In early 2016, Ford was intensely preparing to stage a
history-repeating assault on the 24 Hours of Le Mans in
With two teams and four new Ford GT race cars competing in
both North America and Europe, the goal was to grab a win at the
grueling endurance competition and remind the world of Ford’s
1-2-3 triumph in 1966 over Ferrari — 50 years before.
But while Ford and Chip Ganassi Racing were battling it out
on the track, another challenge was taking shape.
In California, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was preparing to pull the
cover off his long-awaited Model 3 mass-market vehicle — a car
intended to show the auto industry that Tesla was ready to take
its disruption to a whole new level.
In this excerpt from Business Insider Senior Correspondent
Matthew DeBord’s book “Return
to Glory: The Story of Ford’s Revival and Victory in the Toughest
Race in the World” (Atlantic Monthly Press), we get a
front-row seat at the Model 3 reveal, a vehicle that began
production this week — and watch as Ford and the rest of the
100-year-old car business try to respond.
And so it begins …
On a balmy March evening in Los Angeles, just three months before
the most advanced Ford race car ever built would take to the
Circuit de la Sarthe in France, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk took
to a stage at his electric-car start-up’s design center, just a
few miles south of Hollywood and the American cinematic dream
Musk was there to pull the cover off a dream that had nothing to
do with movie magic. Instead, he sauntered onstage dressed
entirely in black and, after some awkward jokes, made a few
comments about the impending catastrophe of global warming—one of
the multi-billionaire’s overriding personal preoccupations and
the reason he bought into Tesla in 2004 after making $180 million
when eBay acquired PayPal, the electronic payments service he had
cofounded. He then proceeded to preside over the rollout of
Tesla’s much-anticipated Model 3, a mass-market electric vehicle
that would sell for $35,000 when it hit Tesla’s showrooms in
Tesla was already selling a pair of game-changing cars: the Model
S sedan, which in its most advanced configuration, equipped with
the “Ludicrous” acceleration mode, could scorch a zero-to-sixty
run in less than three seconds, outrunning supercars from Ferrari
and Lamborghini; and the Model X SUV, with its exotic,
up-swinging “falcon wing” doors and “bioweapon defense mode”
air-filtration system. But these long-range electric vehicles
(EVs) sold for $100,000 and up, to a well-heeled elite, including
Silicon Valley venture capitalists and titans of finance.
Model 3 arrives.AP Photo/Justin
That certainly created useful cash flow for Tesla (if not
profits), but it didn’t suit Musk’s grand vision, which was to
accelerate humanity’s transition from the era of fossil fuels—an
era that had filled the atmosphere with carbon, disrupting
weather patterns, and making the planet hotter. In early December
2015, Musk gave a speech at the Sorbonne in Paris, in connection
with the United Nations Climate Summit, in which he called
governments’ reluctance to tax the generation of atmospheric
carbon the “dumbest science experiment in history” and “madness.”
He went on to call for a global carbon tax, as he had done
several times before.
No chief executive of a traditional automaker would even consider
giving a speech like the one Musk delivered, although several
have raised the suggestion that car companies—as producers of a
technology that alongside burning coal to generate electricity
contributes much of the carbon in the atmosphere—should be part
of the sweeping solution.
The multi-trillion-dollar global auto industry has found itself
smack at the center of what can’t be responsibly characterized
anymore as a debate. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the
majority of car executives aren’t global-warming deniers, there
are more than a billion vehicles on the roads worldwide, and
automakers continue to build millions of new cars and trucks
every year. If they stop, or attempt to radically convert to
manufacturing vast fleets of Tesla-like vehicles, they’ll rapidly
They are, however, not stupid. Gasoline is simply the most
convenient fuel for their products currently. Almost without
exception, the world’s car companies are trying to move in a
Teslaesque direction, if haltingly and on a rather small scale at
Elon Musk and his vision of the future
Elon Musk had done what
the auto industry thought was impossible.TED
Musk bought into Tesla, eventually displacing cofounder Martin
Eberhard in an unpleasant management coup, specifically to attack
what he considers to be the biggest problem facing humanity. But
he didn’t want to be boring. He reasoned that a sexy, fast
electric car—such as the original Roadster Tesla soon
produced—would shake EVs free of their “glorified golf cart”
stigma and convince both buyers and investors to fund the demise
of the internal-combustion engine.
