FORD GT40 ROADSTER PROTOTYPE ON THE BLOCK
ONE OF ONLY two surviving 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototypes will see itself as one of the main attractions at Mecum’s Kissimi auction, taking place from January 3 to January 13, 2019.
According to RM Sotheby’s, just four roadsterbodied Ford GT40s ever left the Ford Advanced Vehicles factor y, two steelbodied prototypes and two aluminium monocoque bodies which were later scrapped.
The two steel-bodied prototypes, denoted by chassis numbers: GT/108 and GT/109 respectively, were delivered to Shelby American in March 1965.
GT/108 was previously sold at Monterey Car Week in 2014 for AUD$9.5 million, and was again offered for private sale in 2017.
Its sister-car, GT/109 is now gearing up for its own time in the auction world’s limelight, and boasts a unique history to its untouched and neverraced counterpart.
GT/109 is the only GT40 Roadster to ever see the starting grid of a race, running at Le Mans in 1965 under Ford of France and helmed by Maurice Trintignant and Guy Ligier.
It retired from that race, like all GT40s that year, and ended up with a DNF. Once it was returned to Shelby American, the roadster program was shelved with development continuing onwards with the coupe bodied cars.
GT/109 enjoyed a further three years of life as a test-mule for various GT40 modifications, and was then later left to collect dust in a Shelby warehouse.
In the late 60s, custom car legend Dean Jeffries was working with GT40-driver AJ Foyt in the wind-tunnel at Shelby and spotted the now disused GT/109 Roadster.
Jeffries asked to buy the car, but the then-head of Ford’s racing department Jacques Passino insisted he take it off their hands for free, along with a few quad-cam 255ci IndyCar motors.
The car stayed with Jeffries until 2013.
Mecum has yet to post any pre-auction estimates, but for one of just two surviving GT40 roadsters, and the sole one with actual racing provenance – GT/108’s 2014 sale of Au$9.5 million wouldn’t be out of the question at all.