Hooniverse Asks: What if Ford HAD Bought Ferrari?

Gran Turismo 5
We all know the story about how Ford responded to an overture to buy Ferrari but was rebuffed when Enzo wanted to keep the part that Ford really wanted, the racing operation. We know that the deal fell through, and ended up with Henry Ford II thrusting his fat Havana in Enzo Ferrari’s face and shouting you’ll be sorry, amico, as il Commendatore is dragged off by his minions while repeatedly brushing his raised chin with the back of his hand. Yeah, that’s how it went down.
The insult to Ford was so great that Henry’s grandson spent untold amounts of corporate cash to beat the Italian upstart at his own game, and that game was Le Mans. It became such an obsession for the Ford CEO that after two unsuccessful years he sent cards to his top people saying only  “You better win, Henry Ford II.” Ford eventually did beat Ferrari, taking the first, second, and third positions at Le Mans in 1966 with the GT40, a car that was born from of the rage between two industry egos.
What however, if that had never happened? What do you think the ’60s would have been like had Ford bought not just Ferrari’s road car business, but the racing arm too? Sure, we wouldn’t have the GT40 and its progeny to lust upon today, but what might we have had in their place? What do you think would have been the result if Ford had actually bought Ferrari?
Image: flickr

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

52 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: What if Ford HAD Bought Ferrari?”

  1. tonyola Avatar

    Ferrari Daytonas with 428 Cobra Jet engines and ram-air hood scoops?

    1. NapoleonSolo Avatar

      Ah! The euro coupe version of the Rover SD1. Always wanted to see a pic of that. One of the most beautiful cars ever built.

  2. Jeepster Avatar

    Pintos that do not burn near as fast as a v12 wiring harness?

    1. 0A5599 Avatar

      Ha. I thought the result would be a prancing pinto that ignites without impact.

      1. Jeepster Avatar

        do a search for ( Ferrari’s on fire ) .. wow, it is wonderous

  3. Maymar Avatar

    I can’t see Ferrari being okay with what he’d write off as Ford’s truck engines, and most Fords at the time wouldn’t have really benefitted from temperamental high strung engines (commercially at least). We’d have seen a couple oddities to win a few trophies and stroke Ford the Second’s ego as long as he was in power, and then someone would realize it’s a terrible idea on the balance sheet, and they’d have been sold off, probably back to the Italians (a few years too early to JumpStart PAG).
    That said, if by some miracle it held on, instead of the Taurus SHO, we may have gotten the Taurus 8.32. That would have been neat.

    1. Jeepster Avatar

      Speakin’ of neat – the new 2016 Bronco. “sho ” Ranger package pictured
      ( if Jeepster was an engineering manager there at the FORD )

    2. Guest Avatar

      I’ve also had unholy thoughts about a similar 8.32 plan, but using one of the Chrysler 300 based Lancia Thema’s.

      Theoretically, it’s even possible.


      1. Maymar Avatar

        It’s long disappointed me that FCA never dropped the Ferrari/Maserati 4.7 in this.I get that it’s irrational compared to the 6.4 Hemi, but that doesn’t make it wrong.

  4. Jeepster Avatar

    the 1975 Maverick Dino ” LDO ” ?

  5. GTXcellent Avatar

    The Italian Stallion would have been divested and now owned by a Chinese or Indian conglomerate.

    1. Jeepster Avatar

      Yep , Mr Henry Ford was soooo mad at them, he would have broken the company up in little meatballs by now ..

  6. Jeepster Avatar

    1984 Mondial EXP, with 6 cyl option ?

    1. Vairship Avatar

      Flathead 6?

  7. Jeepster Avatar

    1988 McLaren Mustang Testa Roassa ( whut – this may not be half bad )

  8. Sjalabais Avatar

    The usual result of corporate buying sprees: Less competition, less interesting and fewer cars to drool over. A lack of funds and/or corporate muscle wasn’t really a problem at Ferrari in the long run either.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      Especially when Fiat bought a 50% stake in Ferrari in 1969. That certainly helped the latter.

  9. The Real Number_Six Avatar
    The Real Number_Six

    Through the seventies, Ferrari would have been passed around like a dube at a Grateful Dead concert; finally ending up as a distantly-remembered curiosity of the sad Hispano-Suiza/Tatra/Jensen/Austin-Healey ilk.

  10. Lokki Avatar

    The answer is simple and obvious -See Aston Martin; see Jaguar; See Volvo. Ford would fiddled around for several years and then dumped them at a loss to whoever ponied up some cash.

    1. Jeepster Avatar

      Don’t forget about out Land Rover friends – now at Tata.

      1. Jeepster Avatar

        ” our ” dammit Jeepster can’t type – Jeepster hands like baseball mits. ungawa.
        Strong like bull – smrt like brick

    2. StephaneDumas Avatar

      We could wonder what if Jacques Nasser wasn’t at the head of Ford?

