1966 Ford GT40 Mk ISOLD
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Estimate: 800,000£-1,000,000£
Estimate: €1,176,000 - €1,471,000
Estimate: $1,620,000 - $2,025,000

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of £983.400

Engine No. SGT 27

Specifications: 380bhp, 4,728cc (289 cu. in.) overhead valve V-8 engine, five-speed ZF gearbox, independent front suspension via double wishbones with coil springs, independent rear suspension via trailing links, lower wishbones, and coil springs, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 95in. (2,413mm).

Ford announced its intention to officially re-enter motor racing in the summer of 1962. Initially the company chose to compete in stock car and drag racing, forms of the sport that they felt best fitted their racing background.

In 1963, seeking greater exposure, Ford decided to attack America’s greatest race – the Indianapolis 500.

The rear-engined Lotus-Fords completely shocked the established US teams in their front-engined roadsters. Jim Clark surely would have won the race at the team’s first attempt challenging Parnelli Jones’s Watson-Offy roadster in the closing stages, if Jones’s car had not been leaking oil, ruining Clark’s chances of taking the win; the clerk of the course was not prepared to black-flag the local hero after intense lobbying by his team boss J. C. Agajanian.

The near-win and, more importantly, the failed acquisition of Ferrari, encouraged Ford along another path and it decided to extend its participation in racing to the GT category. There was very little interest in this form of racing in America, but Ford was prepared to gamble that European wins, and Le Mans in particular, would capture the country’s imagination – they were right.

After the Ferrari debacle Henry Ford II declared that he ‘wanted to win Le Mans in 1966’. Ford’s Lee Iacocca and Leo Beebe were given the job of forming Ford Advanced Vehicles. Ford’s idea was to develop a car that could be built around the 1963 Indianapolis 4.2 litre pushrod engine. The mid-engined coupé that the company had in mind was to be the very cutting edge of modern GT car design with careful attention paid to aerodynamics. A model of the initial design was made and tested at the University of Maryland wind tunnel, and subsequently a full-size fibreglass model was made and tested at Ford’s wind tunnel at Dearborn, Michigan.

Ford realized that many of their plans were echoed in the Lola GT, designed and built by Eric Broadly at his workshop at Bromley in England. Broadly, too, had seen the potential of the Ford V-8 as a GT racing engine, and incorporated a stock 4,262cc version in his car, first exhibited at the London Racing Car Show in January 1963. As it happened, the Lola GT was 40 inches high. The Ford GT would also be this height, and it is for this reason that the car was christened GT40.

By the summer of 1963 Ford and Broadly had joined forces and very quickly two evaluations of the Lola were completed by Ford, one at the Goodwood circuit and another at the Ford headquarters at Dearborn. Progress was quick, as Ford hired John Wyer, General Manager of Aston Martin, to manage the programme in England, and new facilities were set up at Slough. In charge of the whole project was Roy Lunn, formerly of Jowett, Aston Martin, and Ford UK.

The first two prototype Ford GT40s were launched in April 1964 and the GT40’s first race was the 1,000 kilometre at the Nürburgring on 31 May. Phil Hill qualified the blue and white coupé second to John Surtees’s Ferrari 275P, and although the car retired with a broken suspension bracket, the GT40 had shown its potential.

Le Mans was next with a three-car entry; the drivers were again Hill/McLaren, Attwood/Schlesser, and Ginther/Gregory. The new cars performed amazingly well and, although none finished, Ginther led at the start of the race and Hill set a new race lap record of 3:49.4 (131.7 mph). The final major event of 1964 was at Rheims on 5 July. All three cars entered, showing blinding promise, but in spite of running first and second and setting new lap records all three cars eventually retired with gearbox problems.

