Every car manufacturer during the 1960s wanted to beat the race-winning Maranello boys. Ford's desire to do so became even greater when Enzo Ferrari abruptly terminated negotiations to sell his company to Ford. The Ford GT-40 program was a result of Henry Ford II's unsuccessful attempt to buy Ferrari. Initially welcomed by Ferrari, a deal was all but agreed on - but Ferrari called it off in 1963 after an agreement with Fiat gave some financial backing to Ferrari while also promising to preserve Ferrari's independent. When rebuffed, Henry decreed that Ford compete at long-distance races against Ferrari (who won at LeMans six times from 1960 to 1965). The Ford GT-40 became a winner of the 24 Hours of LeMans four times, from 1966 to 1969.
The decision to go head-to-head with Ferrari by building a car to compete against them came directly from Henry Ford II; the design-and-build work took place in England by Eric Broadley of Lola Cars.
The result of such teamwork was the Ford GT, later called the GT40 because the distance from the ground to the top of the windshield/ roof was 40 inches. The car was named the GT after the Grand Tourismo category; the 40 represented its overall height of 40 inches, as required by the rules. Ford V8 engine of 4.7 and 7.0 liters were used, compared with the Ferrari V12, which displaced 3.0 or 4.0 liters. The first 12 'prototype' vehicles carried serial numbers GT-101 through GT-112. When 'production' began, subsequent cars were officially called 'GT-40s,' which dispels the story that the identifier was 'only a nickname.'
The prototype was unveiled in April 1964. The early cars used a 4.2 liter Ford V8 which did not turn out to be a winner. The Mk II cars were fitted with a monstrous 7-liter engine that had been tried and tested on racetracks in America.
Ford had cracked it; they secured a 1-2-3 finish at Daytona. In 1966, there was the historic 1-2-3 finish at Le Mans, beating the Ferrari team, and further first-place finishes in 1967, 1968 and 1969.
The example displayed was purchased by Zora Duntov for the Corvette group and was extensively tested as part of a mid-engine Corvette study program. Found in 1967 by the present owner and restored in 1989, it has been driven on the street and enjoyed for the past 47 years. It was restored for a Watkins Glen racetrack reunion in 1989.
In 1966, Ford was successful in finally producing an American car capable of winning against international competition at LeMans, where a sister car to this one won handily. This advanced design was English with Ford engine components.
This Ford GT40P with chassis number 1049 was originally a road-going car that was quickly converted to racing specifications. The owner was Grady Davis, the vice president of Gulf Oil who was instrumental in creating the relationship between the Ford GT40, Gulf Oil, and John Wyer.
At the 1967 Daytona Continental 12 Hours this car was driven by Jackie Ickx and Dick Thompson to a first in Class and a very impressive sixth overall.
Since that time the car has been treated to a complete restoration. It is seen here at the 2007 Monterey Historic Races. By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2008
This Ford GT40 MKIIB is a re-creation that was built by a GT40 expert named Bryan Winfield in the mid 1980s. The car contains my original GT40 components, some of which include the dashboard structure, suspension, gearbox and CV joints. There is an original Ford 427 side-oiler V-8 engine with an original Kar Kraft 4-speed gearbox. It is finished in red with black side and top stripes and Halibrand-type knock off wheels. It originally carried chassis tags from GT40 1047 and now is identified as 1047B.
The 427 cubic-inch engine produces approximately 600 horsepower and there are four-wheel disc brakes. An independent suspension can be found in both the front and rear.
In 2009, this Ford GT40 MKIIB Re-Creation was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was expected to sell for $250,000 - $300,000. Sadly, a willing bidder capable of satisfying the cars reserve was not found. The lot was left unsold. By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2011
Nobody knows quite how, but sometime during the mid-June 1967, this MKII-B GT40, which had started life as P/1031, a 7-liter MKII GT40 built at Ford Advanced Vehicles in Slough, England, mysteriously changed identity and became P/1047. A Ford insider recalls that at the beginning of each racing season, a carnet had to be raised for each car and a large bond deposited to insure its appearance on the start line. In the event of an accident that made it impossible to repair a car before it was due to race again, it was less expensive to switch chassis plates with another car than to forfeit the money that had been deposited. That's what seems to have happened to this car, which had already completed a grueling season's racing in 1966 before being upgraded to 1967 MkII-B specification, which its 427 cubic inch V8 engine modified to deliver greater power, reliability and durability.
For the 1967 LeMans 24-Hour race, Ford - anxious to repeat its sensational 1-2-3 victory of 1966 - entered a six-car team. This car, which ran as number 57, was painted light blue, and No. 1047, which was painted gold and ran as No. 5, were accompanied by four of the lighter and more aerodynamic MkIV "J-Cars" which bonded aluminum honeycomb frames. This car retired after 18 hours with a seized engine. GT40 No. 1047 had already crashed and would not race again that year.
After a hasty rebuild by Holman and Moody in Charlotte, NC, this car - now fitted with the chassis plate of No. 1047 - returned to France and won a 12 hour race just two weeks after LeMans. It was the last MkII - and the only MkII-B - to win a race.
Sold for $1,997,565 (£968,000) at 2007 RM Auctions. Sold for $1,465,000 at 2008 RM Auctions. Sold for $1,650,000 at 2010 Gooding & Company. Sold for $3,300,000 at 2016 Gooding & Company. The Ford GT40 was a high performance sports car and winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans four times in a row, from 1966 to 1969. It was built to win long-distance sports car races against Ferrari, winner at LeMans six times in a row from 1960 to 1965.
