loading Loading please wait....

Ford GT40: Buying guide and review (1964-1969)

Ford GT40 buying guide (1964-1969) Ford GT40 buying guide (1964-1969) Ford GT40 buying guide (1964-1969) Ford GT40 buying guide (1964-1969) Ford GT40 buying guide (1964-1969)
History records that the Ford GT40 programme was a prime example of the old adage ‘Don’t get mad, get even’. In 1963, word had reached Ford headquarters in Dearborn via Ford of Germany that Enzo Ferrari was anxious to sell his company.
 
Strapped for cash in a downturn in the Italian economy, Ferrari hoped that Ford would take over the production of road cars, which he had always found a diversion from the real business of racing, while leaving him in charge of the Scuderia Ferrari racing division. Ford, on the other hand, was itching to go endurance racing following the collapse of an interdiction on participation in motor sport that had hamstrung members of the American Automobile Manufacturers’ Association since 1957. 
 
Under the proposed agreement, Ford would market Ford-Ferrari cars, while Enzo would be in charge of the Ferrari-Ford racing division, with Ford making maximum capital of the publicity and engineering developments arising from its racing activities. Negotiations for a takeover had seemingly gone well, and the deal was due to be announced on 23 May but, in his imperious way, Ferrari – who thought the deal had been sealed with a handshake and then found that the Ford lawyers were drawing up formal documents for signature – had called it off at the very last minute.
 
Smarting from the rebuff, Henry Ford II and Lee Iacocca drew up plans to build a car to beat Ferrari where it hurt, at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
 
It was decided from the outset that the car would be powered by an American Ford V8 and that it would be designed at Ford’s American design centre, in Dearborn. But its construction took place in the UK; the glassfibre body panels were constructed in England while the cars were assembled in Slough, at Ford’s Advanced Vehicle factory. 
 
The GT40 was based on a Lola V8-powered prototype designed by Eric Broadley. It had run in the 1963 Le Mans 24-Hour race, but didn’t finish. Lola’s racer provided the strong steel monocoque around which were hung the glassfibre panels. The car was initially known as the GT, but because it stood all of 40 inches high it became known as the GT40. 
 
Which one to buy?
 
GT40s rarely come onto the market because most are in long-term ownership. When they do come up for sale they’re invariably traded behind closed doors so thumbing through the classifieds is unlikely to net you anything. 
 
Just 133 GT40s were built in all. Most were built for track use but a handful of road cars were also produced. While the GT40 doesn’t make an especially civilised road car, it does offer immense performance with jaw-dropping looks. The road cars were softened compared with their racer counterparts. They still had four Weber carburettors, but the camshafts weren’t quite so wild, the exhaust ran a lot quieter and they also feature more forgiving suspension. 
 
People buy GT40s for one of two reasons – to race or as an investment. What they don’t do is buy a GT40 for road use because frankly, these cars are too compromised – and also too valuable – for that. If you fancy a GT40 for road use, buy the best car you can find, then look after it and buy a superb replica to drive on the road. It’ll be less compromised and as a result it’ll be more enjoyable to drive. Besides – drive a genuine GT40 on the road and everyone will assume it’s a replica anyway. 
 
Performance and specs
 
Engine 4738cc, V8
Power 306bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 329lb ft @ 4200rpm
Top speed 164mph
0-60mph 5.3sec
Fuel consumption 13mpg
Gearbox Five-speed manual
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2413mm
Length 4064mm
Width 1778mm
Height 1029mm
Kerb weight 910kg
 
Common problems
 
• The key thing about the GT40 is that while restoration costs can be extremely high, the value of these cars means it still makes financial sense to undertake a complete body restoration or an engine rebuild. 
 
• Derbyshire-based Gelscoe Motorsport can make any GT40 part you’re ever likely to need, using the original drawings so it’s an exact match. They hold a complete set of blueprints for the GT40, from the days when it was still a Lola project. 
 
• Original cars can corrode spectacularly, especially in the pontoons where the fuel tanks are located. Water and dirt get in via the wheelarches and lower radius arm tubes, which then eats its way through the inner and outer sills. 
 
• Crash damage is likely – with accompanying poor repairs. The chassis consists of 365 separate parts and replacing some of them means stripping the car down completely. For example, replacing the sills means removing the roof at the A-pillars – which isn’t always done. 
 