In 1965, when the project was handed over to the Shelby-American team of Cobra fame, a total of ten cars had been built. By the end of February 1965 a number of significant changes had been made to the car under the direction of Carroll Shelby, his chief engineer Phil Remington, and Ken Miles, Shelby’s test driver. The 4.2-litre dry sump Indianapolis engine was replaced with the famous wet sump 4.7-litre 289 cubic inch V-8 that powered Shelby’s Cobras and developed 385 brake horsepower. Transaxle troubles were attacked by replacing the Colotti straight-cut gears with Ford helical gears. The drive shaft, fuel feed system, and clutch were improved, wider cast alloy wheels were utilized, and attention was paid to better ducting, improved cooling, and slicker aerodynamics.

The first race the re-worked car was entered in was the 2,000 kilometre Daytona Continental Race on 28 February 1965. The car, driven by Lloyd Ruby and Ken Miles, won the race with Bob Bondurant and Richie Ginther in a second car finishing third. Suddenly, the GT40 was on the map, a force to be reckoned with.

Le Mans of that year was again a disappointment with no cars finishing, but again Phil Hill broke the lap record, both in qualifying and in the race.

In mid-1965, Ford decided that the GT40 had reached a sufficiently advanced state of design to manufacture the car in greater numbers. 50 cars were planned to be produced in order to qualify them for the Production Sports Car category. Among them were the cars that would win the World Championship for Production Sports Cars in 1966.

With the GT40 now fully developed, Roy Lunn was given the job of overseeing production of a Mark II version of the car. Work on two new cars began in the spring of 1965 at a new Ford racing subsidiary, Kar Kraft, in Detroit. The GT40 Mark II was fitted with Ford’s mighty 7.0-litre V-8. The engine may have been considered an odd choice but it was extremely reliable, developing maximum power at only 6,200 rpm. The engine had tremendous torque and a wide power band, and had been very successful racing in other formats.

Other than the engine, the new cars were relatively unchanged. The seating position was modified as were the rear bulkhead members, and the gearbox was based on that used in the Ford Galaxie saloon.

The Mark IIs were immediately quick, finishing first, second, and third in the 1966 Daytona 24-Hour race; this was followed by victory at the 12-Hours of Sebring and the famous clean sweep at Le Mans, where Ford GT40s once again crossed the line first, second, and third. Ford’s gamble had paid off and the GT40 would dominate sports car racing, making it one of the most successful road/competition cars ever built.

The road version of the Ford GT40 was announced in January 1966. It was, the company proclaimed, ‘the most expensive Ford ever’; and at £7,253 it cost 15 times as much as the cheapest Ford Anglia then available. Only 31 road-going cars were manufactured.

Chassis number 1065 was sent to the Ford Merchandising Department in Dearborn but was not delivered to its first owner, Charles Hill of Dallas, Texas, until 1967. Andy Harman from Mississippi owned the car for a short while during 1969 before it was sold to English collector Nicholas Shrigley-Fiegl in 1970. A two-year restoration was undertaken in 1980-1982, and when completed the car only showed 2,035 recorded miles. Later, in 1984, William Loughran bought 1065.

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. In early 2000 the GT40 was sold to John McCaw and returned to America. Before purchase the car received a detailed inspection and the mileage showed 2,596.

GT40 s/n 1065 has been re-liveried twice over the years but is now back to its original colour 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 (number NR 243). The original Borrani wire wheels have been replaced with the later Halibrands. Other updated items include 38mm Weber down draft carburettors, and the fuel pump, pressure regulator, coil and oil and fuel lines have all been updated.

Ford GT40 chassis number 1065 is a beautiful example of a GT 40 MKI and is certainly one of the most original GT40s in existence. The recorded mileage of just 4,500 miles may well make this car unique. Whilst any GT40 is a rare beast with around 103 built in total and just 31 road cars, the opportunity to own one of these legendary cars doesn’t arise often. They are simply one of the most desirable sports cars in history.

Denis Jenkinson, the fabled motoring journalist, wrote this in Motor Sport in 1966:

‘If you have the money to buy a new conception in road motoring, you will not be disappointed; if a Jaguar, Ferrari or Aston Martin satisfies you, then the unbelievable qualities of a Ford GT40 will probably be beyond your appreciation.’

Reference Number 13203

as of 9/14/2007

Car 1966 Ford GT40 Mk I
VIN 1065 
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