GT40 chassis number 1065 has a well-documented history with a continuous chain of ownership. When Christies inspected the car in 1998 it still only showed 2,540 miles. GT40 s/n 1065 has been re-liveried twice over the years but is now back to its original color of Azure blue with the complementary original black upholstery. Built to nearly the same specifications as the racing version, this example is nonetheless fitted with a fully trimmed interior, which is original and in superb condition. The car has its original engine (number SGT 27) and ZF gearbox.
Ford built 31 examples of the GT40 MKI for road use, and this example is one of seven such cars that were consigned to the Car Merchandising Department-Ford Division as part of a Mk I dealer promotion program. It was given 'Road Car Specifications' which meant it came equipped with a Weber-carbureted 289 Hi-Po engine.
It left Ford's Dearborn headquarters on December 23rd of 1966 and was eventually assigned to Ford's Philadelphia Sales District for dealer promotion. It was invoiced to Al Grillo Ford of Lynn, Massachusetts on November 28th of 1967. Charles Hill of Dallas, Texas, then acquired the GT40 and kept it for approximately two years. In 1969, Mr. Hill sold this GT40 to Andy Harmon of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, who then changed the color scheme from the factory blue to a turquoise blue with white pinstripes and non-standard Ford GT side stripes. Mr. Harmon also added MK III-style side windows and slightly flared the rear wheel lips.
In 1970, Nick Shrigley-Feigl of Great Britain acquired the car. He had it repainted purple with white stripes. A full restoration occurred from 1982 to 1984 and at the time of completion, the odometer displayed 2,035 miles. Mr. Shrigley-Feigl sold the GT40 to William Loughran of Preston, England in 1984. Mr. Loughran painted it red with black trim.
The car was later sold to Richard Allen and then, in 1989, to Alan Baker who kept it for 11 years. In 1989, the car displayed only 2,540 miles. In 2000, it returned to the United States and into a private collection in the Northwest. Graham Revell purchased the car in 2002 and in 2004 it returned to the United Kingdom when it entered the collection of Frank Sytner.
In 2009, it was given a substantial restoration that included a rebuild of the engine, transmission, brakes and suspension, and a repaint in its original color. Over $100,000 was spent on the work. The current caretaker acquired the car in 2010.
The car is currently finished in its original color of Azure Blue without racing stripes. It has Halibrand wheels and its odometer currently shows just 3,200 miles.
By 1966 Carroll Shelby and Holman & Moody were deeply involved in the 'Ferrari-beater' project and it was all coming together rather nicely. The 7-liter Fords dominated the 24 Hours of LeMans, finishing 1-2-3 in what is likely the pinnacle of Ford's storied racing history. Henry Ford II's wrath for not being able to purchase the Ferrari marque, was assuaged. In fact, GT40's went on to win LeMans four times in a row. Such is the enduring legacy of the GT40, that in 2005 Ford built the Ford GT - a modern day interpretation of the original racer.
This car, chassis number 1032, is one of eight MK IIs. It was completed on November 5th of 1965 along with P/1031 by Ford Advanced Vehicles in Slough, England. It was then shipped to Shelby American in California where it was finished to MK II configuration; this includes the 427 'side oiler' engine with dual 4-barrel carburetors and a 4-speed transaxle. It was painted white with a black nose, and then raced by Walt Hansgen and Mark Donohue as the second of two Shelby American entries in the 12 Hours of Sebring 1966, finishing 2nd overall.
After returning to California, and following further testing and development, it was then painted bronze and entered in the 1966 24-Hours of LeMans as a Holman-Moody entry as car #4 driven by Paul Hawkins and Mark Donohue. During this race, Dan Gurney set a new LeMans lap record of 142.98 mph in another MK II.
Ford MKII entries would go on to perform a three car clean sweep finish, leading almost 175 miles ahead of the nearest competitor. This was the first of four successive LeMans 24 Hour victories by Ford. This would include the first two with MK II cars of 7-liter power and the second two with 5-liter power in the same car.
Upon returning to the United States, this MK II was painted to look like the Le Mans winner, and then displayed around the country by Ford Motor Company. Eventually put into storage, in 1970 Holman & Moody loaned it to the Indianapolis Speedway Museum. More recently, it has been restored by a dedicated group of volunteers from Michigan.
In 1963, Henry Ford II wanted to improve the image of Ford among the younger generation and decided the company should formulate a plan to win the two most grueling races in the world: the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of LeMans. Ford was also very keen to beat Ferrari, which was dominating sports car racing at the time. The two historic race cars that came from that decision were the Ford-engined Lotus 38 and the Ford GT40.
GT40 #1040 is one of only six 1966 GT40 MK1s factory built for long distance racing. #1040 has more LeMans appearances than any other MK1.
The car was shipped to Scuderia Filipinetti on February 28th of 1966, immediately after being tested at Goodwood on February 23, 1966. It was displayed at the 1966 Geneva Auto Show and then became Filipinetti team car. It raced at the 1966 Eaux Mortes, 1966 LeMans Trials, 1966 Monza, 1966 LeMans Trials and the 1967 Monza.
At LeMans in June 1966, it was running in 5th position, behind the winning trio of GT40s, before crashing in the 16th hour. After it was repaired at Ford Advanced Vehicles, its last race was again at Monza in 1967, where it sadly caught fire, ending its racing career.
This car was purchased by the current owner in 2008 and restoration was finished in 2010. It was restored to its 1966 Le Mans configuration.
