'The GT40 Concept casts a familiar, sleek silhouette of its predecessor, yet every dimension, every curve and line on the car is a unique reinterpretation of the original. The GT40 features a long front overhang reminiscent of 1960s-era race-cars. But its sweeping cowl, subtle accent lines and fibre-optic headlamps strike a distinctly contemporary pose. Its new lines draw upon and refine the best features of GT40 history and express the car's original identity.' Ford Motor Company.
Based on Eric Broadley's Lola GT, the original Ford GT40 was spawned by the Dearborn giant's ambition to beat Ferrari at Le Mans, a feat it duly achieved for the first time in 1966. The GT40 project had commenced three years previously, following Ford's failed attempt to buy into Ferrari, and was based at the Ford Advanced Vehicles plant at Slough, England. The GT40 first ran competitively in 1964 but failed at Le Mans that year and again in 1965. That first sweet Le Mans victory would fall to the 7-litre MkII, with victory the following year going to a US-built MkIV 'J' car. (The GT40 MkIII was the British-built road-going version).
A decade later and the GT40's status as an all-time great classic sports car had been firmly established, leading to an increased demand for unmolested originals and the start of a replica-building industry. Perhaps the only surprise concerning the emergence of a reconstituted 'official' version is that it took Ford the best part of 40 years to get around to it.
The 'new generation' GT was developed by Ford's Special Vehicle Team Engineering department under the direction of John Coletti and Fred Goodnow. The composite body panels are unstressed, as on the original, but instead of the monocoque chassis construction used in the 1960s, SVT Engineering developed an all-new aluminium spaceframe combining extruded sections and panels. Doubling as fuel reservoirs, a pair of massive sills contributed much to the original's chassis stiffness, whereas the new GT40 relies on a centre-tunnel 'backbone' that greatly improves ease of entry and exit. The suspension design is an advance on the original's, consisting of unequal-length control arms and a pushrod/bell-crank system acting on horizontally mounted coil spring/damper units. Braking is handled by six-piston, Alcon callipers with cross-drilled and ventilated discs all round.
In defeating Ferrari's more highly stressed V12s, Ford proved that the traditional American V8 possessed all that was necessary to compete at the cutting edge of international endurance racing. A far cry from the simple pushrod units of the 1960s, today's supercharged MOD 5.4-litre V8 produces 550bhp at 5,250rpm and 500lb/ft of torque at 3,250 revs; figures on a par with those of the 7-litre engine that won at Le Mans in 1966 and 1967. The all-synchromesh six-speed transaxle uses ZF internals and was sourced from RBT Transmissions, who's founder Roy Butfoy had been a member of Ford's racing team at Le Mans.
The interior features leather-upholstered, Recaro bucket seats with aluminium ventilation grommets embedded into the panels. The instrument layout follows the original's, comprising analogue gauges and a large tachometer complemented by modern versions of the traditional toggle switches.
Back in 1966, the Ford GT40 endurance racer became the first car to exceed 200mph along the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans. Matching that would be some achievement for the production road car, even allowing for nearly 40 years of technological progress. Tested for Motor Trend magazine by Indycar racing legend Bryan Herta, the new Ford GT duly topped 200mph at Ford's Kingman test facility in Arizona, emphatically demonstrating that it was indeed worthy of that famous name.
This left-hand drive GT is one of 101 examples specially built by Ford for the European market, only 28 of which were destined for the UK like this one. Its first owner was Sir Anthony Bamford (now Lord Bamford), Chairman of the world famous J C Bamford Excavators Ltd (JCB), which is listed as first keeper in the registration document. The current (second) owner purchased the GT via motor dealer William Loughran in February 2006.
Finished in black with matching interior and equipped with all the usual refinements, this beautiful Ford GT has covered a mere 800-or-so miles from new and is presented in 'as new' condition in every respect. The car is offered with MoT to August 2016 and UK V5C registration document.