Normally when we talk about a car on crankandpiston, there’s a theme or a standout motif. Any given Lamborghini for example we tend to go down the ‘fast and bonkers’ route, while a Ferrari is ‘Italian grace with an exhaust valve serenade’. With this Ford GT40 though, we’ve hit a bit of a stumbling block. There are just too many things we could focus on.
For starters, the GT40 won the Le Mans 24hrs four times on the bounce from 1966 to 1969. Let’s not forget that this was the car Ford designed to stick it to old man Enzo Ferrari after a planned sale of the Italian powerhouse went pearshaped at the last minute. Famously, the two-seater is also only 40-inches tall, which wouldn’t even make it to the beltline for most of us.
Then there’s this particular chassis – number P/1074 – that recently went up for auction. It secured the first victory for the now iconic power blue and mairgold Gulf livery at Spa-Francorchamps in 1967, won races as both a Mirage M.1003 (its earliest homogenization) and a GT40 – first in Spa ‘67 then at Monza one year later – and even scored victory with six-times Le Mans 24hrs winner Jacky Ickx behind the wheel.
See? That’s a lot of different starting points. And that’s before we’ve even started on the basics.
Powered by a 440bhp V8 engine with a cheeky five-speed manual transmission, and built using ‘super lightweight’ carbon filament aluminium bodywork, the then-Mirage M.1003 wiped the floor with its opposition under the J.W.A. Gulf Team banner. Regulation changes brought in by the FIA for 1968 sportscar racing though saw engine capacity reduce significantly, whereupon the car – once converted – was rechristened GT40 P/1074.