The new Matt Damon and Christian Bale movie “Ford v. Ferrari” features some of the most authentic racing action seen on screen in years. Instead of computer animations, real cars were used to recreate the classic on-track battles.
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Bale even went to racing school to prepare for his role as Ford driver Ken Miles.
But like the actor, the vehicles in the movie are playing roles. The surviving historic racecars are worth millions of dollars today, and far too valuable to risk. So the production team turned to Race Car Replicas and California’s Superformance, companies that build picture-perfect recreations of models such as the Shelby Cobra and the Ford GT40 that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.
Superformance CEO Lance Stander tells Fox News Autos that his GT40s were mostly used for close-up beauty shots, with one featuring in a pivotal scene where Damon’s Carroll Shelby takes Henry Ford II for a very fast test drive and makes him cry. It’s one of the few examples of creative license director James Mangold took, depicting an event that didn’t happen in real life.
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Stander’s cars aren’t just movie props, however; you can buy one and drive it on the street. The starting price for a GT40 is $130,000, and it comes with a caveat: Some assembly is required. Since the vintage designs don’t meet current safety standards, companies such as Superformance can only sell them as “component” cars without an engine or drivetrain, which buyers have to get installed on their own.
Then the cars need to be registered under local custom car laws, which vary from state to state and can make insuring and financing vehicles difficult.
A federal law was passed in 2015 that would allow small manufacturers like Superformance to build 325 complete cars each year with a Vehicle Identification Number, as long as they meet emissions standards and are replicas of vehicles that are at least 25 years old.
Stander says he and his colleagues in the replica car business invested millions of dollars to prepare to ramp up production and hire hundreds of workers when the law passed, but the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration haven't yet put the regulations into effect.
No explanation for the delay has ever been given, so the industry group SEMA, or Specialty Equipment Market Association, filed a lawsuit in October to press the matter. The traffic safety administration hasn't yet responded to it, and a court date has not been set. The agency wouldn't comment on the legislation or the lawsuit to Fox News.