• All GT40 engines are tough and simple, so they’re relatively cheap to overhaul. If you’re buying a competition car, check how much work the engine has done since it was last rebuilt – and also who has worked on it. 
 
• The braking and suspension systems are strong, but again, racing takes its toll so establish what has been to the car and when. If you’re planning to compete in the car, assume you’ll have to get the suspension uprights and alloy wheels crack tested before long, to make sure they’re in good condition. 
 
• The bladder fuel tanks that live in the sills have to be replaced periodically – and it’s not a five-minute job. Find out when they were last replaced, when they next need to be renewed and get a quote for the work. It won’t be cheap. 
 
• The history of any genuine GT40 is well documented, so before you buy you should be able to pin down everything you’re likely to want to know about any potential purchase. Your first port of call should be the Shelby American World Registry – and it’s also worth investing in a copy of Ronnie Spain’s book GT40, which documents each of the factory cars. 
 
Model history 
 
1963: The Lola GT (Mk6) is shown at the London Racing Car Show. Ford takes over this programme later in the year, having failed in its quest to buy Ferrari. 
1964: The GT40 makes its race debut in the Nurburgring 1000kms and later competes at Le Mans. The car proves fast but fragile in both. 
1965: The programme steps up a gear; now run by Shelby American, the first production cars are built in Slough. The GT40 claims its first race victory at Daytona and a 7-litre car is unveiled. Six cars are entered in the Le Mans 24 Hours – but none finish. 
1966: A 1-2-3 win at Le Mans is compounded by victories at Sebring and Daytona. 
1967: JW Automotive takes over Ford’s Slough facility, to focus on building road-going cars. The J model racers continue to be built by Ford in the US, and it would be these which would take on Le Mans. Ford decides to quit while at the top, but in private hands the GT40 goes on to win in 1968 and again in 1969, with the Gulf Oil-sponsored ‘Mirage’ cars.
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.gt40enthusiastsclub.com
• www.gt40.co.uk
• www.gt40club.com
• www.gt40s.com
• www.clubgt40.org
• www.clubarnage.com
 
Summary and prices
 
Like any car of this type, value really depends on a multitude of factors, including race history and provenance. If you want one of the original Le Mans winners, than you could very well be looking to spend upwards of £5m, but any original GT40 today is valued at more than £2m. 
 
Thankfully, there are a number of excellent alternatives for a more modest budget. That’s not to say that a good recreation is cheap, be prepared to fork out upwards of £100,000 for something approaching a convincing replica. You can also have a lot of fun for less with a fibreglass car, which can be found from around £25,000.

 

Ford GT40 buying guide (1964-1969) Ford GT40 buying guide (1964-1969) Ford GT40 buying guide (1964-1969) Ford GT40 buying guide (1964-1969) Ford GT40 buying guide (1964-1969)
Last updated: 2nd Aug 2016
collapse this

Ford GT40 cars for sale

5 Search results
Ford GT40
45000 131950 GBP
  • Ford GT40 Safir

    POA POA

    2008 Safir GT40 Safir Parts sanctioned continuation GT40 built by Olthoff on a Superformance chassis with a Roush V8 producing 500hp and mated to a RBT ZF transaxle. The car is the first of the Safir Parts continuation models and holds GT40 chassis number GT40P2000, Mr. Carol Shelby received chassis GT40P2001. Having covered only 1500 miles the car stands in perfect order. Specification: Roush V8 FE on MSD distributor and ignition w/ 500 plus HP ZF RBT transaxle. Superformance Mk II specification chassis with Mk I body. Knock off hubs. Comp aluminium radiator w/ twin fans. Nose incorporates individual air path. Aluminium comp oil cooler. Quick release steering wheel. Willwood brakes. Correct Halibrand wheels on knock off hubs. Comp pedal box. Interior carpets. POA POA MAKE ENQUIRY First Name Surname Email Telephone Contact Address Company Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Address 4 Postcode Image Gallery prev next

    For sale
    Legends Automotive
    01451 821611 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • 1968 Ford GT40