Tesla began selling stock to the public in 2010, at seventeen
dollars per share. A few years later, the Model S was launched;
Motor Trend would name it Car of the Year in 2013. Tesla had
endured numerous near-death experiences prior to the IPO,
including an episode in 2008 that brought the company just weeks
from bankruptcy. But once the Model S started selling, the
accolades began rolling in—the luxurious EV, with its brisk
acceleration, sharply minimalist looks, and huge central
dashboard touchscreen, was a hit with the automotive media. The
stock went, as they say on Wall Street, parabolic; in 2014, it
would flirt with $300 per share, ensuring early investors a
return of around 1,200 percent.
The financials would pitch and yaw wildly over the next two
years, as investors tried to figure out when, if ever, the
carmaker would make money and whether its innovations, including
an astonishing self-driving autopilot feature, would completely
disrupt an auto industry that had been selling largely
gas-burning cars, and lots of them, for over a century.
But on that early evening in March, Musk was a conquering hero, a
South Africa–born heir apparent to Henry Ford and the late Apple
founder and CEO Steve Jobs. Musk’s other company, SpaceX, was
taking care of another scope of his vision, the effort to make
humans a “multi-planetary” species with a colony on Mars, the
planet to which Musk said he would retire.
It is easy to understand why Musk, then forty-four, was a model
for Robert Downey Jr.’s character Tony Stark in the “Iron Man”
movies. He did cars. He did rockets. He even did solar energy in
his role as the chairman of SolarCity, a company started by his
cousins. (And acquired by Tesla in 2016 for $2.1 billion.) He was
the superstar entrepreneur of Silicon Valley. Musk attacked huge
problems head-on, like a technologist of old. And he was aware of
just how quixotic his ambitions were. Starting a car company, he
would say, is idiotic, and an electric-car company is idiocy
An unprecedented number of preorders for the Model 3
The Model 3 quickly racked up almost 400,000
What got Detroit’s attention that night wasn’t the Model 3
itself; the car had been much discussed for several years, and
everyone knew what to expect in a smaller, less expensive Tesla.
Rather, the star of the show was the preorder counter, displayed
behind a bright red Model 3 on a huge screen on the stage.
Analysts had expected something like 150,000 Model 3s to be
reserved, each with a $1,000 refundable deposit. By the time I
took a photo of the counter at the event, it had crossed 174,000.
In a month, 373,000 reservations would be logged, creating the
potential for $13 billion to flow into Tesla’s needy coffers,
assuming a relatively conservative average price of $35,000 for
each sale. Who knows how many of those reservations will
ultimately turn into sales? Even if only a quarter or a half of
them do, it is still an impressive number and a testament to the
“So, do you want to see the car?” Musk winkingly asked, before
giving three preproduction versions of the car the stage.
A better question—and one that he would ask as the preorders
surged—was, “How many of these cars can we actually build?”
The traditional auto industry is secretly obsessed with Tesla
(and not-so-secretly obsessed in the first six months of 2017,
when Tesla’s market capitalization surged past $50 billion,
topping Ford, GM, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles — the Big Three
had become the Big Four). Not since Preston Tucker, an innovator
of the 1950s whose own quixotic life was chronicled in Francis
Ford Coppola’s 1988 film “Tucker: The Man and His Dream,” had
anyone so thoroughly captivated the iconic world of the American
The CEOs of major auto companies tend to be either hard-charging,
sharp-elbowed “car guys” or technocratic bean counters.
Occasionally a major change agent such as Alan Mulally will come
along, but many chief executives got to the big chair after
decades of loyal service.
After Mark Fields got the CEO job at Ford in 2014, he freely
admitted that the company had bought a Tesla Model S, taken it
apart, and put it back together again. He later said the company
would do likewise with the Model X SUV.
But even by the secretive standards of Tesla fascination, the
Model 3 preorder palooza was earth-shattering. From Dearborn to
Toyota City, the automakers just couldn’t believe it. The
astounding number of deposits showed the intense desire to join
the club that the brand represented. The only meaningful
comparison to draw was with Apple. In the auto industry, you
could say that Ferrari held a similar mystique, but Ferrari
didn’t have the ambition to dethrone the gas-burning engine or
sell half a million cars a year. Tesla did, and it was sort of
appalling to mainstream auto executives.
