Many American car manufacturers built vehicles in the 1960’s designed specifically for NASCAR or Super Stock Drag Racing. One car in particular however was designed for a much different purpose - to put an end to Ferrari’s dominance at Le Mans. This car was the legendary Ford GT40.
In the 1960’s, Ferrari was interested in selling their company. Henry Ford II was interested in purchasing Ferrari in order to have an established Supercar brand in the companys portfolio. In 1963, Ford flew to Italy to meet with Enzo Ferrari and discuss buying Ferrari. Everything was going well until talks about Ferrari’s racing division ensued.
Ford didn’t want Ferrari to compete against them in the Indy 500, while Enzo wanted to keep control of his racing division and compete in the Indy 500. Unable to come to an agreement, Enzo cancelled the whole deal. This did not make Ford happy, since he had already spent millions working on the deal. When he arrived back in the U.S., he decided to get back at Ferrari and to do so by beating them at Le Mans.
Partnering with Lola, a British race car manufacturer, Ford set out to outrun everything in Europe. It only took a year of development and the 1964 Ford GT40 was born. Ford not only beat Ferrari, but won four consecutive Le Mans races from 1966-1969.
A prototype of the very GT40 drafted in Ford’s vendetta, called the GT108 has recently popped up. This prototype is one of only four roadsters ever built and she is set to cross the block at RM auctions in Monterrey, California this August. The GT108 was used as a test bed for the race cars and has been driven by many famous drivers including Carrol Shelby, Jim Clark, Ken Miles, and Dick Attwood.
In 2012 a GT40 driven by Steve McQueen in the movie Le Mans, sold for $11 million. That car was not a prototype car, so this GT108 fetching 8 figures should be no surprise.
By: Joshua Kashinsky
Image Source: RM Auctions