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

52 Comments

    1. 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.

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

      1. 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.

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

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

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

  6. 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?

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

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