Traditional automakers work desperately hard to capture and
retain customers, spending billions to convince them to stick
with certain brands and to advance through vehicle hierarchies,
from inexpensive mass-market cars to pricey luxury rides. What
was astonishing about Tesla’s Model 3 launch was that hundreds of
thousands of buyers were happy to give Tesla an open-ended,
no-interest cash loan, with no meaningful guarantee beyond Musk’s
word that the cars would arrive on time.
Musk’s promises had a poor track record. Both the Model S and the
Model X had suffered from production delays and early
quality-control problems. In fact, Musk admitted that Tesla had
been guilty of “hubris” in designing and engineering the Model X,
which had many complicated features that slowed the assembly
line. The doors had to be completely redesigned at the eleventh
hour. The second-row seats turned out to be so complicated that
Tesla would eventually take the supplier off the job and engineer
this component itself.
Later, quality-control glitches would appear. The entire Model S
fleet was voluntarily recalled in December 2015 because a
seat-belt assembly could fail. The initial production run of the
Model X, several thousand vehicles, would also be recalled
because the third-row seats could pitch forward in a crash.
Much earlier, there had been battery fires with the Model S, and
Tesla had been compelled to design a shielding system for the
bottom of the car to prevent punctures of the battery pack.
Tesla’s advanced electronics and software, while game changing in
many respects, were buggy in the way that Silicon Valley code
typically is (the ritual is to release the software and fix it
later). In an annual dependability survey by J. D. Power and
Associates conducted in 2016, Tesla owners reported so many
problems that Tesla finished in the bottom five, undercutting the
narrative that its vehicles were redefining the ownership
experience with rapid software updates.
Even though Musk admitted that the Model X SUV was so advanced
that Tesla “probably shouldn’t have built it,” his boundless
gumption still captivated the industry.
Musk calls his own shots
at the launch of the Model Z SUV.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
In the traditional auto industry, Musk had only one prominent
naysayer, former GM product guru Bob Lutz, who had worked for BMW
and for Chrysler under Lee Iacocca before coming to GM and
straddling the pre- and post-bankruptcy companies. I talked to
Lutz about Tesla on several occasions between 2014 and 2016—once
at the Detroit auto show in January 2016, when he was preparing
to reveal a new American-made supercar venture with onetime Tesla
competitor Henrik Fisker—and he was always unflinchingly equal in
his praise for Tesla’s cars and his disdain for Musk’s management
of the company.
Lutz’s attitudes toward global warming were controversial. While
not exactly a climate-science denier, he was skeptical that
taking internal-combustion engines off the road and replacing
them with more expensive and less versatile electric cars was a
solution. But that wasn’t what shaped his negative views of
Tesla— he actually didn’t think that Tesla was doing a very good
job of running its business. In a sense, he and Musk were on the
same page: the cars were simply too difficult to build.
But with Ford’s and GM’s stock prices languishing, even as both
carmakers notched steady and impressive profits through 2014 and
2015, executives grumbled about how easy it was for Musk to sell
additional Tesla stock, which the carmaker did in both 2015 and
2016, raising almost $2 billion in the process. And even though
Detroit had been sweepingly reinvented by the financial crisis,
the familiar infighting and territorialism that have always
defined the auto industry hadn’t disappeared.
In the 1980s, Detroit had endured the Japanese arrival in force
in the U.S. market. The Big Three had been forced to adapt, to
become more efficient, and to see their companies as large
manufacturing and management teams, “flat structure”
organizations, where the lowliest assembly-line worker had the
power to stop production if he spotted a problem.
Sure, Toyota and Honda continued to be extremely hierarchical, in
the Japanese business tradition. But when it came to actually
building cars, the “relentless pursuit of perfection,” to borrow
a famous tagline from Toyota’s Lexus luxury brand, was a mandate
that Detroit had to accept. Unsurprisingly, customers preferred
cars that always started, didn’t rust out in a matter of years,
and could be passed down from generation to generation, Dad’s
Honda Accord becoming Junior’s college car.
Musk was a different animal—a leader who called, seemingly, all
his own shots. He was initially ridiculed when he appointed
himself as Tesla’s product architect, while at the same time
having an experienced designer, Franz von Holzhausen, from Mazda,
for the real aesthetic work, and JB Straubel overseeing how the
cars were engineered at the nuts-and-bolts level. But then the
Model S arrived, and with it dropped jaws and widespread media
Musk didn’t have to fight through a bureaucracy—he was the
bureaucracy, and at Tesla, bureaucracy was the enemy. So if Musk
wanted to ignore structure, he just did. He had a hardworking
communications team, but if he had something to say, he took to
Twitter, often at odd hours and on weekends, sending reporters
scrambling. He had hardworking engineers, but if he wanted to
make a change to a Tesla vehicle, he made it.
