High hopes for classic sale
The Ford GT40 is a true collector’s item, writes PAUL GOVER
ACLASSIC 1960s Ford GT40 could be on the way to an Australian record. The retired racer is part of the privately owned Bowden collection of road and race cars, which includes 1970s touring cars raced by Allan Moffat, Ian Geoghegan and Norm Beechey. The price could easily top $2 million.
The GT40 was built so Ford could trump Ferrari at the Le Mans 24-hour race. It got its name because it was only 40 inches (about 1m) tall.
Bowden’s car is an early Mark I with a 289-cubic-inch V8 engine that was originally raced before being converted for road use. It is painted in dark pine green and comes with its original fibreglass bodywork. So, why is it up for sale? ‘‘It’s a road car and every time it goes out David taps his fingers with worry,’’ Chris Bowden says of his dad. ‘‘There is just no fun in it. And we’ve been moving a few cars around in the past couple of years.’’
He is confident the car will top sales records in Australia, official or unofficial, including the $1.25 million paid last year for a Lotus 25 Formula One car once raced by Jim Clark.
‘‘It’s hands-down the GT40 will beat it. For the past 15 or 20 years we’ve kept a close eye on things. Nothing’s ever come on the market at these sorts of numbers,’’ Bowden says.
But there is a catch for the sale of the GT40: Bowden does not want the car to leave Australia.
The GT40 was bought in Britain and is the only fully original Mark I in Australia.
‘‘It’s the only one in the country. It would be incredibly expensive, probably about $3 million with taxes and everything, to get one overseas and bring it back,’’ Bowden says.
It is not going up for auction, instead being sold privately through the family’s extensive connections.
‘‘We’re aware we’re not at the top of the market — $2.75 million or $3 million would have been achievable about 18 months ago. It’s global value is about $2.2 million,’’ Bowden says.
He is not expecting a flood of inquiries but is confident it will sell.
‘‘The GT40 world is a small world. If you want a real one, this is it. And you won’t get another chance,’’ he says.
‘‘I hope anyone who has lusted after a genuine GT40 realises this is a one-off opportunity.’’
Unique sales point: the Bowden family’s Ford GT40 is the only one of its type in Australia.