Dear Start My Car,

I would like to wish us all everything of the best for 2020. May the year ahead bring joy and abundance. 


2020 is an exciting year for us at Start My Car. We will be undertaking a full website overhaul which will include a fully functional trade version, part lookup by number plate or vin no and workshop listing/recommendation near you. We will also be improving our returns and deliveries. Watch this space for updates. 


But the holiday is not completely over, and so we thought to tell you about a movie that is currently on circuit in South Africa. Ford V Ferrari is well worth going to see. Especially if you are a motor enthusiast. Read the blog below. 


And don’t forget to check out our very competitive offers. 


Contact us if you need us. We are here for you. 


Regards

Baruch.  


Ford vs Ferrari History


Le Mans Rivalry Gets the Silver Screen Treatment 

Larger than life characters, heroes prevailing against all odds, highly bankable movie stars playing rough-around-the-edges-yet-endearing rascals. These are what blockbusters are made of. Ford v Ferrari chronicles Henry Ford II’s quest to beat Ferrari at the 24 hours of Le Mans in the late ‘60s, a legendary showdown in auto racing history. Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in this James Mangold directed film (Walk the Line and Wolverine). 

The movie, set for a November 13th release, intends to capture both the drama of the racetrack and the boardroom as Carrol Shelby (played by Damon) fights a two-front war with Ford executives and Ferrari’s champion race team. Judging by the trailer, Ford v Ferrari looks like another Oscar nod may be in the offing for Bale. His portrayal of British racer Ken Miles combines steely-eyed daredevil cool with endearing family man pathos. 

Those with a knowledge of racing history are more amped than OG fans of the Newsies for Ford v Ferrari. That’s because the real-life story on which the film is based was almost as dramatic as Hollywood would have you believe. And it all started with an innocent little attempt at an acquisition/merger. 

Ford’s Grudge Against Ferrari 

In the early 1960s, Henry Ford II (grandson to Henry Ford) set his sights on acquiring the legendary Italian sports car maker Ferrari. The initial proposal would see Ford buyout Ferrari in exchange for Ferrari’s racing expertise. 

First a bit of background. The AMA (Automobile Manufacturers of America) had in 1957 forbid American car makers from participating in motor sports following some well-publicised racing accidents. While Ford’s general manager Robert McNamara (yes, that Robert McNamara) had strictly followed the letter of the agreement, Chevy, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile had quietly pressed ahead in developing fast, large engine cars. By the time a more forward-looking Lee Iacocca took the reins at Ford, the sentiment at the company was already shifting. In June of 1962, Henry Ford II took off the kid gloves, proclaiming that since other car companies weren’t abiding by the spirit of the agreement, the AMA “has come to neither purpose nor effect” and Ford was again returning to racing. 

It’s also important to mention that racing and vehicle performance was a significant factor in the minds of the car buying public. Racing bragging rights mattered to the bottom line of manufacturers and were a huge boon to marketers and salesmen alike. We can see this playing out today with the back and forth between Tesla and Porsche for the best EV sedan time on the Nürburgring. 

So, in order to get a jumpstart back into racing Ford approached Ferrari in 1963 about the above-mentioned acquisition. After some early positive talks, negotiations hit a snag over the fate of Ferrari’s Scuderia Ferrari racing division. Ford had assumed that control of the racing division would naturally pass hands as part of the larger deal, but Enzo Ferrari balked at the idea and walked. This didn’t mean the end to Ford’s racing ambitions, however. And the rebuffed Henry Ford II wasn’t just determined to forge ahead, he also intended to extract some payback for Ferrari’s cold shoulder. 

The GT and 24 Hours at Le Mans

Ford set its sights on Europe’s (and arguably the world’s) most prestigious auto race, the 24 hours of Le Mans. In the early ‘60s, Ferrari had been a dominant force at Le Mans, taking the title in the first four races of the decade from ’60 through ’64. Meanwhile Ford’s advanced vehicle department had begun work on a new race car, the GT. In 1964, a prototype of the GT was shipped from England to the US for the New York Auto Show. 

As powerful as the GT40’s 4.2L V-8 was, the aerodynamics of the Mk.1 still needed some fine tuning. It was often threatening to go airborne above 177mph. Ford’s re-entry into racing proved rocky. They posted DNFs (did not finish) in the Nürburgring, Le Mans, and Reins 12 Hours in 1964. Ferrari, on the other hand, posted a 1-2-3 finish at Le Mans in ’64. 

Following the dismal ’64 season, Ford brought in renowned racer and car designer Carrol Shelby (of the Shelby Cobra) to spearhead the refinement of the GT. The first thing Shelby did was jettison the 4.2L in favour of a 7.0L 427 cu. in. engine and a new ZF transmission. 