1966 24 Hours of Le Mans: Bewildered Bruce
The look on Bruce McLaren's face as he climbed from his GT40 would be one of stark contrast to the rest of those with the Ford team. It was clear who the winner was, and yet, confusing as well. In the midst of one of the most demonstrative and authoritative victories in Le Mans history, McLaren and his co-driver Chris Amon would find themselves the beneficiaries of a saga that upset the team management at Ford as much as Ferrari's presence.
It was an all-out effort. Tremendous amounts of capital would be thrown into Ford's racing program. In 1963, a deal was on the table and all parties involved had come to an agreement. The production cars would be known as Ford-Ferraris while the racing side of Ferrari's efforts would be known as Ferrari-Fords. The price for this union would be 10 million dollars. All parties were about ready to sign when Enzo Ferrari suddenly stood made a comment to the leaders from Ford and immediately withdrew from the meeting. The Ford executives would be left stunned and would return home without a premier luxury and exotic car company having been signed. Ford would be furious.
Ferrari would rethink the deal and would even try to begin the negotiations anew. To this, Ferrari would receive his answer. Ford would only be interested in beating Ferrari on the racetrack from now on. Both sides prepared for war, spectators and Le Mans enthusiasts prepared for one of the best eras in endurance sportscar racing history.
Rivalries had been a part of Le Mans since the very beginning. Even after World War II, the famed race would see its share of battle between manufacturers. Had it not been for the tragic events of the 1955 Le Mans all indications were that it would have been a Le Mans worth remembering. Of course, the battle between Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz would end up taking a rightful back seat to the numerous deaths as a result of Pierre Levegh's crash into the grandstands.
So, Le Mans has had its share of manufacturers battles throughout its illustrious past. However, Le Mans had never seen a battle like the one that was coming. The amount of resources poured into both Ford's and Ferrari's racing programs would be titanic. And while it would unfortunately lead to excessive costs entering the world of racing, the technology and the passion that would be brought to endurance racing would far outweigh the negatives. As far as the spectator was concerned it was the ultimate battle, certain to be entertaining and drama-filled.
Ford was entering unknown territory. Despite being heavily invested in motor racing, Le Mans and endurance racing was very much a European thing. Therefore, Ford would be entering this challenge of Ford II a little on the back foot. But with the funding being thrown into the program it was likely the Le Mans effort would gain some balance rather quickly.
The program would be run like a military unit. The demands of drivers were quite simple: be comfortable at 200 mph and obey orders. Though simple, with the nature of drivers during that period this would be some serious demands. However, there was a couple of drivers that fit the personality profile Ford wanted almost exactly, and one of them was Bruce McLaren.
Possessing a technical mind and a known ability to drive flat out on the limit with consistent lap times, Ford had one of their developmental drivers. And after bringing Eric Broadley and John Wyer on board, Ford not only had their car, but also its team manager.
The pace of the program would be a fast one. It would be helped by the fact Broadley had already developed a GT car for Lola that was simply known as the Lola GT. What really attracted the Ford executives to Broadley was the simple fact he had designed with Lola GT specifically with a Ford V8 engine in mind as the car's powerplant. This certainly fit Ford's mindset at the time.
Carroll Shelby would be brought in to help with development. Having won the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, he was fully aware of what was needed to achieve the goal. John Wyer, who had been Shelby's team manager at Aston Martin during the 1959 victory was also fully aware of what a team needed to be successful. And in Bruce McLaren, the program had at least one driver that fully understood the technical and the driving side of the business. It was an all-out mindset.
However, despite the all-out effort, Ford's initial assault on Le Mans would not be at all successful. Oh, the GT40 would prove to be fast and would certainly show signs of being capable, but unreliability would afford Enzo Ferrari a little bit of a grin as his cars would carry on to yet another victory.
The whole of the program would be handed over to Shelby as Broadley would depart to work on his own designs. Wyer would remain but would be demoted somewhat when the whole of the program would be shifted to the United States. Additionally, the GT40 needed a more powerful and reliable engine. All that was available was the hefty 600 pound 427. Still, there were apparent benefits to the engine that were too good to ignore. Nonetheless, when the engine and all of the strengthening was finished, Shelby now had a car weighing in at more than 2,700 pounds.
Unfortunately, so many changes and issues with the new Mark II had arisen that it wouldn't be until the middle of May before Ford would have a couple of cars ready for Le Mans, and this despite being victorious at Daytona and finishing 2nd at Sebring. The lack of preparation would be more than obvious as not a single one of the six cars that would be entered in the 1965 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans would even manage to finish the race. The second Le Mans effort looked more embarrassing than the first.
But the embarrassing loses would only infuse the Ford executives with even more resolve. After the failure of the 1965 Le Mans, the night after the race, the Ford executives assembled the Ford Team and told them flatly, 'Next year we are going to win this race and we might as well start right now.'
Ken Miles had come to be part of the GT40 program and had thrown himself fully into testing duties. Endless hours of track testing at Riverside would take place. The car would undergo numerous hours of wind-tunnel testing and other developmental work would proceed under the direction of Shelby. Engine after engine would be tortuously tested. Reliability was absolutely necessary. Even the brakes would be improved using ventilated, thicker discs.
Even more money had been thrown into the program after the executives insisted on victory. This would put even more pressure on the drivers to perform, but also, obey orders. This would be perhaps the greatest difficulty the drivers would have throughout the 1966 edition of the French endurance classic and would be dutifully demonstrated when Walt Hansgen died in practice at the wheel of one of the GT40s. Walt would lose control of his car at over 150 mph heading into Turn 1. He had been told by Shelby to slow down just prior.