In Tesla’s required financial filings with the Securities and
Exchange Commission, the company never failed to cite the
so-called “great man” risk: without Musk, Tesla would be in big
trouble. The CEOs of big car companies think they have power, and
they do. But Musk had power of a different order, as well as lots
Ford’s fights to keep up
A sagging stock price and
Silicon Valley’s disruption would cost Ford CEO Mark Fields his
job in 2017.Ford
By the time Ford was turning practice laps at Le Mans in early
June 2016, Musk was running a company that was a decade old. And
he was under as much pressure to innovate as everyone else in the
industry. Ironically, Ford was probably better prepared to manage
the transformation in mobility that Tesla was helping to usher
In the face of a massive disruption to the accepted way of doing
business, scale can be an invaluable asset. At base, Musk’s
company was all about demonstrating that there was a paying
buyership for its type of vehicle, reversing the thinking that
had followed the demise of GM’s EV1 project from the 1990s, which
had brought the first mass-produced electric car to market, but
only in a limited way, via leasing.
When GM decided to conclude the program and crush all the EV1s,
save a few historical examples, it was widely assumed that
electric cars were once again going to be at best a sideline of
the auto industry. (GM’s decision inspired the film “Who Killed
the Electric Car?” which alleged that the carmaker had acted more
to preserve itself from an electric revolution than to dispense
with a money-losing experiment.)
Ford’s angle on transportation in the twenty-first century was
the preoccupation of Bill Ford, who, once Alan Mulally took over
as CEO, could concentrate on delivering a deeply counterintuitive
message: that the company we credit with creating the mass-market
automobile wanted to curtail its dependence on four wheels and an
engine in the future.
The idea was really quite logical. Ford would become a mobility
provider. If you needed to own a car, Ford would build one, and
Ford dealers would sell it to you—and Ford would lend you the
money to buy it. But if you didn’t want to own a car, Ford would
provide you with transportation. And if you wanted any aspect of
your mobility experience to be more pleasant or efficient, Ford
would create—or partner with other companies to create—the
information corridors to make that happen.
Ford began to tackle this process in earnest around 2010, and
Fields made it a prominent part of his leadership pitch once he
became CEO. It was a good fit. Fields had always been a
forward-looking leader. (But not forward-looking enough; he would
be ousted by Ford’s board of directors in May of 2017, as the
carmaker’s stock price lagged. His replacement, former Steelcase
CEO Jim Hackett, was a close confidant of Bill Ford and would
undertake the major change in Ford’s story.)
Scale can be a strength when a company is being actively
disrupted, but the classic theory on the subject—articulated by
Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen in his seminal book
“The Innovator’s Dilemma”—says that size can protect for only so
long. And that’s because new entrants can innovate much more
rapidly than incumbents, even if the established business is
itself actively trying to innovate.
The core problem—an advantage, actually, for smaller, newer
companies—is that the very things that insulate the established
player prevent it from moving fast enough. The critical sticking
point is failure. Big companies can afford to fail, but they
can’t undertake the failure process rapidly enough. And unless
their businesses don’t require much cash for research and
development, as is the case with software-driven internet firms,
they can’t afford to invest in hundreds of over-the-horizon
For one thing, there’s a disincentive for companies that already
have scale to do small stuff; it’s more cost-effective for them
to simply buy up smaller companies. And for another, they can be
undermined by competitive threats that are enabled by the newest
Silicon Valley wants to eat Detroit’s lunch
Uber was just as
terrifying to Detroit at Tesla. CEO Travis Kalanick created a
company valued at over $60 billion.REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
It’s this second threat that was generating the biggest risks for
Ford and its rivals in 2016.
The ride-sharing service Uber, founded in 2009, came on the scene
with a brash, sharp-elbowed CEO named Travis Kalanick aiming to
eliminate the taxi business in big cities.
By the time the Ford GT race cars were getting their first taste
of the Circuit de la Sarthe, Uber was valued at a staggering $65
billion and had just taken a $3.5 billion investment from Saudi
Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, as the oil-rich nation sought to
diversify beyond the natural resource that had transformed it
into one of the world’s most influential and richest countries.
