Gardena is Shelbyville all over again at event celebrating ‘Ford v Ferrari’ – Daily News

on Feb16
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Dozens of car enthusiasts assuaged their need for speed Saturday morning at Carroll Shelby Enterprises Inc. in Gardena as they perused about 100 different types of stylish cars including, and most-notably, the ones featured in the film “Ford v Ferrari.”

“Ford v Ferrari” shares key moments in the life of muscle-car visionary Carroll Shelby and his British driver, Ken Miles as they attempted to defeat the Italian automotive dynasty in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. The film, which grossed $224 million worldwide and was released on home video last week, stars Matt Damon as Shelby and Christian Bale as Miles.

The native Texan — a champion driver turned car developer — created such high-octane street machines as the Shelby Cobra and Shelby Mustang. He became a road-ripping folk hero in car-crazy Southern California by unleashing his much-coveted performance cars in the 1960s — and them kick-started some of his most beloved Ford models in the early 2000s.

The film, big on racing footage and engine-revving sound, was a must-see for car enthusiasts as it depicts the grueling 24-hour race, during which drivers top 200 mph on straightaways, perhaps the ultimate test of their machines.

Some fans even made their way to the theater to see it multiple times; because for many it’s not just a hobby but a facet of their identity and an all-encompassing way-of-life.

“A properly made car is more than just a piece of transportation. A properly made car is a style, it’s a lifestyle choice, it’s a suit you wear, it exemplifies who you are as a person,” said Mike Cowan, a Mustang enthusiast who saw the movie three times. “I love the mechanics of the cars, I love the styling of a car. It’s a work of art that works. It’s functionally useful.”

“This is pure sex,” he said as a 2019 Ford GT revved its EcoBoost engine. “I mean, if I were waxing this car I would feel like I was cheating on my wife.”

While some enthusiasts spend their free-time partaking in car events and meetups, some have  opted to build their lives atop four wheels — like race-car and stunt driver, Jeff Bucknum.

The son of Ronnie Bucknum, a driver from the 1960s, Alhambra-born Jeff was part of the team of more than 20 stunt drivers for “Ford v Ferrari,” filmed at multiple race tracks across the country and even a closed stretch of highway.

While his resume displays four Indy Racing League Series, he said he started out with surfing and go karts until he enrolled in racing school.

After driving in commercials, Bucknum made his film debut under the direction of stunt coordinator Robert Nagle, who also worked on the 2017 hit “Baby Driver.” Bucknum even drove some of his dad’s old cars around the track during the shoot, albeit, sometimes not very fast.

“Some corners were sped up in the film,” he confessed. “Watching a car go by at 190 miles per hour looks like 100 — maybe — 100. We were hitting 150-160, it looks like you’re going 70. So, from a distance it just doesn’t look impressive. Until you’re sitting in the car. It feels fast when you hit the wall.”

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