Ford would enter three factory cars under the Shelby American Inc. team name. The number 1 car would be driven by Ken Miles and Denny Hulme. Hulme would be brought in just before Le Mans after Lloyd Ruby suffered injuries in a plane accident. The number 2 car would be driven by a pair of New Zealanders. Bruce McLaren would be joined by Chris Amon. The third entry would list Dan Gurney and Jerry Grant as its drivers.
Ferrari would come to Le Mans with an arsenal of its own. Three 330/Ps and four 365/P2s would be entered in the race. Besides Ford's and Ferrari's entries there would be a number of privately-entered GT40s and Ferraris all up and down the entry list. It was clear who the two dominant manufacturers of the era was.
At the end of qualifying, the first four positions on the grid would be occupied by GT40 MkIIs. Dan Gurney and Jerry Grant would have the pole having set a lap time of 3:30.600 around the 8.38 mile circuit. Ken Miles and Denny Hulme would start in the 2nd position on the grid. The third Ford factory entry of McLaren and Amon would also start on the grid ahead of the first of the Ferraris. The number 2 GT40 would start in the 4th position on the grid.
At the start of the 24 hour race, it would be Graham Hill that would make the best start of everybody and would have a couple of second lead over the rest of the field. Amongst the factory Ford's Gurney was in the lead. The number 2 car of McLaren and Amon would get off to a very slow start and would be quite far down in the running as the whole of the field roared away. The progress of the number 2 car would be hindered off the grid when a collision between a couple of entries happened right in front of the black number 2. Further problems for Ford would come in the way of a delayed Ken Miles. Not only had he also gotten away poorly but he would have to come to a halt at the end of the first lap because he was unable to get his door securely shut.
The slow starts and delays hurt Shelby's directive of being up at the front at all costs in an effort to control the pace and the course of events. As a result, Miles would push his car hard to come up through the field and join Gurney at the front. McLaren and Amon would be dealing with issues of their own and would be unable make its way up through to the front during the early going.
Gurney, being the talented driver he is, would be flying around the circuit but would be doing so in a very controlled and intelligent way. Hill would run into trouble and would hand the lead over to Gurney. Miles, on the other hand, was pushing even harder and was throwing caution to the wind in an effort to catch up to Gurney.
The directive had been for the Ford cars to run up at the front of the field, not to race each other at the front. But despite Gurney setting a new lap record during the middle-evening hours, Miles wanted the lead and would not be denied. While he would put the multimillion dollar GT40 program at risk with his dogged pursuit of Gurney, Miles would take over the lead of the race and would begin to pull away slightly.
Miles continued in the lead of the race when the heavens opened up and the rains began to fall. Ferrari would lose one of its entries when Ludovico Scarfiotti plowed into a couple of cars all turned around in the esses. The rain, torrential at times, would lead to ever more retirements. And before light would even dawn over Le Mans it would dawn on just about everybody that Ford was the expected champion. It had its cars running one-two-three. And if their cars could just hold on until 4pm on that Sunday afternoon, Ford would achieve his aim of beating the dominant Ferrari manufacturer at his own game. Therefore, the race wasn't about the individuals driving the cars, instead, the drivers were role-players in a manufacturer's feud. The once almost family of Ford and Ferrari had become bitter rivals and the Ford drivers were being driven to bring home a victory, not for themselves, but for the company.
It was now Sunday, June 19th, and Miles and Hulme continued in the lead of the race. The car of Gurney and Grant would fall out of contention and out of the race altogether after completing 257 laps. The third car, driven by McLaren and Amon, was still in the running but was a lap down. But then, McLaren and Amon would find themselves back on the lead lap when the number 3 car had to have some brake issues resolved.
The Ford Team had been so focused on just winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans that it wasn't until the early morning hours, with the rain still streaming down and the course incredibly slick, that a meeting would be called to try and figure out which of the two cars would actually take the victory. The French officials had made it clear to the team that a staged victory would actually result in the car of McLaren and Amon being declared the winners because their position on the grid was actually a few yards further back in distance than what Miles and Hulme's had been.
The Ford Team had another issue to consider. At the start of the race the GT40 of McLaren and Amon started on Firestone tires as a result of a contract Bruce had with the tire company. However, it was very quickly noted that the tires were coming apart and the number 2 had fallen well back in the running order. Ford's 'win at all cost' mentality would lead to the decision being made by the team to switch the car from Firestones to Goodyear for the remainder of the race, Ford's interests far outweighing those of Firestone and McLaren's. At that point, as Amon would put it, 'Bruce said to me: 'We've nothing to lose. Let's drive the doors off it''.
The two New Zealanders would put together an impressive performance in their GT40 and would actually take the lead briefly. But then, with the race seemingly in hand for Ford, the directive to slow down would be given. Throughout the remainder of the race the drivers would have to complete laps at a pace of about four minutes. Amon would admit, 'It took me ten laps of concentrated driving to slow down to this speed…It became very monotonous.'
McLaren had been with the GT40 program since its first days. The charge that he and Amon had put together certainly was impressive and needed honoring. But still, Miles and Hulme were in the lead.
It was the final moments of the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. Three GT40s, two factory cars and one entered by Holman and Moody would hook up together and would drive the final couple of miles in what would become an iconic formation. Henry Ford II looked on eagerly awaiting the fulfillment of his words spoken to Enzo Ferrari. And in the grey overcast could be seen the headlights of three GT40s beaming off in the distance. The checkered flag ready, Ken Miles would actually back off just slightly and McLaren would cross the line with about a car length advantage. The number 2 car of McLaren and Amon would be declared the winners as a result of the 24 Hours of Le Mans being all about mileage covered. But this would certainly be one occasion when the desires of an individual driver to win Le Mans would be placed a distant second behind the desires of the team.
