4 weeks ago
In 1963, Henry Ford II was embarrassed when Enzo Ferrari pulled out of a deal that would have let the American brand purchase the Italian marque so they could race together as Ford-Ferrari or, on foreign soil, Ferrari-Ford.
It took a while, but Ford got his revenge three years later by hitting Enzo where it hurt most—at the race Ferrari had won every year from 1960 to 1965, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The American carmaker was so intent on winning the ’66 edition of the endurance event that Ford entered 13 cars in the 55-vehicle field, among them eight GT40 Mark IIs.
As it turned out, Ford may have gone a little overboard as only two Ferraris were entered at Le Mans that year, perhaps because of Enzo’s overconfidence, and neither one of them finished the race.
Ferrari’s failure paved the way for Ford to sweep the podium in a race that was so epic Hollywood is making a movie about it.
The car that served as the third knuckle on Ford’s middle finger to Ferrari as they crossed the finish line is coming up for auction during Monterey Car Week and, marone, it looks great.
Third at Le Mans in ’66 but first in our heart, chassis No. P/1016 boasts a seven-liter V8 that can churn out something in the range of 485 horsepower and get the car moving at speeds approaching 200 miles per hour.
Driven by Americans Ronnie Bucknum and Dick Hutcherson, this GT40 was the only one of Ford’s finishers to race at Le Mans with an automatic transmission instead of the four-speed manual model on the other cars.
Now restored to the condition it raced in and decked out in the same golden livery as it wore when it raced at Le Mans, the GT40 is estimated to fetch between $9 and $12 million in Monterey.
“The status of P/1016 speaks for itself, and if it wasn’t for this car, the history of motorsport as we know it would be very different,” said RM Sotheby’s car specialist Alexander Weaver. “The sale of this GT40 represents a real chance for any collector or motorsport enthusiast to own a significant piece of history. Few cars can be considered gold standard, but this GT40 is, and will always be remembered as one of the Fords that finally beat Ferrari.”
The RM Sotheby’s auction will take place on August 24th through 25th. Get more info here.
If you don’t want to wait for the Hollywood film about this car and its exploits at Le Mans, here’s a brief documentary about when went down in ’66 that was made in honor of the legendary race’s 50th anniversary.