I have transcribed all of my favorite lines from the film below:
Carroll Shelby: There’s a point at 7,000 RPM where everything fades. The machine becomes weightless, just disappears. And all that’s left is a body moving through space and time. 7,000 RPM, that’s where you meet it. It asks you a question, the only question that matters. ‘Who are you?’
Ken Miles: Nothing wrong with the car, it’s the way it’s being driven.
Customer: The way it’s being driven?
Ken Miles: Too much fuel, not enough spark. That’s what’s making her misfire.
Customer: You wanna run that by me in English?
Ken Miles: All right, sir. So, that there is a sport car. You have to drive her like a sport car. If you drive her like a school teacher, she’ll clog up. All right? Try changing up at 5,000 RPM, not two. Drive like you mean it. Hard and tight. She’ll run clean.
Customer: Are you telling me I don’t know how to drive my own car?
Ken Miles: No. But if you ask me, this isn’t your car. Your car’s more of a Plymouth or a Studebaker.
Henry Ford II: Hear that? That’s the sound of the Ford Motor Company out of business. In 1899, my grandfather, Henry, by God, Ford was walking home from Edison Illumination after working a double shift. He was ruminating. That morning he had himself an idea that changed the world. Sixty-five years and 47 million automobiles later, what shall be his legacy? Getting it in the tail pipe from a Chevy Impala. Here’s what I want you to do. Walk home. While you’re walking, I want you to ruminate. Man comes to my office with an idea, that man keeps his job. The rest of you second-best losers, stay home. You don’t belong at Ford.
Carroll Shelby: Do you know who that was I was just talking to?
Ken Miles: Bill.
Carroll Shelby: Before that.
Ken Miles: No.
Carroll Shelby: It was Dieter Voss.
Ken Miles: Who’s that?
Carroll Shelby: He runs Porsche, Ken. It’s a little German car company. Maybe ya heard of it.
Ken Miles: All right.
Carroll Shelby: He wanted you to drive at Sebring, but he’d heard you were difficult.
Ken Miles: I thought we felt the same way about, uh, Germans.
Carroll Shelby: Do you like losing, Ken?
Ken Miles: Excuse me.
Carroll Shelby: Oh, you heard me.
Ken Miles: I don’t lose.
Carroll Shelby: Without sponsors, you get no car, Ken. And the last I checked, the professionals all have a car.
Ken Miles: Shel!
Carroll Shelby: You cannot win the SCCA without one. If you’re not winning, you are losing.
Lee Iacocca: In 1945, our soldiers came home. What was the first thing they did? They had sex. Seventeen years later, those babies, they’ve grown and they’ve got jobs. They’ve got licenses, but they do not wanna drive the same dull 50s cars their parents drove. You see, kids today, they want glamour. They want sex appeal. They want to go fast. Gentlemen, it’s time for the Ford Motor Company to go racing.
Henry Ford II: We’re already in racing, Iacocca.
Lee Iacocca: NASCAR? It’s, it’s regional, sir. If you go to the movies, you open up a magazine, you don’t see good ‘ol boys and Winston-Salem. You see, uh, Sophia Loren, Monica Vitti. James Bond does not drive a Ford, sir.
Henry Ford II: That’s because he’s a degenerate.
Leo Beebe: Lee, in the last three years, you and your marketing team have presided over the worst sales slump in the US history. Why exactly should Mr. Ford listen to you?
Lee Iacocca: Because we’ve been thinking wrong. Ferrari. Now, they have won four out of the last five Le Mans. We need to think like Ferrari.
Henry Ford II: Ferrari makes fewer cars in a year than we can make in a day. We spend more on toilet paper than they do their entire output. You want us to to think like them?
Lee Iacocca: Enzo Ferrari will go down in history as the greatest car manufacturer of all time. Why? Is it because he built the most cars? No. It’s because of what his cars mean. Victory. Ferrari wins at Le Mans. People, they, they want some of that victory. What if the Ford badge meant victory? And meant it where it counts, with the first group of seventeen year-olds in history with money in their pockets?
Leo Beebe: This would take years, decades to test and develop a race team capable of taking out Ferrari.