Bewildered and tired McLaren and Amon would be presented with the victor's champagne by Ford II himself. It was clear even McLaren and Amon were unsure of the fact they had taken the victory. However, the win could not have gone to a more deserving member of the Ford Team. Not only had the drive Amon and he put together been a most impressive performance, but Bruce's presence since the very beginnings of the GT40 program had made him the most deserving of the victory.
But of course, as time would tell, it really wouldn't matter who took the victory amongst the drivers because the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans would be a victory for Ford over Ferrari. And this fact could not be more easily understood than by merely peering at that iconic photograph of the finish once again. There were not individuals crossing the line on that rainy day. It was three cars built by the same manufacturer. The names driving were of little consequence and hence could have been the real reason for McLaren's and Amon's look of surprise.
Sources: 'Le Mans 24 Hours 1966', (http://www.racingsportscars.com/photo/Le_Mans-1966-06-19.html?sort=Results). Racing Sports Cars. http://www.racingsportscars.com/photo/Le_Mans-1966-06-19.html?sort=Results. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
'Ford Celebrates 1966 Le Mans Victory at 2006 Le Mans Classic', (http://www.autoblog.com/2006/07/05/ford-celebrates-1966-le-mans-victory-at-2006-le-mans-classic/). AutoBlog. http://www.autoblog.com/2006/07/05/ford-celebrates-1966-le-mans-victory-at-2006-le-mans-classic/. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
Hamilton, Maurice. 'The Way it Was', (http://www.grandprix.com/columns/maurice-hamilton/the-way-it-was.html). GrandPrix.com. http://www.grandprix.com/columns/maurice-hamilton/the-way-it-was.html. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
Fox, Charles. The Great Racing Cars and Drivers. New York. The Ridge Press. Copyright 1972. Print.
Wikipedia contributors, '1966 24 Hours of Le Mans', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 25 July 2012, 20:04 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=1966_24_Hours_of_Le_Mans&oldid=504161385 accessed 28 August 2012 By Jeremy McMullen
Sold for $2,205,000 at 2012 Bonhams. Ford Advanced Vehicles Ltd at Slough, Buckinghamshire, England shipped GTP40 P '1033' to Geneva, Switzerland on January 14th of 1966. At the time of shipping, it was unpainted and incomplete, as it was destined for the Graber coachworks. The car was completed, trimmed and prepared as a road car for Georges Filipinetti, patron of Scuderia Filipinetti racing team.
Graber completed the road going car in early 1967. It was painted in light metallic blue with amenities such as electric door windows, full leather interior and air-conditioning. This special car was featured on the front cover of the British 'Car' magazine issue of February 1967. The following month it was on display at the Geneva Salon.
The car did not remain with Filipinetti for long; it was immediately offered for sale through Geneva Ferrari dealer Jean-Jacques Weber. The car was purchased by Geneva resident and millionaire, Jaime Ortiz-Patino.
1033 was Swiss road registered on May 5th of 1967. Ortiz-Patino drove it for a while before having all its special trim removed. The car was converted into a race car for his godson, Dominique Martin. The car was driven in a series of minor-league national hill-climb events, such as the Col de la faucille and at Beaujolais in 1968. After qualifying for a full competition license, the car was raced at Montlhery. A series of major international endurance races followed, including the Le Mans 24-Hours. Co-driving the GT40 was Frenchman Jean-Pierre Hanrioud. At the time, the pale blue car wore 'ZITRO' lettering across its nose, reflecting the Ortiz-Patino family sponsorship.
On April 25th, Marin/Hanrioud raced '1033' at the Monza 1000Kms round of the FIA World Championship of Makes, and finished 15th overall. At the Montlhery 1000Kms, the car finished ninth overall, fourth in their class. The following weekend, the car contested the Hockenheim 300-Miles in Germany, again finishing ninth.
In 1970 the car was shipped to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the opening round of the new year's World Championship series. The car retired at the Buenos Aires Autodrome on January 11th due to transmission failure. On January 18th, it placed twelfth overall in the Championship-qualifying Buenos Aires 1000Kms. In March, the car was back in France and contesting the public road Rallye de l'Ouest where it finished second overall with navigator Chini.
The ZITRO Ford GT40 was repainted in a non-metallic pale blue and was offered for sale via ex-Scuderia Filipinetti mechanic Michel Berney. On October 26th, the car caught on fire while being driven from Berney's home to the garage premises. The fire was put out but on the GT40's steel-paneled chassis was intact. Almost everything else was burned.
The destruction was documented through photographs. After the fire, the car was cleaned-up and painted. In 1972 it was subsequently owned by fellow Scuderia Filipinetti alumni Franco Sbarro. After Sbarro, the chassis went to British racer David Piper in 1974, with the Swiss description of the car claiming it to be the Filipinetti team GT40 that had burned at Monza in 1967 (which was actually GT40 P/1040). Piper sold the car under that mistaken identity to American Paul Chandler. The chassis was part restored during this period by British specialist John Etheridge, Paul Weldon and Reg Chapple.
The next owner was an American named Bud Romak. At this point in history, the chassis was still incorrectly identified. A restoration later followed in 1983 with the work handled by Californian specialist Phil Reilly.
