15 June, 2018

The Ford GT40 MKii Le Mans Car is Heading to Auction

A racing legend is heading into auction.

The Ford GT40 MKii which dominated the 1966 edition of Le Mans had a $12m pre-sale estimate slapped on it in preparation for its auction at Monterey, California in August.

Relinquishing Ferrari's stranglehold on the coveted motorsport crown, Ford became the first American team to win at Le Mans. Not only did they win Le Mans and stop Ferrari, they produced a 1-2-3 finish which is the only one of its kind.

Fitting for any great success is the story behind it and Ford has exactly that. 

The Problem

Ferrari, the prancing horse, had been making a name for themselves in Le Mans. Over the course of a 5-year stretch, they had utterly dominated the field from 1960-1965. Ford was not appreciating what they were seeing and was targeting an upset. 

Trivia - Ford was in talks to acquire Ferrari in 1963 but talks broke down.

After a $10m investment, Ford entered 4 cars in the 1965 Le Mans race and none of them finished. Ferrari won that year's race which further compounded Ford's year. However, it was the next year where everything changed.

The Race

The 1966 Le Mans had 55 cars entered and 13 cars were from Ford! 8 were split among their 3 teams and 5 were used by other teams. 

The number of Fords had easily dwarfed Ferrari who entered only 2 cars. By the end of lap 227, both Ferraris were out which increased the chances of a Ford triumph. 

Ford was leading the race with their cars in the top 3 spots but the car in third place was 12 laps behind the two leading cars. 

The Ultimate Finish

Leo Beebe asked all the cars to finish at the same time to further wound Ferrari. There was a twist though. Because Bruce McLaren's car had started the furthest back, his car would technically cover the most distance and therefore would win the race. 

The Ford cars each finished at the same time and Ford was handed the historic win.

Final Words

Chassis 1016 completed 348 laps and finished 3rd in the race.

It was restored to its racing condition and will be a worthy addition to any car collection as this car enabled Ford to make history and also loosen Ferrari's grip on Le Mans. Sporting a 7L V8 engine and producing 485bhp, the car can certainly make some noise and raise some hairs with its 200mph top speed!

The auction will take place in August and can become the most expensive Ford ever sold. 

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Le Mans Winning Ford is up for auction
Le Mans Winning Ford is up for auction
Le Mans Winning Ford is up for auction