  11. Citric Avatar

    Every Ferrari in the early ’90s would have come equipped with this steering wheel:

    1. GTXcellent Avatar

      That’s funny, because I was thinking about a post where the 308 interior would look like this

      1. Jeepster Avatar


    2. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

      All 1980-90s Ferrari speedometers in the US would stop at 85.

        1. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

          OK. I was too young for most of it, I just remember neighbors with foreign cars having more than 85 and my entire family having Fords i found it funny.

          1. 0A5599 Avatar

            A somewhat common modification by owners of “fast” cars back then was to recalibrate the speedometer so that the KPH numbers would actually display MPH speeds.

        2. nanoop Avatar

          5-digit odo’s saying something about lifetime/range expectation… Early 944s have that too, but opposed to F-cars, you’re always unsure how often it turned over.

          1. neight428 Avatar

            I had an ’86 SVO Mustang that I got in ’92 with about 70k miles and it was a basket case.

  12. engineerd Avatar

    Most likely Ferrari would be a shell of its former self and would occasionally dabble in motorsport, but not consistently.
    However, I like to think about the pie in the sky what ifs. What if the Mustang GT used a Ferrari V12 engine? What if the Taurus SHO was powered by the Mondial’s V8? What if Ford had pushed Ferrari to not give up their rally aspirations after the end of Group B and we saw Ott Tanak taking to WRC stages in a Ferrari FF GTO?

  13. PotbellyJoe★★★★★ Avatar

    Apart from a few cars, i can’t see how much overlap would have truly existed. The Ford guys, even in Europe weren’t about to play nice with artisan, small-volume guys more interested in racing than manufacturing. I feel like the olive oil and vinegar would have stayed apart as it usually does.
    Some cross-over knowledge would happen, small parts, switches and such. The FOrd Capri probably would have been a bigger deal.
    The biggest thing with buying Ferrari would be getting more access to Pininfarina for designs, maybe we would have had better looking Fords in the 70s.
    More likely they would have continued on doing what they did and then Ford would piss off Ferrari by making them slap a Ford logo somewhere on their big-time formula or endurance racer.

    1. Jeepster Avatar

      It was a Hot Wheel in the package …. wow

    2. The Real Number_Six Avatar
      The Real Number_Six

      Ford’s purchase of Ghia in 1970 was supposed to have resulted in better-looking Fords through the seventies. The result was unfortunately a series of attractive concept cars and a silly Ghia badge on such forgettable cars as the Ford Orion 1.6i Ghia.

      1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

        Don’t be dissing the Onion!
        Ok, maybe diss the 1.4GL, but the Ghia Injection was legendary!

        1. The Real Number_Six Avatar
          The Real Number_Six

          And the Ghia badge added what to the equation, a certain je ne sais quoi? “Lookit that Ghia badge – ties the whole thing together!” http://www.projectbobcat.com/img/model-info/mk2-ghia/ghia-boot-badge.jpg

          1. crank_case Avatar

            I had a fourth gen Fiesta Ghia, total ladymagnet with the faux wood trim and ghia badges. Heated windscreen was useful in fairness.

  14. Tanshanomi Avatar

    “Typical Ford Douche” would be a stereotype?

  15. 0A5599 Avatar

    Since in Ferrari-speak, a GTB is a Berlinetta, and a GTS is a Spyder, the GTO would become the Ferrari body style to incorporate Opera windows.

  16. Tiberiuswise Avatar

    I like to think that Ford would have learned, far earlier, that it is not a good collector of premium marques. Thus avoiding the costly Jaguar/Volvo/Land Rover experiment.

  17. Alff Avatar

    Thinking of the work of Benoit Mandelbrot… Schumi would not have suffered that skiing accident.

  18. Alff Avatar

    There would have been no Pantera.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      Not true, but thanks to bitter divisional infighting it would have had a MEL engine instead.

  19. Jeepster Avatar

    1969 Hotwheels by Mattel

  20. neight428 Avatar

    The optimist in me says an SVO Mustang with 3.2L flat plane DOHC V8.
    The pessimist in me says a Ford Edge with lowering springs and a nicer interior.

  21. NapoleonSolo Avatar

    Nightmare scenario…

  22. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    Well, the world is better for the deal falling through. If it’d happened, likely that Ferrari might be a trim option on the Expedition now. They sure wouldn’t be in F1. And the F395 would be based on a Fusion platform.

  23. crank_case Avatar

    Following the alternate history timeline..no Ferrari snub, no GT40.. which was derived from the Lola MK6 and Ford powered anyway. You have to wonder if without Ford backing, we’d be talking about about a plucky underdog British team that beat Ferrari with an evolution of that car, or if it’d just be a footnote in endurance racing history.

  24. outback_ute Avatar

    I can’t see that any good would have come from it. Ferrari sure didn’t need HFII’s broughamtastic tastes and I doubt there would have been any cross-pollenation in the other direction. On the other hand Ferrari would have gained better production systems, but that would not make up for the GT40 not happening

%d bloggers like this: