High hopes for clas­sic sale

The Ford GT40 is a true col­lec­tor’s item, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

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