The race is on for best picture at this year’s Academy Awards. And Irvine auto entrepreneur Lance Stander has 16 reasons to root for “Ford v Ferrari.”
That’s how many legendary race cars he provided for the film.
Stander, CEO of Shelby Legendary Cars, holds the exclusive licenses to build and sell exact recreations of Ford GT40s, Shelby Cobra roadsters and Daytona Coupes. And 16 of them from his Irvine showroom (including a mix of Mustangs and others) are now movie stars. They are seen on the racetrack, which takes up a major portion of the movie, as well as street scenes as “extras,” in keeping with the look of the mid-1960s.
“Ford v Ferrari,” nominated for best picture, best sound mixing, best sound editing and best film editing, stars Matt Damon as famed car designer and racing superstar Carroll Shelby. His character and that of Christian Bale, playing driver Ken Miles, are challenged by Ford Motor Co. to find victory in this dramatic true story. The film, released late last year, follows Ford’s GT40 as it winds its way to the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans win against perennial champion and favorite Ferrari.
“It was very exciting to work on the film and to have a film made about this period and the famous cars that Carroll Shelby was involved in,” Stander says.
The few existing original GT40s, Cobras and Daytonas that are owned by collectors around the world are each worth in the millions and were not risked on the track. That is where Stander’s cars filled in. To celebrate, Stander’s companies have introduced an exclusive line of vehicles as part of what he is calling his “Cinema Series.” These are based on roadsters and high-performance sports cars raced by famous winners such as Miles and Shelby. A total of 100 cars are for sale.
As far as the big night on Feb. 9, it is a waiting game at the starting gate. “I might get an invite to the Oscars,” Stander says. “But I will definitely be watching.”
If you’re in the market for one of these classic cars, visit Shelby Legendary Cars, 1 Whatney in Irvine.