1966 Ford GT 40
Shelby American (used for promotional purposes)
Noller Motors, Topeka, Kansas (acquired from Ford in 1967)
Nick Nero, Kansas City, Missouri (acquired from the above in 1967)
William Vernon Shields, Los Angeles, California (acquired from the above in 1968)
Nick Nero, Kansas City, Missouri (reacquired from the above in 1970)
Ron Stafford, Lee’s Summit, Missouri (acquired from the above in 1971)
David Jungerman, Raytown, Missouri (acquired from the above in 1972)
Robert Ash, Norcross, Georgia (acquired from the above in 1984)
Greg Whitten, Bellevue, Washington (acquired from the above in 1992)
Current Owner (acquired from the above)
SAAC-11, Dearborn, Michigan, July 1986 (First in Class)
GT40 25th Anniversary Reunion, Watkins Glen, New York, September 1989
GT40 30th Anniversary Reunion, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, July 1994
Kirkland Concours d’Elegance, Kirkland, Washington, September 2010
David Hodges, , pictured on p. 116
Ronnie Spain, , pictured and discussed
Shelby American Automobile Club,
The legend of Ford’s world-class, Ferrari-beating GT40 abounds with remarkable accomplishments and famous names. Four straight Le Mans wins, record lap times by Phil Hill, and the managerial guidance of Lee Iacocca, Carroll Shelby, and John Wyer contributed to a spectacular tale. Though the story has been recounted time and again without losing its appeal, it sometimes does not fully illustrate the degree to which the GT40 truly shrugged off existing paradigms to force the motorsports world to reconsider its preconceptions of GT racing and the capabilities of American engineering and design.
This lovely Mk I, chassis GT40 1057, is one of just 31 road cars built by Ford Advanced Vehicles in 1966 as a road-going variant of the GT40. Prized then and now for their style and performance, the Mk I road cars offer an attractive combination of the cosmetics of the racing Mk I, with the relative practicality and creature comforts that were built into them for road use.
As documented by the Shelby American Registry, this GT40 was shipped to Ford on December 12, 1966, and was originally painted Warwick Green. The “trim details” panel of the build sheet simply read “Road Car Specifications,” and the engine was noted as “289 High Performance (Webers),” number SGT/18. One of 20 cars originally retained for promotional use by Ford, 1057 is also among just six road cars to be assigned to Shelby American Motors for their field managers to take around the country and promote the model with dealers. It appears in lovely photographs taken at Ford Advanced Vehicles of a small group of new Mk I road cars that appeared in David Hodges’ book, .
The registry states the Mk I was sold to Noller Motors of Topeka, Kansas, for $8,750, before finding its first private owner, Nick Nero of Kansas City, Missouri, in 1967. Mr. Nero painted the car light metallic blue and would own the GT40 twice in its early life, first selling it to William Vernon Shields of Los Angeles, who used it regularly, before repurchasing it in 1970. In 1971, Mr. Nero sold 1057 to Ron Stafford of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, who repainted the car green. Mr. Stafford regularly used his GT40 on spirited drives and at one point put the car into a ditch, damaging the nose. David Jungerman of nearby Raytown, Missouri, would purchase 1057 in damaged condition in 1972, storing it for the next 12 years while occasionally advertising the GT40 for sale. In 1984, Robert Ash of Norcross, Georgia, bought the Ford with the intent of restoring it to as close to new condition as possible. Mr. Ash was already a renowned restorer of Shelby Cobras, and he used the restoration of this car to gain significant acclaim, eventually restoring some of the world’s most important GT40s and becoming an authority on the model.
The Mk I was found by Mr. Ash to be in wonderfully original condition, a result of the car’s years in storage before his purchase. 1057 was completely disassembled and treated to an incredibly accurate and fastidious restoration. The damaged bodywork and front portion of the tub were repaired and NOS parts were used to create a seamless appearance. Period-correct BRM alloy wheels were sourced and, along with widened rear bodywork, give the GT40 a purposeful appearance that cannot be replicated by the standard car. Mr. Ash kept the original Borrani wheels and period Goodyear tires and they, along with a spare tail, accompany the car at auction.
Every effort was made to retain original components, and 1057 remains one of very few examples to retain such details as correct valve covers, Weber carburetors, exhaust system, oil/water/fuel hoses and clamps, comfort weave seat upholstery, Wilton carpeting, spare tire, hand-stamped body identification tags, GKN British bolts, and color-coded coil-spring markings. When finished, Mr. Ash showed the GT40 to great acclaim at numerous events, including the SAAC-11 meet in Dearborn, Michigan, where 1057 earned First in Class, and the GT40 25th Anniversary Reunion at Watkins Glen, New York.
Mr. Ash advertised the Mk I for sale in 1991, and the next year sold the car to noted Seattle-based collector and racer Greg Whitten, where the GT40 would be part of a spectacular collection of postwar sports and racing cars.
Mr. Whitten’s fastidious ownership would last for approximately 25 years, during which time the car was cared for by specialists. He proudly displayed 1057 at events including the GT40 30th Anniversary Reunion at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, where the Mk I was used both on the track and the show field. Always reveling in the authentic presentation and originality that Mr. Ash had preserved in his stunning restoration, Mr. Whitten’s affection for his GT40 was plain to see.
In 2016, the GT40 was sold to the consignor, who has a stable of incredible exotic machinery on the East Coast. He has enjoyed exercising 1057 on winding country roads at speed. The car has since benefited from the addition of extremely scarce factory aluminum “luggage” boxes that were sourced from the car’s restorer, Mr. Ash. These are said by Mr. Ash to be the only set he knows of in existence. Also included with the car is an ultra-scarce original copy of the Ford High Performance Dealers’ Handbook, sourced by the consignor, which includes specs and photographs of the GT40 and was used by dealers to provide information to prospective purchasers of these rare machines. The previously applied side stripes and “FORD GT” graphics were removed to more accurately reflect the appearance of the road cars when new. These desirable items only bolster what is already an impressively presented GT40 Mk I.
Today, 1057 remains among the top examples of the group of 31 road cars built, and offers all of the character that one could expect from one of these enduring legends. The consignor reports that 1057 retains its matching-numbers engine, and that the restoration work completed in the late 1980s has required little upkeep to remain at a very high standard since completion, a hallmark of quality execution. The cosmetic condition remains stunning, and the car has a presence not felt when viewing comparable examples. Whether used for static display, road touring, or vintage racing competition, this GT40 Mk I remains a unique, recognizable, and desirable addition to any collection.
Well respected in the GT40 community, 1057 displays all of the attributes one looks for in the pursuit of an authentic Mk 1. As so many of these cars have been raced, rebuilt and compromised, the originality and clear, continuous history of 1057, a road car from new, is seldom found.
Dream cars come in many forms, and for an aficionado of the sports and racing cars of the 1960s, there are certainly many remarkable examples from which to choose. The GT40 must be placed near the top of any list when style, substance, and historical significance are equally weighed. An absolutely game-changing combination of American and British ingenuity, the GT40 remains, as it always has been, a car without peer.