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‘Ford v Ferrari’ made pit stops in Ontario, Fontana, Pomona for filming

Dec 21, 2019

By  | dallen@scng.com | Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
PUBLISHED:  | UPDATED: 

I recently enjoyed “Ford v Ferrari,” the true-life action drama about mavericks trying to build a Le Mans-worthy race car for Ford in the 1960s while fending off corporate interference. At one point, as a car was being tested on an airfield, mountains in the distance, I realized I was looking at an old portion of Ontario International Airport.

Local pride-wise, I felt I’d chosen wisely by seeing the movie in Ontario.

The airport is often the scene of filming for movies, TV and commercials. In this case, more of “Ford v Ferrari” was filmed at ONT than was obvious. In real life, the shop where Carroll Shelby developed his cars was at LAX, but those scenes were filmed at ONT’s old National Guard hangar.

I was allowed to visit Thursday. It’s by the control tower. The hangar is enormous, probably 60 feet tall, with two rolling doors nearly as tall. It’s where Shelby, played by Matt Damon, and his crew worked once Ford bankrolled development of a race car to beat Ferrari.

“The scenes where you see cars lined up and then an office, all that was constructed inside here,” airport security consultant Cedric Sampson told me as we walked across the concrete floor of the cavernous, empty space with Willie Edwards, ONT’s director of customer experience.

Some car testing scenes were filmed on the concrete that stretches north from the hangar toward Airport Drive. The plane that Tracy Letts, as Henry Ford II, arrives on is a B727 that ONT has on hand for filming purposes.

Filming at the airport took place in August 2018 and again in April 2019. So, yes, Damon and co-star Christian Bale, as driver Ken Miles, spent time in Ontario. I hope they ordered takeout from Vince’s Spaghetti at least once.

That wasn’t the only local-to-us filming for the movie. A race set at the Daytona International Speedway was filmed at Fontana’s Auto Club Speedway.

And scenes in Italy were shot in Pomona at the former Lanterman care facility for the developmentally disabled, portions of which date to the 1920s. It’s owned by Cal Poly Pomona.

(And here I have to chide the LA Times for reporting that that filming took place at Pomona College, which is in Claremont. Pomona College officials were kind enough to direct me to the right campus for comment.)

“The gates, the exterior of Enzo Ferrari’s office and some of the park scenes were shot at Cal Poly Pomona’s Lanterman property,” said Cynthia Peters, a Cal Poly spokeswoman. “The gates were constructed here by the film crew.”

Pomona, the Italy of the west.