Sold for $2,860,000 at 2012 RM Auctions - Monterey.Sold for $2,860,000 at 2012 RM Auctions - Monterey.
Chassis #: P/1059
Engine #: SGT/20
In 1963, Ford was pushing hard to acquire Ferrari. However, when the deal failed to materialize a new kind of resolve overcame the Ford management and its racing department. The new attitude could be easily explained: 'If you can't buy them, then beat them.' Thankfully, for all car enthusiasts, the deal did fail to materialize, for out of that bitterness would be born the GT40.
Ford wanted domination and that would come during the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans when it scored a fabulous and memorable one-two-three victory with the GT40. This success on the track meant even more than retribution. The old adage held true: 'Win on Sunday, sell cars on Monday.'
The GT40 was a hot commodity. To own one of the coveted prancing horse-slayers would be nothing short of an incredible honor. And while the actual Le Mans cars would be out of reach for the vast majority, Ford recognized it had the opportunity to give the publican opportunity to own such an iconic car. In the end, Ford would produce just 133 examples of its famous GT40 for road use and one of those 133 would be offered at the RM Auctions event held at Monterey in August of 2012.
While there would be a total of 133 examples of the GT40 built for road use, there would be just 31 examples of the GT40 P cars that would be equipped for the road and the one offered at auction, chassis 1059, happens to be one of those 31.
Ronnie Spain, a renowned GT40 authority, would call 1059, 'one of the most original GT40s I have ever seen.' Built in the later part of 1966, this particular chassis would be sent to the United States just prior to Christmas in 1966. This particular chassis was one of just twenty that was selected for a MK I Promotion and Dispersal Program. Chassis 1059 would then be just one of six that would be assigned to Shelby American for promotional use. 1059 would be a particularly good example to use in promotions as it would leave Slough, England with the High Performance Ford 289 cu. in. engine with the Weber carburetors, ZF transmission and the Borrani wheels. However, at the time the car arrived in the United States it would bear a different livery than it does today. Originally, the GT40 would come to the United States adorned in a Maroon finish.
The livery would change when the car would be delivered to Kar Kraft in Brighton, Michigan. Kar Kraft had been instrumental in the development of many other race cars and they would take delivery of the car for their promotional uses. To make best use of the car and their promotions, the car's livery would be changed. The Maroon would then give way to the more familiar overall white and blue stripes, the typical American racing colors.
Not long after changing its aesthetic appearance the car would be acquired by Edward Schoenherr of Stark Hickey Ford, a dealership in Detroit. The car would remain with the dealership up into the early 1970s where it would only suffer some minor damage and would remain one of the most desirable GT40s.
In September of 1973, the car would be purchased by Herb Wetanson of Long Island. Mr. Wetanson was well known within the GT40 world as he would own no less than six different examples. Mr. Wetanson would hold onto 1059 for just a year before selling it to Dr. Frost, a noted collected, of Dubuque, Iowa. By this point in time the car boasted of just 2,000 miles and maintained an unprecedented amount of files and other information about the car.
Dr. Frost would not let the car sit idle. He would set about making some changes to the car, mostly safety in scope. The original fuel bladders would be replaced by aluminum tanks and a fire extinguisher would also be mounted in the car. The tanks would be fabricated by no less than John Horsman, the former chief engineer at FAV and for the John Wyer Gulf Racing team. Dr. Frost would own the car well into the new millennium and would remain a prominent focal-piece in his already impressive collection of automobiles.
During the many decades of ownership, Dr. Frost would undertake refinishing the GT40 keeping to the livery applied by Kar Kraft. And besides taking part in the Thirtieth Anniversary GT40 Reunion at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin in 1994, chassis 1059 would be campaigned in a number of events, but still, the mileage would be quite low.
When chassis 1059 was purchased from Dr. Frost the car would have just a total of 4,500 original miles on it making it one of the lowest mileage GT40s in the world. Today, boasting of just 4,749 miles, it remains one of the lowest mileage GT40s.
Despite being more than forty years old, the car still runs like new thanks to steps taken by the owner to maintain the mechanical and aesthetic condition of the car. This mechanical conditioning of the car then accounts for the approximate 250 miles the car had accumulated since coming to its recent owner.
Original from nose to tail, chassis 1059 would have to be one of the most coveted of the 133 GT40s produced. Given the fact it has less than 5,000 miles causes to car enter a very special category, even amongst the GT40 fraternity. With essentially just two private owners since it was produced, this rare Mk I is presented as an exceptional example deserving of much admiration, especially at concours and vintage touring and racing events.
With its 380 hp V-8 engine and looks that appear as if the car had been produced just yesterday, chassis 1059 rekindles that special time in Le Mans history when the rivalry between Ford and the rest of the European automakers was at its highest, most bitter point. But out of that anger would come one beautiful car recognized and beloved the world over. So named because it measured just 40 inches tall, the GT40 would be one of those few cars ever produced that it would not need its factory name to remind people of who built it. The reason for that is because the GT40 took on a life and a personality all its own and 1059 represents that very rare opportunity to enter that very small and intimate family.
Heading into auction, chassis 1059, with its original, matching drivetrain, was estimated to draw between $2,300,000 and $2,700,000.Sources:
'Lot No. 226: 1967 Ford GT40 Mark I', (http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=MO12&CarID=r144). RM Auctions. http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=MO12&CarID=r144. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
Kurczewski, Nick. '1967 Ford GT40 Mark I—2012 Monterey Auctions', (http://blog.roadandtrack.com/1967-ford-gt40-mark-1-2012-monterey-auctions/). Road and Track. http://blog.roadandtrack.com/1967-ford-gt40-mark-1-2012-monterey-auctions/. Retrieved 6 August 2012.By Jeremy McMullen