Ford GT40 is legendary. So, are the most recent incarnations in the form of the Ford GT, the 40 was dropped. But, many people have not heard of the Ford GT Roadster. That is because they are rare. One such example of the Ford is now up for auction and is expected to easily bring more than $7 million.
The Ford GT40 development vehicle
The Ford GT40 was developed in response to Henry Ford II’s desire to beat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of LeMans. That is exactly what the car did. That is how the car became legendary. But, what is not as well known is that the GT40 was helped with development testing from the GT Roadster just one year prior to the GT40s historic win at LeMans.
This Ford GT Roadster is one of two remaining
The 1965 GT Roadster was an open-top racecar that also participated in the 24 Hours of LeMans. According to Autoclassics.com, only five of the prototype roadster racecars were ever created. Of those five prototypes, two remain. But, only one of them actually competed in the famed race.
“Completed on June 9, , GT/109 shared many of the modifications performed to the Daytona-winning Miles and Ruby car, including Halibrand magnesium wheels in place of the factory-installed Borrani wire wheels, front corner air dams and a Cobra-spec 289 CI engine connected to a ZF 5-speed gearbox.”
This GT Roadster has only had three owners. The listing on Mecum Auctions highlights a few more things about the car’s history.
- Entered at Le Mans in 1965 by Ford of France with drivers Maurice Trintignant and Guy Ligier
- Shipped back to Shelby American with a work order to ‘rebuild after Le Mans’
- Sent to Kar Kraft to be used as a development vehicle for the J-Car, Kar Kraft’s automatic transmission, Ford’s Weber-carburetor four-cam Indy motor, various other engine configurations, and brakes applications
- Acquired from Ford in 1968 by Dean Jeffries, who kept the car until 2013
- Featured in a 1983 video by Armour Production
- Professional restoration by Harley Cluxton III to Concours standards in the original Le Mans livery
- 2nd in Class at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, finished 2nd to the 1966 Le Mans Winner
- Equipped with the HiPo 289 gifted from Shelby to Jeffries
- Ownership history includes: Ford/Shelby, Dean Jeffries, and Dana Mecum
Bidding is open
The Mecum Auctions in Indianapolis is currently accepting bids for the car labeled as, Lot K129. Bidding will end Saturday, July 11th. Currently, the bid is at $75,000. But, that will change rapidly as July 11th nears.
The GT programs that developed the GT Roadster, the GT40, and the GT70 put Ford on the international racing scene in a big way. The GT Roadster, although often overlooked, can not be forgotten for its pivotal aid in the development of the LeMans winning offspring. This car is a significant piece of history that is integral to the GT40s success. Not surprisingly, it is expected to be a big draw to the auction, and bring in a hefty sum north of seven million dollars.