Over five decades ago, long before Elon Musk was a household name, the rivalry between two car industry titans dominated headlines across the globe. Italian Enzo Ferrari’s cars epitomized style and dominated the European racing scene. Meanwhile, across the ocean, Henry Ford II was struggling. He had inherited his grandfather’s company – once the car king – and it was faltering. Henry Ford II knew he had to do something drastic to save his family legacy and enlisted the help of a young visionary named Lee Iacocca and several others to create a race car that could beat Ferrari at his own game while simultaneously reinventing and reestablishing the Ford Motor Company as the industry leader. As automotive expert and journalist A.J. Baime writes in his bestselling book, Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans, what happened next is the stuff of legends.
Hear from A.J. Baime as he shared his perspective on the infamous rivalry between Ferrari and Ford and how it transformed an entire industry. Hear the fascinating story of how Ford ultimately prevailed over Ferrari and how that triumph reinvented not only the Ford Motor Company but the entire automotive industry. He also talked about how competition in any industry can inspire innovation and how we can all harness a similar spirit in our own organizations. The conversation ends exploring what the future of the automotive industry looks like as we enter into the most pivotal technological upheaval in the history of car making – an electric automotive revolution. Moderating the conversation is Consultant, Ambassador & Former President of RPM Foundation Diane Fitzgerald.
About A.J. Baime
A.J. Baime is the New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months that Changed the World, Dewey Defeats Truman: The 1948 Election and the Battle for America’s Soul, Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans, and The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War. All but one of those books has been optioned for film or television. Baime has been a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal since 2010, writing mostly on car culture and motor racing, and he currently lives in Northern California.
A.J. Baime (born July 24, 1971) is an American author, journalist, and public speaker. He is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, and he is best known for his books The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months that Changed the World (2017), Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans (2009) and The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War (2014).
About Diane Fitzgerald
Diane Fitzgerald’s background with cars, motorcycles, not-for-profits and small businesses is extensive. It is only exceeded by her passion for the car culture…well, vehicle culture because that includes motorcycles and scooters.
Touring, buying & selling, collecting, restoring and driving are all part of that passion. Mentoring is, too. Along the way, opportunities to work in the collector car industry were too good to pass up!
Diane is an avid microcar and motorcycle enthusiast and has travelled the world by two-, three- and four-wheels, often to exotic places like Vietnam, Brazil, Ethiopia, Thailand, Botswana, Japan, Turkey, Bhutan and India. In between her active hobbyism, Diane used her two Visual Arts degrees and one MBA to build her world that blended the experiences of corporate, small business and not-for profits. Fruit of the Loom, Andersen Consulting, Lotus Tours, The Habitat Company and Marwen Foundation each provided lots of experience in new business development, project management, marketing & communications, operations and fundraising. Almost 20 years on the Boards of car museums and car clubs fueled her passion for the hobby.
As president of Lotus Tours, an international motorcycle touring company owned and operated by Diane and her husband Burt Richmond, she managed the operations & logistics side of the business with a Chicago-based team. Their Milan, Italy garage stored their fleet and staged the beginning point of their European tours. When she wasn’t planning tours in the United States and Central America, she was leading groups on Ducatis and Hondas in The Alps, Tuscany, Corsica & Sardinia, The Pyrenees of Spain & France and on special C-level motorcycle tours in the United States.
Notably, Diane Fitzgerald was the president of the RPM Foundation for many years, an entity of America’s Automotive Trust. The RPM Foundation is a services providing, resource sharing, grant-giving organization that accelerates the growth of the next generation of automotive Restoration and Preservation craftsmen through formal training and Mentorship.
So, what’s in the garage? Their collection is mostly vintage microcars and motorcycles and numbers about 39, although that’s defied with a 1949 MG TC, 1953 Studebaker, 1964 Corvair and 1974 BMW. Just added to the collection is a 1992 Mazda Miata that is giving the BMW a lot of weekend-driving competition.
Diane & Burt live in a landmark home in historic Old Town Chicago, which they fully renovated to its 1882 glory. It is one of the several commercial and residential historic restoration projects they have tackled over the years. Heritage is in their blood.