(Tesla staged an impressive debit of self-driving technology in
Pittsburgh in 2016, but in 2017, the company slid into crisis as
workplace-culture issues dogged the startup and Kalanick was
caught on video arguing with an Uber driver; the CEO later
apologized, admitting that he need help overcoming the drawbacks
his harsh style.)
Tesla shook up the traditional carmakers. But they could still
figure out what Tesla was: an automaker with some high-tech
credibility and electric motors, plus a charismatic leader. Uber
was much harder to figure out. Pundits began to argue that with
Uber, nobody—except for Uber drivers—would ever need to own a car
again. And as self-driving cars accelerated their development,
the drivers started to drop out of the picture. The future would
consist of autonomous vehicles, owned as large fleets, appearing
and disappearing as needed, dispatched by software.
Design, horsepower, speed, the automobile as an icon of freedom—
that would all be relegated to the misty past, like stagecoaches
and Conestoga wagons. All that would matter is that your
pod-mobile appeared when summoned and that it moved you from
point A to point B.
Tesla challenged the stock
prices of its Detroit rivals.Andy
Automakers were far from sure that this—for them—dystopian future
would come to pass, but they were determined to avoid a slide
into irrelevance. GM began to move very aggressively in 2015 and
2016, investing $500 million in Uber’s competitor Lyft, buying up
the assets of a mobility start-up called Sidecar, which had gone
bankrupt, and most dramatically, buying an obscure self-driving
outfit, Cruise Automation, for nearly $1 billion. By the end of
2016, Cruise’s self-driving technology would come to market under
the GM banner, as the automaker began selling its Bolt EV,
beating Tesla’s Model 3 by at least a year.
But Ford wasn’t hanging back. It created a small fleet of
self-driving cars to perfect the technology, which by 2016 was
mainly capable of letting drivers take their hands off the
steering wheel for freeway driving, as long as they continued to
monitor their vehicles. It was widely expected, however, that
over the next decade, higher levels of autonomy would be rolled
out, leading ultimately to the end of drivers behind the wheel.
The traditional auto industry is, in fact, pretty good at
assessing risks. And the broadly held notion that it just wants
to stick to the same old, same old, year after year, is simply
false. The industry is far too competitive for anyone to avoid
innovation; the carmakers that struggle to sell cars are the ones
that are forced to starve their research-and-development budgets
for too long.
The internal-combustion engine, introduced in the nineteenth
century, had been perfected by the early twenty-first, through a
process of continuous innovation undertaken by the global auto
industry (the gazillion patents related to the
internal-combustion engine were one of the reasons that critics
often accused the industry of stalling on change).
In fact, a few start-ups in the early 2000s and 2010s were even
trying to push the internal-combustion engine to breakthrough
levels. A company called Transonic Combustion, which failed
because it couldn’t make its technology adequately reliable,
developed a fuel-injection system that upgraded gas-burning
efficiency to unheard-of levels, with engines delivering 100
miles per gallon.
By early 2016, Ford felt awfully good about where it stood, in
terms of preserving itself and embracing the future. The company
even had an in-house futurist on staff, and had since before the
financial crisis, to spot important trends before they became
existential threats—or massive missed opportunities.
But as someone who had covered the company for a decade, and who
had a front-row seat for everything happening in Silicon Valley
thanks to my job at Business Insider, a website that obsessively
monitors, analyzes, and reports on technology, I could tell that
the pace of change and the multiplication of risk were picking up
Ford had the right overarching idea, as expressed by Bill Ford.
It had the right messages, as expressed by Mark Fields (and
later, by Jim Hackett). And it had the right people: designers,
engineers, and managers who were technologists at heart. Ford
even set up shop in Silicon Valley, to be closer to the action.
But this was a global enterprise that employed tens of
thousands—and that had to keep its core business cranking. That
meant building a million F-150 pickup trucks every year, no small
task. Even if 100 percent of the company knew that enormous
disruptions were afoot, at best only 10 to 20 percent of the
company could focus on Ford disrupting itself.
Detroit tries to disrupt itself
GM beat the Model 3 to market by a full year with the
all-electric Chevy Bolt.Hollis
The scrappy companies that were undertaking the disruption, of
course, could go all out on the effort. For them, there was no
point in striving to survive—the only acceptable outcome was to
make it big, to hit the jackpot, or to vanish completely.
In late 2015, I went to Detroit to interview GM CEO Mary Barra.