Lee Iacocca: Ferrari’s bankrupt. Enzo has spent every lira he’s got chasing perfection, and you know something? He got there. But now he’s broke.
Lee Iacocca: I’m here on behalf of Mr. Ford, Henry Ford II. Suppose, um, hypothetically, that he wanted his company to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. You’re one of the only Americans that’s ever done it, so I’m wondering what’s it take?
Carroll Shelby: Hypothetically?
Lee Iacocca: Hypothetically.
Carroll Shelby: It takes something money can’t buy.
Lee Iacocca: Money can buy speed.
Carroll Shelby: But it isn’t about speed, Lee. It’s not just like those other tracks where all you do is turn to the left for four hours. To win that race, you need a car that’s light enough to do 200 on the straightaways but strong enough to keep that up for 3,000 miles without a break. Not just the best car y’all have ever made, but better than anything that Enzo Ferrari shows up with that year. And that just gets you to the green flag. That’s where your problems really start.
Lee Iacocca: So you’re saying it’s challenging.
Carroll Shelby: Look, it’s not even a track, Lee. Le Mans is eight and a half miles of country road. It’s narrow, ungraded, it’s rough. There’s no camber on the turns, no rails. You gotta do that for twenty-four hours. Twenty-four hours, Lee. That means night. Half that race is in the dark. You can’t see shit. Cars coming up on you out of nowhere. Drivers stumbling around the track, pouring blood. Maybe one of em’s your friend. Maybe, maybe he’s on fire. You’re exhausted, you’re hungry, can’t remember your name, what country you’re in. And all of a sudden you realize you’re doing 198 on a straight. And if anything goes wrong, you blow a gasket, a five-cemt washer, that’s it, whole thing’s over. Ferrari wins again. Just like he won last year and the year before that and the year before that. Yeah, it’s challenging.
Lee Iacocca: So you don’t think that Ford Motor Company can build the greatest race car the world’s ever seen? You think that we are incapable of winning an event like that? Even if we had a brilliant partner? Even if we wrote a, uh, blank check?
Carroll Shelby: What I’m saying is, you can’t buy a win, Lee. But maybe you can buy the guy who gets you a shot.
Carroll Shelby: Well?
Ken Miles: It’s awful.
Carroll Shelby: It’s worse than awful.
Ken Miles: Yeah, it doesn’t track. You know, the third gear is too high. The torque is not reaching the road. The steering’s loose because the front end gets light. And over a 140, it thinks it’s a…
Carroll Shelby: Airplane.
Ken Miles: Yeah. It wants to lift off and fly to Hawaii.
Carroll Shelby: Anything else?
Ken Miles: One sec.
Carroll Shelby: All due respect, sir, you can’t win a race by committee. You need one man in charge. Now, the good news, as I see it, is that even with all the extra weight, we still managed to put old Mr. Ferrari exactly where we want him.
Henry Ford II: Did we?
Carroll Shelby: Oh, yes.
Henry Ford II: Expand.
Carroll Shelby: Well, sure we hadn’t…we haven’t worked out how to corner yet. Or stay cool. Or stay on the ground. And a lot of stuff broke. In fact, the only thing that didn’t break was the brakes. Hell, right now, we don’t even know if our paint job will last the whole twenty-four hours. But our last lap, we clocked 218 miles per hour down the Mulsanne Straight. Now, in all his years of racing, old Enzo ain’t never seen anything move that fast. And now he knows without a doubt, we’re faster than he is…even with the wrong driver and all the committees. And that’s what he’s thinking about while he’s sitting in Modena, Italy right now. That man is scared to death that this year you actually might be smart enough to start trusting me. So, yeah, I’d say you got Ferrari exactly where you want him. You’re welcome.
Peter Miles: Yeah, ’cause you can’t just push the car hard the whole way, right?
Ken Miles: That’s right. You have to be kind to the car. You feel the poor thing groaning underneath you. If you’re going to push a piece of machinery to the limit, and expect it to hold together, you have to have some sense of where that limit is. Look out there. Out there is the perfect lap. No mistakes. Every gear change, every corner, perfect. You see it?
Peter Miles: I think so.
Ken Miles: Most people can’t. Most people don’t even know it’s out there, but it is. It’s there.