The car was subsequently vintage raced for several years before it was sold in 1988. Ronnie Spain was asked to identify the vehicle. The car was identified as the ex-Martin Team ZITRO car.
The car was sold to American Tom Armstrong who retained it ever since. The car has appeared at the Monterey Historics on several occasions, along with numerous other US vintage races, including Elkhart Lake, Sears Point and Portland International Raceway.
In 2012, this vehicle was offered for sale at the Quail Lodge presented by Bonhams Auction. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $2,205,000 including buyer's premium. By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2012
The Ford GT40 was designed to beat the Ferrari at Le Mans with its 289 cubic-inch engine. Testing began in 1964 and plans were to win in 1965. Alas, it was not to be. The prototype was fast but it failed to go the distance in any race. In 1965, with the help of Carroll Shelby, the 1965 Daytona Continental brought the GT40's first victory but it was determine the 289 cubic-inch GT40 didn't have what it needed to win.
Later in 1965, Ford created the 427 cubic-inch GT40 and Phil Hill's MKII turned LeMans fastest lap but, like 1964, the team retired en masse. Ford returned in 1966 with eight factory MKIIs and five independently entered GT40s. Ford MKIIs finished one-two-three. They returned with another car in 1967, the MK IV. Ford won the 24-hour race and immediately announced retirement from the field.
This example has a special place in the history of the GT40s at LeMans. Its owner, Grady Davis, a Gulf Oil vice president, decided to have Gulf sponsor a team of lightweight GT40 derived Mirage prototypes to be managed by small-block GT40 engines. Their efforts were rewarded by LeMans wins in 1968 and 1969.
This unit, Registration SNO 250D, was shipped September 13, 1966 and the #P1051's engine was noted as 'High Performance with Webers' and delivered to Ford of U.K., as a press car. It was featured on the 'This car you have to be measured for' Ford GT sales brochure and in the December 15, 1966 Motoring News. It was displayed at the Paris Auto Show in October of 1966.
The current owner purchased the car in May of 1983. A complete restoration/metamorphosis by Racing Icons was performed in 1993, to MKI Gulf specs, with the car being fitted with vented rotors, roll cage, roof vent, and wide rear bodywork from P/1008. It is finished in dark blue Marigold Gulf team colors and it continues to be actively vintage raced.
This is one of thirteen MKII 7.0 liter GT40 Fords. With its first overall win in 1966, three MKII GT40s crossed the finish line simultaneously after twenty four hours of flat out racing.
This MKII is powered by a 427 cubic-inch motor with over 500 horsepower. It has a Ford built T-44 transaxle and is capable of 215 mph.
This is the last of three Alan Mann lightweight MK IIs built with an aluminum monocoque structure. It was featured by Ford in all of its Autolite sparkplug commercials. It is the only one of the original thirteen that remains in unrestored condition.
The GT-40 was created at the direction of Henry Ford II to spite Enzo Ferrari. Ford had spent several million dollars in contract negotiations with Ferrari after Enzo offered to sell his company to Ford. Enzo backed out when he was informed that he would not be allowed to race at the Indianapolis 500 if he joined Ford. Ford contracted with Lola to build a car that would win LeMans. The first version was introduced in 1964 but was not successful.
The 1966 GT-40 featured a 7.0 liter V8 from the Ford Galaxie and involved Carroll Shelby in its creation. The GT40 won LeMans every year from 1966 through 1969. The GT project ended in 1969 after only 107 cars were built. A record $11 million was paid for a GT40 in 2012.
This car was originally shipped to Dearborn, Michigan where it was used as a promotional vehicle. During a recent restoration, it was repainted in its original Carmen Red color.
This GT40 was delivered to Shelby American in November 1965 and prepared for its first race, the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1966. With Dan Gurney driving, it led for most of that race, but the engine blew on the last corner and, breaking the rules, Gurney pushed the car across the finish line. After racing at LeMans that June the car was upgraded to the new MK IIB specification for the 1967 season, starting with 24-hour races at Daytona and Sebring. LeMans was the next event for drivers Paul Hawkins and Ronnie Bucknum. After 17 hours the car retired with a seized engine. Around this time, official Ford records show that P/1031 changed identity and became P/1047. Although the reason is unclear, many race car identities were swapped due to accidents or matters related to race registration. Whatever the case, two weeks later, Ford of France entered this car in the 12 Hours of Reims, where it finished in 1st place, driven by Jo Schlesser and Guy Ligier. This was the final win for a GT40 MKII and the only win for a MK IIB. After several more races, concluding with the race at Montlhery, the car was retired. The car has been carefully preserved ever since.
This GT40 MKII, driven by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon, placed first at the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1966, leading two other GT40s across the line for the famous 1-2-3 photo finish. Following its memorable win, the car passed to Holman & Moody and was entered in the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1967, driven by Lloyd Ruby and Denny Hulme. After running amongst the race leaders, Ruby crashed on his 300th lap and P/1046's racing days were over. Once repaired, this famous car was shipped around the United States as part of a Ford marketing tour. It was later rebuilt as a road-going supercar, complete with a gold metal-flake paint job. Its new owner has now restored the car to its 1966 LeMans winning configuration.
This GT40 is one of the two lightweight GT40s prepared by Alan Mann Racing in England for the 1966 race season. It debuted at the 12 Hours of Sebring, driven by Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart, but did not finish. Despite promising results at Le Mans Trials in April, Ford ordered Mann to switch to the new 7.0-liter GT40 MKII. As a result, this car was sold to GT40 driver Paul Hawkins at the end of the year. Hawkins modified the car for use in Group 4 races and it competed all over Europe, recording a multitude of wins - at Snetterton, Silverstone, Crystal Palace, Auvergne, Zeltweg, Oulton Park and Nurburgring, to name but a few. It has one of the most successful race histories of all of the GT40s, and its current owner still races the car very successfully in historic motoring events.