The first woman to lead a major automaker, Barra said all the
right things about how the 100-plus-year-old carmaker, and by
association the industry that it was part of, would ride out all
the new threats.
At GM headquarters in the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit,
sitting in Barra’s large and gracefully appointed but far from
ostentatious office, I listened as she accepted the deluge of
risk that was sweeping through the industry. Barra had spent her
entire life at GM—her father had worked there, and GM was the
only place she had ever worked.
“I can’t tell you what technology is going to exist in five
years,” she said. “All I can tell you is that if we sit here five
years from today, it will be something that’s dramatically
impacted the industry that we can’t even name right now.”
I thought I was being lightly irreverent when I said to Barra
that I hoped we could make a date to talk again then. But
although she was amused, she wasn’t prepared to make light of
what she was up against.
“We’re going to disrupt ourselves, and we are disrupting
ourselves,” she said, her voice unwavering after a nearly
hourlong interview. “So we’re not trying to preserve a model of
Ford’s Mark Fields unhesitatingly echoed Barra’s message. He came
to Business Insider in March 2016, right before the New York auto
show, and in an interview came right out with it. “There’s a lot
of talk around technology companies disrupting the auto
industry,” he said. “Our approach is very simple: we’re
disrupting ourselves.” Before the year had ended, he would pledge
Ford to get a fully self-driving car on the road by 2021.
To have the CEOs of the two largest U.S. automakers saying
exactly the same thing within months of each other might sound
like groupthink, but it isn’t. The auto industry has been unique
not just in declaring a self-disruption and getting out ahead of
the curve rhetorically, but in enacting that disruption as
enthusiastically as possible, embedding a positive attitude
toward new technology in everything it does.
For example, when Fields presided over the reveal of the new GT
in early 2015, he stressed how advanced the supercar was—and that
it was technology joined to emotion and history. Disruptive
technologies made the new GT possible.
Don’t forget the allure of an amazing car
The Ford GT was the
pinnacle of the carmaker’s technology.Ford
And for what it’s worth, the GT is the pinnacle of Ford’s
automotive technology. It is designed to go fast in the straight
line and through the corners; crafted almost entirely from carbon
fiber, the most advanced material in the carmaker’s manufacturing
playbook; and powered by one of the most sophisticated engines
Ford has ever built, the race-proven, turbocharged EcoBoost V-6.
Styled to turn heads, on the street and on the track, it as an
emblem, a new icon. Its reveal provided stirring evidence that
Ford was back, and better than ever.
But it was also the culmination of a century of one type of
thinking about cars. The GT was glorious. But all around it, the
idea of a person in a machine going fast—the idea that was the
animating spirit of the multi-trillion-dollar global auto
industry—was being discarded.
In August 2016, Fields announced that Ford would have a small
fleet of fully autonomous vehicles on the road by 2021,
leapfrogging the more incremental approach to self-driving
technology that Tesla and others were embracing. Both the
established automakers and the newest of the new entrants
anticipated that the driver would exit the stage in the future;
at around the same time that Fields made his announcement, Uber
rolled out its own driverless test fleet in Pittsburgh.
At one point, a year before the GT hit the floor at the 2015
Detroit auto show, I went on a drive with a company that offered
seat time in some of the world’s most exotic and exciting cars. I
sampled a Lamborghini, a Porsche, a Ferrari, a Maserati, an Aston
Martin, and a Mercedes. My partner for the event was a former
Ferrari owner, a young guy who knew and loved high-performance
cars. We stopped several times during the day to switch vehicles.
At around noon, the gorgeous machines were all lined up in the
parking lot of a grocery store in the New Jersey suburbs. My
partner had made money when a tech company he was part of was
sold. He understood how fast things could change in the new
“Look,” he said, gesturing toward the supercars, a few million
bucks in the best the auto industry had to offer. “We aren’t
going to see that for much longer.”
Was he right? I wasn’t sure, even though I knew he was without
question onto something. Everyone who built and sold cars for a
living was trying to figure out what that something would mean.
But for twenty-four hours in June 2016, we were going to forget
all about disruptions and electric cars and self-driving vehicles
and the twilight of the supercars. The best racing teams in the
world were headed for a showdown at the toughest race in the
world, and I knew I wasn’t the only one still excited by the
raging machines, at an almost primordial level.
Read more about “Return to Glory” at matthewdebord.com.
Buy the book at
Get the latest Ford stock pricehere.
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