Ford’s offensive at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the 1960s left deep traces in our collective memory, both by its extent and its significance. It was above all the story of a memorable duel between a « giant » of the automotive industry and Ferrari. This highly publicised confrontation gave rise to one of the most legendary competition cars of our post-war era: the Ford GT 40. Five decades later, its ideal lines still evoke some of the most beautiful pages of the history of the « 24 Hours ».Inspired by the Lola GT, the car’s structure was made of thin steel sheet, on which a particularly low profiled body (its height of 40 inches gave the car its official name: « GT 40 ») made of laminated fibreglass panels, was placed. With a more streamlined body than that of the Lola GT, this body particularly distinguished itself by its front and rear hoods that also cover the wings and open in one piece to facilitate the mechanics’ access to all the essential components.As for mechanics, the Ford V8 from the series, which was extensively reworked for the 500 Miles of Indianapolis, was chosen. Made entirely of aluminium (the standard engine is made of cast iron), this « small block », powered by four Weber double-body carburettors, provides 350 horsepower at 7200 rpm.The new rules, allowing homologation in Group 4 (Sports) as from a production of at least 50 cars of the same model, introduced by the FIA for the season of 1966, allowed the manufacturer to build a car almost « à la carte » that, according to that same manufacturer, could exceed 260 km/h and accelerate from 0 to 100 in less than 6 seconds, which placed it among the most brilliant Grand Tourism machines of that time. In the end about thirty « civilian » GT 40s were sold, the rest (more than 80 « racing » versions manufactured between 1964 and 1968) being intended for competition. It was in Slough, England, that this very special production was centralised and sold, following the customer’s preference, in the « civil » or « racing » version. This GT40, with its 1055 chassis, is one of these rare street versions, one of the first 8 manufactured, and was initially used as a promotional car for Ford in the USA. Afterwards, it became the property of Edsel Ford, the great-grandson of Henri Ford, the founder. Its history is perfectly documented, it has been completely restored in 2011 for its English owner who participated in historical competitions with it. After being repainted in 2018, it joined Breitt-Gallery at the end of 2019.
Ford GT 40 MKI “street version” 1966 (one of only 32 manufactured)
289 V8 Ford engine, 4.7 l, 370 hp
From 265 to 320 km/h depending on the axle gear ratio