with a 1968 GT40 Mk I in Gulf Racing colors. All real cars, not replicas!


  2. Carroll Shelby had the same poster in his office that I have hanging in my office – the 1965 World Champion Daytona Coupe poster.

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