This 1966 GT40, one of thirteen GT40 MK IIs, is possibly the most original GT40 in the world. The main reason it has retained its original bodywork is that it is the only MK II never to have raced in period. It is one of the three Alan Mann Lightweights built with an aluminum monocoque chassis, and it played an important role as a spare car for the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1966 - but it was never used. It still retains its original tachometer correction tag installed by Ford on all of the 1966 LeMans cars. After that race the car returned to the United States and was taken around the country on Ford's press tour, celebrating their famous Le Mans win. The car was also featured by Ford in their Autolite Spark Plug advertising of the period. Although it never raced in period, XGT-3 has been raced occasionally in historic events both in the United States and Europe.
Just 31 examples of the MK 1 were built specifically for use on the road. They were given similar mechanical specifications to their race-winning counterparts but were fitted with a few more luxuries, including fully upholstered interiors. They had a softer suspension setup, more compliant brakes, and a quieter exhaust.
This particular example was completed in late 1966 and finished in Duguesclin Grey. Upon completion, the car was sent to Ford's facilities in Dearborn, Michigan. It was earmarked as one of twenty vehicles to be used for the MK I Promotion and Disposal Program. It became one of just seven Mk I GT40s consigned to the Car Merchandising department for promotional use.
The car was given white racing stripes and roundels with the #5. It also received twin-rear MKII brake scoops. The car was used through 1967 in Ford's Southeast Region Sales District, where it was put on display at dealerships and auto shows, and was used in demonstration laps at SCCA events. The car was shown as far south as Florida and as far north as Virginia.
After its tour on the show circuit was over, the car was sold to Bill Watkins Ford and refinished red before being sold to Harry T. Heinl of Toledo, Ohio. During a snowstorm, Mr. Heinl was involved in an accident with the car. Heinl later sold the GT40 to his mechanic, Ken Kloster, and purchased a replacement MK1 GT40 shortly thereafter.
Kloser repaired the car in 1969 and sold it not long after. Herb Wetanson purchased it in 1972, followed by Chris Long of Henley-on-Thames in the United Kingdom. Brice Spicer of Australia purchased in 1974, followed by another Australian, Bib Stilwell, who was living in Phoenix, Arizona, at the time. Mr. Stilwell had the car prepared for racing. The car was also re-finished in dark green metallic with a yellow center stripe.
One of its finest outings was in September of 1989 at Watkins Glen for the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the GT40 with the SVRA. Driver Don Roberts finished first.
Jim Click purchased the car in 1992. Mr. Click had the 302-cubic inch V8 engine bored out to 351 cubic inches. By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2016
Sold for $4,400,000 at 2016 Mecum. The early GT40 road cars were production racing coupes that were slightly converted for the street. They retained mainly of their competition features, including only driver-side seat support, two fuel pressure gauges, battery-mount brackets in passenger foot well, and lighter fiberglass. Luxurious amenities included leather upholstery and trim, padded dash, air conditioning, centered rearview mirror, heated windscreen and luggage boxes. They has special exhaust silencers, softer brake pads and shock absorbers that were 25-percent softer than the race units.
This example, built at the Ford Advanced Vehicles factory in Slough, Buckinghamshire, England, is chassis number P/1028. This was the first road car delivered to North America. It was used briefly as a test and evaluation car on Ford's test track. It later served as Ford North America's official Promotional GT40.
The car features a 'High Performance' 289 with a single Holley 4-barrel carburetor and Sunbeam Tiger air cleaner. The 335 horsepower is sent to a ZF 5-speed gearbox, the same used in the race GT40s.
The car's first promotional stop was at the 1966 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida. The car was paraded around the event all weekend and then parked in the pit lane prior to the race. After Sebring, it traveled through the United States to dealerships, exhibits, and car shows. It appeared in a four-page spread in the July edition of 'Playboy' magazine, followed by the September 1966 issue of 'Mechanix Illustrated.'
After six months of travel, it was sent to Comstock Racing in Toronto, Canada where it continued its promotional outing in Canada. It traveled to several tracks including St. Jovite, Mosport, Westwood, and Watkins Glen.
At the end of the 1966 season, it was shipped to Kar-Kraft where it was painted blue and used as a Ford VIP car for Ford Executive Fran Hernandez.
David Tallaksen purchased it sometime in 1967 and by 1969 it was in the care of Steve Earle. It spent time in the care of another California owner before being purchased by the Schroeder family of Burbank in 1975. They had the car painted in Blue-and-Orange Gulf livery for a Gulf television ad in 1981 and was then put on display at the Justice Brothers Racing Car Museum in Duarte, California. In 2003, it was exhibited at the Monterey Historic Races.
