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Monday, September 28, 2015

This Ford GT40 Kept the Breed Alive into the ‘90s



The Ford GT40 is nothing short of an institution in the world of motor racing. These iconic Blue Oval racers took the fight to Ferrari at Le Mans, won the race four years on the trot in the 1960s, and proved a dominating force at circuits the world over. 
Famously, the GT40 likeness has returned in recent years: first, the Ford GT of 2005 and 2006, followed by the all-new 2017 GT. But interestingly there’s more to the GT story, and it’s a tale that this car tells—a 1992 Ford GT40 Mk V Spyder. It was built as an official continuation model using the original GT40 tools, molds, and plans. It’s also said to be the lightest GT40 ever built.

The rare specimen will cross the Auctions America block at Hilton Head on October 31, and it’s expected to fetch between $300,000 and $350,000 for its GT heritage.


To call this a “replica” wouldn’t quite do it justice. The Mk V GT40 (original series ended at Mk IV) was the result of an agreement between Edsel Ford II and a group of motorsport veterans interested in bringing the storied GT back to life.

Edsel gave a nod to the project and pointed the group toward John Willment of J.W. Automotive, who had retained the GT40’s rights and much of its original tooling, plans, and new-old stock spare parts. Under the banner of associate Peter Thorp’s company, Safir Engineering, a new line of GT40s came to life, all of which bore original Ford chassis numbers.

This particular car was actually built for Thorp himself, and derived styling elements from the famous Ford GT40 X-1 that won the ’66 12 Hours of Sebring. While many of the Safir-built cars sport steel bodies, this GT is one of two to don an all aluminum body, allowing it to tip the scales at a scant 1,889 pounds.


Power for the Mk V Spyder comes courtesy of a 5.3-liter Ford V8, which shuttles 425 horsepower to the ground through a ZF five-speed gearbox, while stopping power is managed by four wheel disc brakes within period BRM knock-off wheels. All told, this car may not have been given the Shelby touch, but it’s still a jaw-dropping creation and it retains a spot in the GT40 registry.

Photo Credit: Drew Shipley, Auctions America