Ford GT40 Sport Classic Cars Model MK1 1966 – Before you scream of blasphemy, let us remind you that Ford GT40 is not the similarly looking and upon which it is based car called Ford GT. The former was a special breed produced as Ford’s response to Ferrari and designed to win long-distance sports car races in the second half of 1960s, which it did in grandeur manner.
Ford FT40 managed to win 24 Hours Le Mans four consecutive times in 1966 – 1969. The most notable victory was in 1966 when three of them finished first, second, and third; impressive. The car also ended Ferrari’s domination in the race event for the previous six years from 1960 to 1965. To make things even more dramatic, Ferrari actually has never tasted the glory of being first in the race again since then.
Production started in 1964 and the car was designated Mk I. Initial prototypes were fitted with 4.2L V8 and production models received a tune-up to increase power by using the same engine as Ford Mustang at that time. Despite the upgrades, early Ford GT40 had little success in Le Mans races.
Five prototype models were made; one of them was the X-1 variant. Built to enter the Fall 1965 North American Pro Series, the underlying purpose was to test several improvements from McLaren, Shelby, as well as Kar Kraft. The X1 went on and eventually was victorious in 12 Hours of Sebring in 1966. It was an experimental car, and later custom officials ordered it to be destroyed.
While from the outside there was no difference at all between Ford GT40 Mk II and its predecessor, they had pretty big difference on the inside. This second generation used 7.0L V8 engine taken from Ford Galaxie; it was also the same engine used for NASCAR but modified for road-going purpose, of course. Even the chassis was more or less the same, but Carroll Shelby did some changes so it could accommodate the larger and heavier engine. It was this car that destroyed Ferrari’s domination by finishing first, second, and third in 1966 Le Mans. Ford GT40 went on to win the same race for the next three consecutive years but with different models.
Unlike its two older siblings, the Ford GT40 Mk III was strictly built for the road. Instead of using the large and heavy 7.0L V8, the third generation is fitted with smaller 4.7L engine that produced 335 horsepower. Shock absorbers were also softened because speed bump has been irritating even in the old days and the rear part was expanded to make space for weekly shopping. Shift lever was moved to the center, left-side steering wheel was available, and even an ash tray was added. All in all, Ford GT40 Mk III was trying to be more civilized. Ford built 7 GT40 MK III units.
J-Car and Mk IV
To meet the Appendix J regulation issued by FIA in 1966, Ford developed improved version of the GT40 with lighter weight, better aerodynamics, and the 7.0L engine. It did not end well for Ford because the car generated too much excess lift force. Nine cars were made, and later six of them were designated as Mk IV and one as G7A. Ford took the chassis of the J-car, reinforced it, and used it in the GT40 Mk IV. Some major parts were also taken from Ford GT40 Mk II including engine, brakes, gearbox, and suspension parts. In all other areas, however, the fourth generation was totally different. It had specific chassis, bodywork, roll cage, and honeycomb panel. The Mk IV ran only in two races: 1967 12 Hours of Sebring and the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans, and it won both events.
Ford GT40 Mk V was not designed and produced by Ford, but a collaboration of two engineering firms: Safir Engineering and JW Engineering. Although it was built by external companies, the design and styles were pretty identical to the Mk I. The car featured lightweight body by using aluminum honeycomb chassis and carbon fiber bodywork. Various engines were used, and the top performer was 5.7L V8 with a total power output of 440 horsepower.
Throughout its production years, there were only 105 units of Ford GT40 built. Every single one of them is rare piece of motoring masterpiece and probably best representative of what an American classic car could do. There will be no more Ford GT40, but there is now the next best thing built based on it; the Ford GT.
Many will agree that Ford GT40 was purpose-built vehicle, despite the road going models that came to the market in the third generation. Beginning as a concept car shown at 2002 Detroit Motor Show, Ford GT tried to revive the glory days of its twin older brother. In fact, Ford has revived the car twice; first in 2004 – 2006, and second in 2016. Ford GT is currently still in production but at limited 250-units annually until 2020.
First generation Ford GT was powered by 5.4L V8 that generated 550 horsepower. Second generation (currently in production) uses relatively smaller engine with 3.5L V6 but it is twin-turbocharged and complemented by Eco Boost; total power output is 647 horsepower. Ford GT 2017 and 2018 model year vehicles have all been reserved for selected buyers. If you are wondering about a new Ford GT price, the answer is revolving at around $400,000; no fooling around.