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For Sale at Auction: 1967 Ford GT40 in Amelia Island, Florida

Vehicle Description

Chassis No. P/1069

19th June 1966 - arguably the most important date in the history of Ford's motorsport program. At 4:00 p.m., at the start/finish line of the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe in France, Henry Ford II witnessed history being made as three of his GT40s finished the famous 24-hour race in positions 1, 2, and 3, finally unseating his archrival Enzo Ferrari from his Le Mans dominance, after a failed buyout, years of engineering developments, and millions of dollars invested in revenge. Ford, of course, repeated its victory twice more, cementing the GT40's place in the history books as one of the greatest sports racing cars ever built - a sophisticated, mid-engined, and stunningly beautiful piece of V8 American machinery, which benefited from an international cadre of racers, engineers, and businessmen, from Carroll Shelby's crew in California to the Holman-Moody boys in North Carolina, Ford Advanced Vehicles in Slough, England, and of course Lee Iacocca and "The Deuce" himself back home in the Motor City.

FIA homologation requirements stipulated that 50 units be built. While many cars were built to racing specification and sold to privateers, others were outfitted as road cars and sold through distributors. The specification of these road cars differed only minorly from the racing cars and 31 Mark I examples were built in total.

The early history of this particular road-going GT40 is particularly fascinating, outlined in extensive detail by marque specialist Ronnie Spain, whose report remains on file for this car and is available for review by interested potential bidders. It begins on 16 February 1967, one week before its scheduled delivery date, and its assignment by Ford to GT40 Mark I's "Promotion and Disposal Program," and as such, it was expected to be a corporate car used for press purposes. In fact, on paper, it was one of only six cars within that program consigned to Shelby American, but as history has shown, plans changed and the car ultimately never ended up arriving Stateside until much later in its history.

Built to the order of Ford Division in Dearborn, Michigan, the car was delivered 24 February, finished in striking Opalescent Silver Blue over black, outfitted with the customary Mark I 289 small block, wearing Weber carburetors and Borrani wire wheels, with the "Production Car Record Sheet" indicated its intended loan to "Performance Cars." Performance Cars was the dealership of the Geneva-born Georges Filipinetti, whose Scuderia Filipinetti was perhaps best known for its success in sports car racing, particularly with Jo Siffert, and which was undoubtedly the most prominent of the Swiss privateer teams. Shortly after its arrival in Switzerland, the car was prominently displayed at the Geneva Salon Auto in March, refinished in Metallic Borneo Green, as per period photographs on file, which corroborate the car's amended second Production Car Record.

By this time, of course, Filipinetti's renown had grown tremendously as the racing team had not only won the Targa Florio the year before in a Porsche 906 but also finished an outstanding third at the Monza 1,000 kilometer race with one of the privateer Ford GT40s. Interestingly, P/1069 remained in Switzerland with Filipinetti for virtually the rest of the year, and perhaps even longer, caught up in ongoing disputes over accounts between the Swiss privateers and John Wyer Automotive Engineering in the UK, who were eagerly demanding the car's return for use in Ford's press efforts. As a result, the car has been frequently referred to as the infamous "Hostage Car" by historians, in reference to this period of dispute between Wyer and Filipinetti.

By early 1968, P/1069, now UK-based and seemingly returned to JWA, was road registered on number "AHK 940F", which it of course wears to this day. In the months that followed, the car appeared in Motor (as part of a clothing promotion, no less!) and twice in Autocar (December 1968 and January 1969), in which the writer recounted his experience getting a flat tire on the British motorway and having to ring the RAC from a callbox to say, "My Ford GT40 has a flat tyre and no jack!"

Later in 1969, P/1069 was displayed once more at the Geneva Auto Salon, now wearing a Goodyear logo on its doors before, quite interestingly, photos on file reveal the car on its way to a car show in Finland by spring. Summer that year saw the car back in the UK, driven on track by journalist John Evans during a press day at Mallory Park, before it was pictured in July with none other than two-time Formula One World Champion Graham Hill, who demonstrated the car for an executive. In fact, photographs on file depict Graham, dapper as always, climbing into P/1069, before what was surely a very spirited run!

By this time, of course, the GT40 program had clinched its fourth and final overall victory at Le Mans, weeks earlier, and these American sports racing cars were becoming the stuff of legends. And it's therefore no surprise that the first private owner of record for P/1069 was Anthony Bamford, who was then in his mid-20s, on his way to becoming the Chairman of J.C. Bamford Excavators a few shorts years later. Mr. Bamford's car collection has of course included many of the world's most important sports and racing cars over the years, but this was the first of several GT40s in his ownership, refinished in yellow during that time by racing driver Willie Green, to reflect the JCB company colors.

Through Mr. Green, the car ended up with Kevin McDonald, a UK-based plastics manufacturer. Now fitted with mag wheels, one particularly thrilling story recounted in Mr. Spain's history involves Green himself, who was assigned to bring P/1069 to the Monaco Grand Prix in 1971. After having the car flown to Northern France and clearing customs, Green drove the car a total distance of 735 miles to Monte Carlo at an average speed of just over 110 mph, parking the car to great excitement in Casino Square.

Every owner hereafter and through the late 1990s is documented, known, and all UK-based. In 1971, Willie Green was in fact the car's actual owner, before its acquisition by James Robinson and then Adrian Hamilton, in whose ownership it participated in Fordsport Day at Brands Hatch. By 1972, the car had about 16,000 miles, finished first in the speed trials at Brighton, and was featured the following year in Motor, topping the acceleration tables during a test, recording a zero-to-sixty time of only four seconds and hitting 161.8 mph at the end of the straight.

It was in that year that P/1069 was traded for Bruce Ropner's Jaguar D-Type. Unfortunately, as Mr. Ropner headed north toward his home in North Yorkshire, an improperly closed filler cap resulted in a fire that damaged the front of the car alongside the road, after fuel made contact with hot brakes. After an insurance settlement and an ownership change, the car's ultimate acquisition by Martin Johnson resulted in the commissioning of the car's required restoration in the late 1970s by GT40 specialist John Etheridge. Refinished in its JCB yellow livery, it was featured in two further magazine stories and photographed in period by Mr. Spain himself in Birmingham.

By the late 1990s, the car arrived Stateside, owned by Barney Hallingby of Connecticut, and shown at the 25th Shelby American Automobile Club convention at Lime Rock Park. Its time in the U.S., however, was not long lived as it returned to the UK, now in the ownership of racing driver and car distributor Frank Sytner, after which a period of Frenc...for more information please contact the seller.

Vehicle Details

  • 1967 Ford GT40
  • Listing ID: CC-1817354
  • Price: Auction Vehicle
  • Location:Amelia Island, Florida
  • Year:1967
  • Make:Ford
  • Model:GT40
  • Odometer:6003
  • Stock Number:229
  • VIN:P/1069
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