1967 Ford MustangGT 390 Coupé GR 1 Ecurie Ford France
Year of manufacture1967
Chassis no. 7T01S133885
- Formerly owned by Jean-Philippe Smet, aka Johnny Hallyday
- Competed in several events for the Ford France team
- Superbly preserved condition
- 2nd at Montlhéry in 1967
- 25 000 kms from new
"I was blown away by this newcomer's driving!" exclaimed Lucien Bianchi, the day after the 1967 Monte-Carlo Rally, in which Johnny Hallyday had taken part as Henri Chemin's team-mate in the Ford France team. His participation, however, was not a given and in the weeks before the famous rally, the press related the shilly-shallying between the singer and Ford. But Johnny was there at the start, and although his licence only allowed him to drive on the liaison sections, his fans were hysterical every time Mustang no.105 pulled up.
Without Chemin, the head of Ford France, the operation could never have gone ahead. And despite a rather unfair disqualification before the final special stages relating to the tyres, the publicity generated by Johnny's involvement delighted Ford France.
The car used by the crew did not belong to Johnny, but his contract specified that he had to buy a Gr 1 Mustang and compete in at least three sporting events in 1967. This is the car we are presenting, registered new on 10 May 1967 in the name of Jean-Philippe Smet as 31 E 92. It is amusing to note too that at the same time Johnny used a Mustang GT 390 Fastback, registered 92 E 92, as his everyday car.
The car on offer here is one of the 12 Mustang coupés entered in competition in 1967 by the Ford France team, which oversaw their preparation to Gr 1 spec. The car was handed over to Ford's race car builder at the time, Holman Moody, who lowered and modified the suspension, fitting Koni shock absorbers. The 390 ci (6390cc) V8, the biggest Mustang engine, was probably tuned in the same way as this 390 specialist generally did: the crankshaft and con rods would have been balanced, the intake manifolds polished and the head possibly rebored, the oil flow and cooling improved and the fuel supply modified. The car then went to GAO in St-Germain-en-Laye, where Michel Martin (a Ford Mustang and GT40 racer) put the finishing touches to it, fitting long-range driving lamps, a rally horn and specific items of interior equipment.
A 400 W S.E.V. Motorola alternator was fitted as well as 3 Jaeger gauges and several switches on the consol.
Modified in this way, Johnny drove the car in three events in 1967: on 4 May, the Autun hill-climb (2nd in Gr 1), on 18 May, the ACIF Cup at Montlhéry (2nd in Gr 1, ahead of Hubert Wayaffe, also driving a Ford France Mustang) and on 15 August, the Mont-Dore hill-climb (6th in Gr 1). These very respectable results showed the singer's natural gift for motorsport, a talent he would demonstrate on other occasions, such as the 2002 Paris-Dakar Rally.
After this season with the Ford France team, the car changed hands several times until it was acquired by its current owner's grandfather during the 1990s. At the time, he bought three Mustangs to set aside for his grandsons; he was attracted to this car by its good original condition, without knowing of its prestigious first owner. When he passed away, his grandson inherited the car and handed it over to Alain Serpagli, a longstanding Mustang specialist, to be checked over and recommissioned in his Atelier Mustang in Nanterre. Intrigued by the car's performance and certain details, Serpagli did some research and uncovered the identity of this Mustang and how it had been owned by the "Idole des jeunes".
Following this fantastic discovery, the GT 390 coupé was repainted in the same Ford France team colours that the French rocker had known: Wimbledon white with a blue bonnet, blue stripes and black wheels. On 27 November 2018, the factory build sheet was even found behind the instruments, confirming that the car was genuine and providing full details of its production. Remarkably well preserved, it is the only Mustang from the Ford France team to survive in its original configuration. With just 25,000 km (16,000 miles) since new, it is still fitted with its original, tuned engine and corresponds perfectly to the spec of a Group 1 car, namely a production model with some improvements, as authorised in FIA form 529. Johnny's adventures in motorsport were told in a great many press articles and some TV reports, including one filmed inside this very car, when he was preparing for the Autun hill-climb and admitted: "Racing gives me the same thrill as when I am on stage … you have to put up a fight."
It is extraordinary that this car, which might have been written off, had it gone on to a longer career in competition, should have come through the last 50 years without incident. That alone must be some kind of miracle. The fact that it also once belonged to the most popular French singer ever makes it a truly exceptional example, a witness to the twin worlds of motorsport and showbiz. It is rare to come across an object which symbolizes so completely the meeting of these two equally fascinating worlds. There can be no doubt that buyers will recognise its exceptional character.
For more information and photos: https://www.artcurial.com/fr/lot-1967-ford-mustang-gt-390-coupe-gr-i-ex-johnny-hallyday-ecurie-ford-france-3980-121