After nearly four decades of ownership, the car was sold and a complete ground-up restoration was started. During the process, the car was found to be an extremely original car, with approximately 11,000 miles on the odometer. The original metallichrome silver paint was found under the Gulf, and dark blue layers of paint. It is currently finished exactly the same way it appeared when it rolled down the pits in Sebring 50 years ago. By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2016
The history of the Ford GT40 began as an attempt to beat a certain Italian Automobile Manufacturer at the grueling 24 Hours of LeMans race. Each June, some of the world's best in the automotive industry descend onto a town West of Paris called LeMans, France to compete in a 24-Hour endurance competition. This tradition began in 1923 and since has become the pinnacle of automotive racing that challenges speed, performance and durability. A select group of European marques had since dominated the race such as Porsche, Ferrari, Jaguar, Bentley, and Alfa Romeo. Ford wanted to join this elite group. During the early part of the 1960's, Ford attempted to buy Ferrari for $18 million to run its international racing program. The purpose was to use the Ferrari company and technology to help Ford achieve a LeMans victory. The negations unraveled and Ferrari walked away from bargaining table in May of 1963. Enzo Ferrari gave no indication as to why he had decided his company was no longer for sale. Ford decided to build their own super-car and beat Ferrari at International Racing.
Roy Lunn was an Englishman who had began his career at Ford of Britain and later came to the United States in 1958. He had played a role in helping to create the 1962 mid-engined Ford Mustang I Concept. The vehicle was an aluminum-bodied, two-seater that was powered by a 1.7-liter 4-cylinder engine.
After the Mustang I, Roy Lunn along with Ray Geddes and Donald Frey turned their attention to a racing program. The car that Ford had conceived was similar to a Lola GT, being low and mid-engined. The Lola was designed and built by Eric Broadley in Slough, England and first displayed in January of 1963 at the London Racing Car Show. Broadley was running low on funds and consequently more than eager to join with Ford.
Borrowed from the Lola GT was the monocoque center section and aerodynamic design. It was longer, wider, and stronger with a rigid steel section. In the mid-section lay an all-aluminum 4.2-liter V8 engine. The gearbox was a 4-speed Colotti unit; the suspension was double-wishbone. Excellent stopping power was provided by the 11.5 inch disc brakes on all four wheels. In April 1964 the GT40 was displayed to the public at the New York Auto Show. Two weeks later the car was at Le Mans being put through pre-race testing. The result of a very rushed program became evident. The car suffered from aerodynamic and stability issues and as a result ended in two crashes.
The GT represented 'Grand Turismo' while the designation 40 represented its height, only 40 inches. The number 40 was added to the designation when the Mark II was introduced.
The Mark II, still built in England, was put through extensive testing which solved many of the stability issues. Carroll Shelby was brought onboard to oversee the racing program. He began by installing a 7-liter NASCAR engine that was more powerful and more reliable. The result was a vehicle that was much more stable and quicker than the Mark I. For the 1965 LeMans, the Mark II proved to be a stronger contender but resulted in another unsuccessful campaign.
The third generation of the GT-40, the Mark III, was introduced in 1966 and only seven were produced. Ford continued to fine-tune and prepare the GT-40 for LeMans. The GT40 led the race from the beginning. This lead continued throughout the evening and into the morning hours. During the morning the GT40's were ordered to reduce their speed for purposes of reliability. By noon, ten out of the thirteen Fords entered had been eliminated. The remaining three Fords went on to capture first through third place. This victory marked the beginning of a four-year domination of the race.
In 1967 Ford introduced the Mark IV to LeMans. It was built all-American, where the previous versions had been criticized as being English-built and fueled by monetary resources from America. This had not been the first attempt for an all-American team using an American vehicle to attempt to capture victory at LeMans. Stutz had finished second in 1928. Chrysler had finished third and fourth during the same year, 1928. In 1950 the first major attempt to win at Lemans was undertaken by a wealthy American named Briggs Cunningham. Using modified Cadillac's he captured 10th and 11th. His following attempts to win at LeMans included vehicles that he had built where he managed a third place finish in 1953 and fifth place in 1954. This had been the American legacy at LeMans.
Of the seven vehicles Ford entered in 1967, three crashed during the night time hours. When the checkered flag dropped it was a GT40 driven by Gurney/Foyt to beat out the 2nd and 3rd place Ferrari by only four laps.
For 1968 the FIA put a ceiling on engine displacement at 5 liters. Ford had proven that Ferrari could be beaten and an American team and car could win at LeMans. Ford left international sports racing and sold the cars to John Wyer. Gulf Oil Co. provided sponsorship during the 1968 LeMans season. The Ford GT40 Mark I once again visited LeMans and again in 1969 where they emerged victorious both times. In 1969 the margin of victory for the GT40 was just two seconds after the 24 Hours of racing.
In 1969 new FIA rules and regulations ultimately retired the GT40's from racing and ended the winning streak.
Around 126 Ford GT-40's were producing during the production life span. During this time a wide variety of engines were used to power the vehicle. The MKI used a 255 cubic-inch Indy 4-cam, a 289 and 302 small block. The 289 was by far the most popular, producing between 380 and 400 horsepower. When the MKI returned during the 1968 and 1969 season it was outfitted with a 351 cubic-inch Windsor engine. The MKII came equipped with a 427 cubic-inch NASCAR engine. The third generation, the MK-III, had 289 cubic-inch engines. The final version, the MK-IV all were given 427 cubic-inch power-plants.
America, more specifically Ford, had proven that American automobiles and drivers were able to compete in all arenas.
After the production of the Ford GT40 ceased, there were several companies interested in creating replicas. One such company was Safir Engineering which purchased the rights to the name. In 1985 the Ford GT40 MKV was introduced and examples would continued to be produced until 1999. Chassis numbers continued in sequence where the original Ford cars stopped. The cars were powered by a Ford 289 cubic-inch OHV engine that produced just over 300 horsepower and was able to carry the car to a top speed of 164. Zero-to-sixty took just 5.3 seconds. Disc brakes could be found on all four corners. The cars were nearly identical to the original. By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2007
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