Road-Legal 1966 Ford GT40 Is a Green Time Capsule

1966 Ford GT40 13 photos
Photo: Tom Hartley Jnr
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The Ford GT40 is famous for being the first American car to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It also won the event four times in a row (1966-1969), putting an end to Ferrari's domination in the prototype endurance category.
The GT40 was designed exclusively as a race car, but some examples were built in road-legal spec. This green-painted unit is one of them, and it looks like it just left Carroll Shelby's shop back in 1966.

If you're not familiar with the story, Ford commissioned Carroll Shelby to build a race car that would defeat Ferrari at Le Mans. The decision came after Ford made an offer to buy Ferrari, but Enzo refused to include the racing outfit in the deal. The GT40 was born and Ford made history at Le Mans.

Some 105 examples were built from 1964 to 1969. It included six official variants of the race car, a few prototypes, and even a few road-legal examples. Records indicate that 30 of them were built like that or converted from race to road use. However, most of them were eventually modified for racing, so this specific car is one of only a handful that retained their road-legal specs.

And it's probably the most authentic too, as it boasts numbers-matching parts, as confirmed by its Ford Vehicles Production Car Record papers, and comes with original fuel and oil lines, cams, and valves. It's also complete with its original luggage boxes, as well as the original brochure and dealer handbook.

The GT40 sports chassis number P/1057, making it an MkI model. This was the early version of the GT40, produced from 1964, and raced intensively until 1965. Ford won its first 24 Hours of Le Mans with the MkII. Then, as the FIA ruled out the MkII's 7.0-liter V8, the MkI was brought back with a 4.9-liter engine and won the race in 1968 and 1969.

This road-spec MkI looks almost identical to the race car. Sure, it was fitted with side mirrors, and some vents were redesigned, but it is essentially a race-ready GT40 without a livery. It's also painted in Warwick Green, a rather unusual color for the GT40. The seats come wrapped in black leather, probably the only comfort feature compared to the race-spec GT40. Under the hood lurks a 4.7-liter V-8 that cranks out in excess of 400 horsepower.

This car was sold for an unspecified sum by British exotic car specialist Tom Hartley Jnr. It might not have the racing pedigree of the Le Mans-winning cars, but it's probably the cleanest example in existence. Definitely worth more than $3 million based on GT40 auctions from the past.
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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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