He also enlisted British racer Ken Miles to drive for Ford. The team posted a win at the Daytona 2000 in November of ’64 and then finishing 1-2-3 at Daytona the following February of ’65. That same year Ferrari posted its fifth straight victory at Le Mans. But Shelby’s team was building momentum, achieving another 1-2-3 finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March of ’66 and setting the table for the showdown with Ferrari at the ’66 Le Mans race. 

The Photo Finish That Wasn’t 

All the millions in R&D and years of concentrated effort were beginning to pay off for Ford. Their recent racing victories had them poised to take Ferrari’s crown at Le Mans. And that’s just what they did, with the GT40 Mk. II sweeping the top three spots with ease. Ferrari’s highest finish of the race was a disappointing 8th place. 

But the finish to the race wasn’t without controversy. As Ford’s racers were so far in the lead, they had the opportunity for a further marketing coup by having a photo finish tie for their cars. Miles was instructed to slow down to allow the other two cars to catch up. But Ford was informed by race officials that due to the difference in starting position an actual tie wouldn’t be possible if the cars were finishing together (meaning Miles would be sacrificing his 1st place finish). 

There are competing narratives as to what happened next. Some stories say that Bruce McLaren gunned his throttle at the last moment (breaking with Ford’s plan) in order to finish ahead of Miles. Other versions have it that Miles intentionally slowed down to prevent Ford from getting their photo-op finish over the perceived slight. Either way, Ford had done it. They bested Ferrari on their own turf. 

Tragically, Ken Miles was killed in a wreck two months later while testing at the Riverside International Raceway in California. 

Ford went on to win Le Mans again in ’67, ’68, and ’69.  


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Workshop Wisdom

Re-Power that Steering

Bring new life to power steering systems
Power steering is a common feature in most late model cars and LDVs and, like all automotive operating systems, requires regular servicing. Using a pump situated in front of the engine, the power steering system uses hydraulic pressure to multiply and transmit the driver’s steering force to the steering axle, making wheel turning almost effortless. 

Often overlooked during general vehicle servicing, power steering systems do have stipulated service intervals, which, if ignored, will lead to steering system problems such as difficulty in turning the steering wheel, power steering pump noise (a whining sound) and contaminated hydraulic fluid. 

Do your customers a favour and take a look at their power steering fluid reservoir. If the hydraulic fluid is dark brown or black, the system needs a good flushing. By removing contaminated fluid from the power steering system, you’ll not only keep steering ability at an optimum, but you’ll also prevent premature power steering pump failure. 

Here’s how to execute a power steering system service... 
• Check the owner’s manual for the correct power steering fluid. Automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is often the specified medium. 
• Jack up the front axle using a hydraulic jack, jack stands and wheel chocks. This will allow you to turn the wheels easily without turning the engine on.
• Locate the power steering fluid reservoir and using a transfer pump, suck out as much fluid as possible. 
• Turn the steering wheel from left-lock to right-lock several times to push more fluid into the reservoir. 
• Suck out the fluid again with the transfer pump. 
• Now locate the low-pressure return line connecting the steering column to the power steering pump. You’ll identify this hose by its low-pressure clamp, which differs to the crimp clamps on the high-pressure feeder line. 
• Place a drip pan under the pump. 
• Using a large funnel to prevent messing, detach the low-pressure line at the pump and allow the remaining fluid to drain from the system. 
• Turn the steering wheel several times to force out the last of the fluid. 
• Now, leaving the hose detached, pour new fluid into the reservoir to chase out any remaining old fluid. Once the new fluid appears in the funnel, the flush is complete.
• Reconnect and clamp the hose. 
• Fill the reservoir with the specified fluid. 
• Turn the steering wheel a few times to help bleed the system of air. 
• Turn the car on for a few seconds to activate the pump to help remove any air trapped in the new fluid. 
• Check the reservoir level and add more fluid using the reservoir dipstick as a guide. 
• Drive the car for 10 minutes and execute several turns to allow the new fluid to work its way through the system. Bring extra fluid with you. If the pump starts whining, top up the reservoir. 
• Return to the workshop and check the fluid level again. If it’s full and clean, you’ve nailed it! 

Remember – if the pump continues to whine even after the fluid service, it probably needs to be replaced. You can get OE-quality replacement pumps from www.startmycar.co.za 

Bottom line: You can get the necessary power steering/automatic transmission fluid plus all the required tools from www.startmycar.co.za. By executing a thorough power steering service, you’ll add another valuable arrow to your automotive quiver!  

HAPPY CUSTOMERS