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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Get Ford GT40 Performance for Less Than You’d Expect


Copyright © 2015 Bold Ride LLC.

For many Blue Oval fans, there’s just no greater four-wheeled creation than the legendary Ford GT40. These low-slung racers vaulted Ford into the sports car history books and are remembered fondly as the cars that “took it to Ferrari,” and won.
As it would be, only a small handful were ever built, approximately 133 cars, and those tend to fetch a pretty penny. In fact, Hagerty values ’66 GT40s from $3 million and up. But you can get GT40 ‘go’ without breaking the bank, and here’s a prime example.

It may look like a late ‘60s Ford, but this car—a Bailey GT40—is actually a 2008 replica hailing from South Africa. It packs a Ford Racing V8, steel space frame chassis, and loads of period GT technology. It recently popped up on eBay and while it’s by no means “cheap,” it is a bit more feasible than the multi-million dollar alternative.


According to Bailey Sports Racing Cars, which also recreates the Porsche 917 and even builds a Le Mans prototype racer, the GT40 replica was first conceived in 2002 to be historically faithful to the original design, but also evolve the breed. As such, cabin space has been increased, the independent suspension geometry reworked, and chassis weight has been shaved. Lift up the car’s rear clamshell and you’ll still find the calling card “bundle of snakes” exhaust, however it now bolts into a more modern 351 Ford Racing engine running downdraft Weber carburetors.

Shift work is handled by a Quaife five-speed transaxle, and if it’s geared anywhere close to the original cars, you can expect top speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour. Not what you’d call slow. A set of 16-inch five-spoke wheels shoe the car, sans knock-off caps, which hide chompy four-piston brakes and remote-reservoir Penske shocks. Aspirations of track driving? You’ll certainly have the fuel load to suit—the GT40 boasts dual fuel cells with 24 gallons to spare.


Inside, the car’s vintage-to-modern mantra is more apparent. The dashboard shape and layout follows the classic GT40 form, albeit updated with a treatment of leather and a GPS lap timer. Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon certainly didn’t have those luxuries when they won at Le Mans in 1966. The car has also been outfitted with six-point racing harnesses and a Cool Shirt system, ensuring you stay calm and collected while the Ford V8 roars behind your head.

Like its progenitor, this GT40 is a track star and is among a number of fantastic modern day reproductions, including the popular Superperformance GT40s. However, while this car is said to have been road legal in South Africa, that street legality may be a stumbling block on these shores.