“Ford vs. Ferrari” Ford GT40 MkII No. 2:
Ask the Man Who Owns It
William Deary, owner of The Carroll Collection, bought the car after
Todd Lassa, Writer, Photographer -- Nov 26, 2019
Who buys a movie car after it was used to win in a racing film, in this
case the recently released Ford v Ferrari? How does the average enthusiast
even get the chance to buy such a car?
The answer to the first question is William Deary. He's an entrepreneur
who really isn't "average" as car guys go, although the resident of
Jackson, Michigan, is not a well-connected enthusiast in the classic
sense. Deary has a Garage Mahal of sorts that houses The Carroll
Collection, a dozen cars that includes a Shelby Mustang from every year of
the original run except 1967—and when I met with him, he was working on a
purchase that would fill the gap. The collection has about two dozen cars
total, the remainder of which are kept in a warehouse. They include three
Oldsmobile-powered Shelby Series 1 roadsters, although there's no Shelby
Dodge Omni GLH quite yet.
"I think it is special that over 50 years later, people are still talking
about the GT40, and Ford Motor Company and Carroll Shelby and the Ferrari
debacle," Deary says. "You don't see a lot of that with the American car
companies having that tradition or legacy or history."
Director James Mangold's Ford v. Ferrari premiered on November 15 and
finished its first weekend in first place at the box office, grossing $31
million. Ford Motor Company had precious little participation in the film.
"It doesn't sound like they did much at all," Deary says of Ford's
participation. "That was a bit of a surprise."
The cars in the movie are not, strictly speaking, real Fords. Or real
Ferraris. Stunt coordinator Robert Nagle told us that except for some
vintage models used during exterior shots of Ferrari headquarters in
Maranello, the race cars were reproductions. That's what Deary bought: a
Superformance GT MkII, with right-hand drive, a right-hand gearshift, and
a Gurney bubble, just like the '66 24 Hours of Le Mans winner. Deary
expects to drive it as often as his other favorites. "Everything goes out
[for a drive at least] twice a year," Deary says of his collection. "Fall
Deary in his modern day equivalent of the GT 40 in 66 Le Mans livery
His most frequently used cars are parked closest to the door, including a
2004 Ford GT and a 2017 Heritage Edition Ford GT in the same No. 2
white-over-black livery as the '66 Le Mans winner. There was an open space
during my visit next to the newer GT for the movie car, which was away in
New York City for an appearance on NBC's Today Show.
The vehicle that forged the connection enabling Deary to buy the No. 2
movie car is back at his warehouse. "When they were looking for period
cars to put in the movie, one of the pieces I have is a 1964 Ford
Econoline I made into a replica of the Carroll Shelby School of High
Performance Driving van. It was a period-correct vehicle [like that] used
by the race team. Someone who knew me called and said, 'Hey, don't you
have one of those?'
"Then I started asking questions about, can we get a hero car? That went
back and forth and ultimately, I was given the privilege to acquire the
replica of P1046, the black No. 2 car that Chris Amon and Bruce McLaren
drove to win Le Mans '66. That car was built to be an exact replica.
That's 80 percent of that car you can interchange with a period GT40.
Things have been changed—on both sides [of the original], they had fuel
bladders. It was like a big inner-tube full of fuel."
It surprised us that someone like Matt Damon or even Ben Collins—ex racing
driver and former Top Gear Stig, who stunt drove and played Miles's
co-driver Denny Hulme in the movie—didn't buy the movie's P1046. "You
think you're surprised?" Deary replies. While he won't disclose his
purchase price, Deary says the movie car didn't cost much more than a new
MkII direct from Superformance. "I was expecting a bigger number, myself."
The lack of a '60s-era Ford GT created what Deary considered one big hole
in The Carroll Collection, and an original car could run as much as $5
million, based on most recent sales. His purchase price wasn't the full
price, though. "At the end of the filming, the car was really beat up."
Just the opposite of his '64 Econoline, which was returned in pristine
condition. Of course, the van didn't have to simulate competing in races.
Deary bought the P1046 replica after filming wrapped at the end of summer
2018, but didn't take possession until last December, after it went back
to Superformance for some bodywork.
"It was pretty nasty," after filming. "They put about 500 miles on the
car. You'd have thought it was driven through brand-new tar. A third of
the car was totally black underneath." He toyed with possibly keeping the
"patina," but after all, that came from simulated races, not real ones.
Nagle, the stunt coordinator, told Deary how hard it is to drive a GT40,
even the modern replica, so he figures he'll need some years with the car
before he campaigns it in vintage races. He currently competes with an
Original Venice crew 1965
Meanwhile, he's making long-term plans for The Carroll Collection. Deary
has proposed self-funding an exact replica of Shelby American's original
shop in Venice, California, to be built on the grounds of The Henry Ford
museum at Greenfield Village, housing his period-correct cars and other
donations or loans. Meanwhile, if you're upset that you've missed out on a
movie car from Ford v. Ferrari, there's still time. Mecum Auctions will
offer the Arcadian Blue Shelby American No. 1 Superformance GT MkII
replica, the car driven by Christian Bale as Ken Miles for the 1966 24
Hours of Le Mans, next January.
Click on a photo below to enlarge: