My Car Quest

August 20, 2018

Ford GT40 Mk II At Auction In Monterey

Ford vs. Ferrari: Buy this car and go hunting for a P3 or P4 on the vintage tracks.

by Wallace Wyss –

In the art world, you can buy history, in buying say a painting that the artist only made one of, such as the Mona Lisa. But in the automotive world, there are many one offs as well. But even if you can’t get one of those, there are series produced cars that are almost “one off” in that they have a unique history. And this Ford GT40 Mk II qualifies.

Ford GT40 Mk II

Here’s a little history of the Ford Vs. Ferrari battle in the ‘60s, fought at racetracks in the US, Canada and Europe. In 1963, Henry Ford II thought he had a solid deal with Enzo Ferrari for Ford to buy Ferrari. But Enzo, worried about Ford doing things like labeling the street cars “Ford-Ferraris” pulled out. Henry Ford II was so chagrined, he called in his chief engineer and said in effect: “Screw him–we’re gonna make our own endurance racer.”

Ford GT40 Mk II

The GT40 (the nickname since it was roughly 40” tall) took a couple years to get sorted out but by ’66 Ford GT40s were crossing the line at the 24 Hours of LeMans in positions 1-2-3.

Of course there will always be those detractors (are they wearing prancing horse insignia?) who say, yeah, but in ’66 Ferrari only entered two endurance racers while Ford “stacked the deck” with 13 cars in the 55-vehicle field, among them eight GT40 Mark IIs.

Ford GT40 Mk II

A blow-by-blow movie is being made by 20th Century Fox starring Matt Damon playing the role of Shelby and Christian Bale playing his ace driver.

Now, even before the movie comes out (it hits the screens in June, 2019) a heavyweight Ford fan can buy one of the three Ford GT40s that crossed that finish line seconds apart, winning Ford the first three spots. It is chassis No. P/1016, powered by a seven-liter V8 rated at roughly 485 horsepower which can get it in the vicinity of 200 miles per hour.

Ford GT40 Mk II

In the race, the car was piloted by the duo of Americans Ronnie Bucknum and Dick Hutcherson. Interestingly you won’t even have to learn how to drive a manual as this particular car, was the only one of Ford’s finishers to race at LeMans with an automatic transmission instead of the four-speed manual model used on the other cars.

Ford had already soured on the 289 small block engine by 1965 and that year ran at least two with the big block iron block iron heads 427 engine, which had a proven record of reliability in NASCAR racing.

That was the year they switched Shelby’s responsibilities from just promoting the AC Cobra and new Shelby Mustang GT350 to sorting out the Ford GT40, which had been a terrible flop its first year, with 10 failures out of 10 entries.

Ford GT40 Mk II

This GT40 is now restored to the condition it raced in and painted the same color gold as it wore when it raced at Le Mans. Auction company RM Sotheby’s predicts that at the auction at Monterey it will bring in bids anywhere from $9 to $12 million USD.

Who said you can’t buy a piece of history?

The GT40 did not rest on its laurels after the ’66 placing. In 1967 it was pressed back into action for the Daytona 24 Hours and the Le Mans Test where Mark Donohue and 1966 winner Bruce McLaren set the 5th fastest time. Since then chassis 1016 has been restored to its striking gold and Day-Glo livery used at LeMans in 1966. It is said to be owned by a Swiss enthusiast, who is ever present at the LeMans Classic.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

Wallace Wyss

 
 
 
THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on Shelby and the ‘60s Ford vs. Ferrari battles. He can be reached at Photojournalistpro2@Gmail.com

 
 

All photos compliments of RM Sotheby’s.

 

 

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Ford GT40 Mk II At Auction In Monterey
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Ford GT40 Mk II At Auction In Monterey
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RM Sotheby's estimates that at the auction in Monterey this important Ford GT40 race car will bring in bids anywhere from $9 to $12 million.
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