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Well, what a bean counter never realizes-- it-- that you're buying a sizzle. You're not buying a steak. So, it fell through. And when it fell through, I don't even think Henry knew why it fell through, really. And he says, "Well, let's just go build our own car".
So-- Hal Sperling (PH), and Ray Gettys (PH), and I went over to Le Mans in 1963 and-- met with-- the fella that owned Lola (?), named Eric Broadly (PH); and he had built a mid-shipped engine car with-- a little coop with a Ford engine. And-- we put a deal together, went over to-- England-- with Eric and-- and-- made a deal with John Wire (PH), who I had driven for and won LeMans as a driver in 1959. And we put a deal together that they would build a mid-ship engine sport car that we would take to Le Mans. And-- about three months later, Eric Broadly pulled out of the deal, because he couldn't-- he d-- he was a very simple person-- an engineer that just didn't want to fool with the politics at Ford. And-- so John Wire built the car and then took it to Le Mans in 1964 and-- it didn't do very good; and that's when they turned the program over to us in-- California.
So, (CLEARS THROAT) in '65, a fella named Don Sullivan and Bill Innes (PH) was a chief engineer and-- some of the engineer guys decided, "Well, to win Le Mans, we're going to build our own engine-- own transmission". And they set up a dine-- dynamometer-- a series of dynamometers, built the engine, and they would run ten Le Mans-- no problems with the engine. We-- about ten days before Le Mans in '65-- they decided just to pull 'em down to see if anything had gone wrong with 'em, internally. And they found the head bolts had stretched just a few thousand-- said, "Well, we might as well replace them".
We went to Le Mans in '65. Led the race, out qualified everybody, and then all of the engines blew up, because they had bolts stretched. (LAUGHTER) They had got a bad set of head bolts. So-- in '66, we still had-- we had the engines (the 427), but we would run out of brakes, because the car weighed 4,000 pounds and the kinetic-- forces on the brakes had just burned 'em out. They weighed 4,000 pounds with the driver and fuel in 'em, and that was a heavy racecar. And down that-- straight at Le Mans (three and a half miles)-- when it came time to stop, you burned the brakes out-- right quick. So, about a month before Le Mans (as I remember it), Phil Remington (PH), who was-- not an engineer, but probably superior to a lot of engineers-- worked for us and-- and-- he figured out a way to change the routers in one minute. So, that's what won Le Mans for us, as well as-- as a lot of-- hard work-- as far as designing the car.
About the Video
Shelby talks about the innovations, from engines to brakes, his team came up with when trying to build a car that could win LeMans.
bill ennis, brakes, don sullivan, dynamometer, engine, engineer, england, eric broadley, failure, head bolts, henry ford, john wire, le mans, lola, mid-ship engine sport car, perseverance, phil remington, pit crew, race, rotors, accounting
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Lyn St. James helped a new generation of women break into the traditionally male-dominated sport of auto racing.
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