Historic wins like Ford dominating the podium at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans dont come easily. Things go wrong. Like a last-minute leak in the engine and a trip to a bait store for trout fishing line to fix it in time to make history. The release of the movie Ford v Ferrari next week has lots of people Googling the famous 1966 Le Mans race where Ford finished 1-2-3, boxing out Ferrari. Neither Google nor watching the film will net all the behind-the-scenes or little-known stories behind the win ( read the MotorTrend movie review here ). But a trip to Fords archives in Dearborn offers a treasure trove of historic documents of a momentous time in the companys history. And a chat with an engineer who worked on the engine and was in the pit June 18-19, 1966, adds more layers to the story. Ford was not directly involved in the making of the movie but provided photos to help Hollywood understand the history for the story line, said Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports. --> The actual car from 1966 will be on display later this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The replica of the black #2 Ford GT used in the movie was on display for us in the archives building. Owner William Deary of the Carroll Collection in Jackson, Michigan, said filmmakers put about 500 miles on his car. Also on display: the 2017 GT that won Le Mans in 2016, and the freshly retired GT #67 that ran its last IMSA race at Road Atlanta last month. The broad strokes behind the race are known, but history came to life looking at the original letter, dated May 18, 1963, that said the deal for Ford to buy Ferrari was set to close July 15. There is a PS that a Ferrari employee had arrived from Italy with extensive comments from Enzo Ferrari, but their significance would have to wait until they could be translated from Italian. Then the PPS that says Enzos concerns would increase the cost but not prohibitively. More on the Ford vs. Ferrari rivalry that inspired the Ford v Ferrari movie: How did they create the racing action for the movie ? Then we read the telegram dated May 22, 1963: the deal was off. Negotiations were suspended. At issue: Enzo realized the deal included the purchase of Scuderia Ferrari, the racing program that had won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1958 and from 1960-1965. That kind of pride was not for sale.Over at Ford, resolve set in. Henry Ford II was determined to beat Ferrari and brought in Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles to lead the effort. Among the artifacts on display: a letter dated July 21, 1965, outlining a restructuring of the team and telling them to put the greatest possible pressure against our 1966 race objectives. There are also original contracts from Shelby American to pay drivers Dan Gurney, Bruce McLaren , and Chris Amon $1,000 each to test and race cars in February and March, leading up to Le Mans. Mose Nowland was an engineer who worked on the 427 engine and was in the pits. He came on board when Shelby entered the picture and the decision was made to stop using Fords small block engineit couldnt handle an endurance race. The choice was the big-block 7.0-liter V-8 used for NASCAR. Nowland was part of the team that modified the 427 engine with a dry sump and detuned the engine to make it easier on the other parts of the car and thus more durable. It went from almost 500 horsepower to 385 hp. There was no strain at that speed, Nowland said. Read our extensive interview with Jim Mangold, the director of Ford v Ferrari . The team inadvertently invented the chassis dynamometer when they took two dynos and did a 24-hour test. Then the engine was taken apart, inspected, rebuilt with new gaskets and other wear parts, and run for another 24 hours. But things happen. During development, Holman & Moody (the NASCAR racing team brought in to help along with Shelby American) testing found that oil from the cylinder heads was leaking on the hot manifolds. Nowlands team figured out that the cooper ring on was 12/100 th inches off the block, and created a gap. The WWII sealant used on British planes didnt work under the heat and pressure of the engine. We found if you take a string, but a very special piece of string and jammed it in there, you created a dam, said Nowland. Essentially the special string acted like a spine, holding the sealant in place. Shown above are photos of a 1966 Ford GT40 MkII As Le Mans neared, in the rush of race prep, the team ran out of the special string and substituted kite string. It didnt work and the two 427 engines started leaking as they were about to leave for France. A colleague of Nowlands, who was a fisherman, suggested the floating lines used for trout fishing might be the right consistency. Weve got two sick cars, one in Charlotte (Ford Performance home) and one in L.A. (Shelby home) and I was sent to fix them, Nowland said. In his haste, he forgot the fishing line so when he landed in Charlotte, he went to a tackle shop and bought the floating line he needed. He pulled the heads off the car and fixed it. Then he headed to California to Shelbys shop to fix the second car. He had not slept. He flew back to Detroit where his wife had his suitcase packed to head to Paris for the race. Nowland said he was convinced Ford would win the 1966 Le Mans. Being in the pits, he was about 300 yards from the finish line when the three cars blew by him toward the finish line, in the rain, in a dead heat. Many of the documents we saw at the Ford archives have never been shown to the public beforeand may not be again. From its safe place in a vault, archivists extracted the only known copy of the GT Program book that contained the initial design concepts for the GT40. We saw documents acknowledging failure again in 1965 while making the case for more money to win in 1966. Archivists also found one of the cards Bill Ford II gave team members on which he wrote on the back: You better win followed by his initials. So many photos! Click through our gallery for photos of an early Ford GT40 design study, plus Ford at Le Mans in 1964, 1965, and 1966. Nowland saw the film this summer at the Toronto film festival. He enjoyed it, but noted that it does not show all the hard work of the Ford team behind the win. And it takes license with the personalities at the heart of the film. I knew a lot of the people in the movie and they were calm and collected gentlemen who would never have done what was shown. But its a movie and its entertaining. And he loves the memories and pride that have resurfaced. Its been a highlight of my life, said the engineer who was 32 years old that day in the pits when Ford triumphed over Ferrari. The post Ford vs. Ferrari Backstory: How Fishing Line Helped Ford Win Le Mans in 1966 appeared first on MotorTrend .