Original Ford GT40 Could Have Looked like This, '63 Sketches Found in Archive

Early Ford GT40 clay model 6 photos
Photo: Ford Performance
Early Ford GT40 sketchEarly Ford GT40 sketchEarly Ford GT40 sketchEarly Ford GT40 sketchEarly Ford GT40 clay model
Almost everybody knows the story of the Ford GT40 - after all, it was turned into a movie recently, which isn't something a lot of other models can brag about.
The Americans were tired of seeing Ferrari lift trophy after trophy in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, so they decided to put an end to it. A new car had to be developed from the ground up, and so work began on building the racer that would ultimately end Ferrari's streak in 1966 and begin one of its own with four consecutive victories.

The shape of the Ford GT40 as we know it now is so iconic that we can't really imagine it any other way. After all, we've had more than 54 years to get used to its curvy body and low silhouette, so don't expect that to change any time soon.

A recent Tweet from Ford Performance revealed a discovery worthy of a time capsule. Apparently, the company's archivists happened to find a set of early sketches of what was to become the GT40 project dated June 11, 1963. They show one other direction the endurance racer could have gone in, even though there are a few similarities with the version we ended up with.

The sketches show a car that looks a lot more European - Italian, to be more precise - resembling what was to become the Lancia Stratos to a certain degree. The aerodynamics look impressive with that pointy front end and swooping lines all the way to the rear. The cabin has a weird sudden drop toward the back, but that seems to have been ironed out on the clay model they produced only a few days later.

Ford obviously made the correct choices during the development of the GT40, and it has four 24 Hours of Le Mans victories to prove it. But it looks like it went the right way stylistically as well, even though a lot of those decisions were probably dictated by very practical reasons. After all, the company was after Ferrari's throat, not out to win any beauty contests.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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