An ultra rare American race car is going up for auction at Sotheby’s. Aficionados of auto-racing – including more than a few still bitter Europeans – will know the 1966 Ford GT40 quite well, as the memory of the American race car that defeated Ferrari in stunning fashion at the 1966 Le Mans Endurance race seared its name into the history books.
In 1966, Ford toppled the European giant Ferrari racing, who had rested in a comfortable sinecure atop the Euro-racing circuit for years. After Ford tried – and failed – to acquire Ferrari in the mid ’60s, they put all their engineering brainpower toward beating the prancing horse at their own game. What took place at the 1966 Le Mans Endurance Race was a legendary David and Goliath moment in which Ford captured the top three spots, blocking Ferrari from podium, and shocking the racing world. They did so with there three iconic and dazzling GT40s. Few homologated copies of the legendary cars remain, but one such 1966 Ford GT40 has been preserved impeccably. Now, chassis number P/1061 is headed to auction. This particular GT40 may not be one of the three cars that actually raced in the Grand Prix, but it is one of just 31 Mk I examples specifically built for use on the road. While built to certain racing specifications, these homologated copies were additionally ornamented with luxury features, to distinguish the road-use models from the sparser interiors of the track GT40s that inspired them. This particular model was used as a promotional vehicle, and thus given a yellow-and-black racing coat to showcase the design that helped elevate American racing in Europe.