    POA POA

    GT40 P/1079 was delivered new from Ford Advanced Vehicles (FAV) as one of the few privately entered factory built lightweight racing cars to Mr Jean Blaton from Brussels, Belgium. Compared to the road cars (which are today often rebuilt and used as race cars), the competition cars had a stronger race spec engine, a smaller, but improved clutch and a 140 litre fuel tank. They also featured a lighter flywheel and 25% stiffer suspension all around. Further the race cars were missing its interior trim, the door pockets, a radio, the heater and exhaust silencers compared to the normal road cars. As this car was one of the very late cars built by John Wyer, it belongs to the last series of GT40 which had slightly modified body parts and was lighter than any of the earlier cars. The original invoice, which comes with the car, proves that Blaton received the yellow car on the 20th April 1968 in Ostende, Belgium for the Ecurie Francorchamps. This was just in time to put the car on a transporter for the 1.000 km race in Monza. The drivers Willy Mairesse and “Jean Beurlys” (the racing name of Jean Blaton) qualified the car 6th on the grid, but had to stop the race after 89 laps due to wheel p

    • Year: 1968
    For sale
  • Ford GT40 by Roaring Forties

    £131,950 £131,950

    NEW PRICE The Ford GT40 was commissioned to end the Ferrari dominance of long distance racing (namely the famed 2h Hours of Le Mans) and to counter the refusal of Enzo Ferrari to sell Ferrari to Ford. Ford built two prototypes in 1964 that were launched in April of that year. The initial outings showed the promise of what was to come, although some fine tuning for reliability was needed. In 1965 Ford handed the project over to Carroll Shelby. The improved GT40 made its debut at the Daytona 2000 in 1965, finishing 1 st and 3 rd , and establishing the Ford GT40s as a genuine Le Mans contender, however the remainder of the 1965 season proved to be a disappointing one. In 1966 Ford came out swinging with the MK II, once again winning (and 2 nd and 3 rd ) at Daytona (now a 24hr race) and following that up with another 1, 2, 3 at Sebring. In June the Ford GT40’s lined up at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and, incredibly achieved another 1-2-3 result for Ford and ended the Ferrari dominance of the event. The Ford GT40 went on the win a total of 4 consecutive titles at the Circuit de la Sarthe, creating one of the most successful, respected and famous competition sports car of all time. This stri

    • Year: 1964
    For sale
  • Ford GT40 replica

    £45,000 £45,000

    Ford GT40 Mk1 replica Presenting a thoroughly engineered Mk1 GT40 replica for sale. Importantly this Tornado based car was constructed by a well respected Cambridge educated engineer and author some 20 years ago to an exceptional standard. Tornado TS40, registered 1996, approximately 6000-7000 miles. This car is optimised for fast road going, practicality and maybe the occasional track day rather than out-and-out racing. It is built to a very high standard and is a very good replica of the original car both externally and in the cockpit, whilst being well adapted to modern roads. Specification: Ford 302 small block with fast road cam and four barrel Holley 
 Over size clutch (Range Rover) with excellent feel and control. Car is easy to manoeuvre at low speed but has massive mid-range torque and great flexibility 
 Renault UN1 gearbox as used in Renault 21 Turbo with high fifth gear for relaxed cruising. 
 Road (not racing) brakes. 
 K&N air filter 
 Cockpit inner panelling in painted steel (mostly galvanised), rather than aluminium, for strength and fire resistance 
 Firewall between cockpit and engine compartment is double skinned for heat and sound 
deadening 
 Effective air cond

    For sale
  • Ford GT40 Mk 2 FIA

    POA POA

    On offer is this highly competitive GT40 Mk 2 continuation built to the highest standards in 2009. Based on a Superformance tub that has been reinforced. Suspension, brakes and uprights are all original specification and FIA approved. The 427 big block was built by and refreshed in 2011 by Euroamerican Engineering rated at 560 HP. The dry sump system holds 14 kilos of oil and the petrol tanks hold a total of 112 litres. The transaxle is freshly rebuilt and is oil cooled. The car has been successfully campaigned in the Historic Italian Championships at tracks including Monza, Imola, Varona, Magione, Vallelunga etc. Accolades include a win at the 300 Kilometers of Vallelunga driven by the great Mario Casoni and Alex Spagna. An opportunity to acquire a highly developed and race winning GT40 Mk 2 that is eligible for many desirable GT and endurance events. Documents include current log book, FIA HTP and Italian road registration. In absolute stunning condition! POA MAKE ENQUIRY First Name Surname Email Telephone Contact Address Company Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Address 4 Postcode Image Gallery prev next

    For sale
Related Specification
Related content