Wealthy people are increasingly looking for “Investments of Passion” such as rare wines, art, watches and handbags. These alternative investments are becoming more and more popular for UHNWI’s all around the globe. But the most interesting asset class might be classic super cars (read the article here). The list of top vehicles coveted by collectors obviously also includes the legendary Ford GT40 – the Ferrari Killer – as one of the most expensive racing cars ever traded among petrolheads. Not only its design is unique, it has also had astonishing racing success. In other words, the Ford GT40 is the best American car ever made.
In 1963, Henry Ford II made a move to secure the company with the fastest cars and offered to buy Ferrari and its fleet of race cars. However just before the deal was to close, Enzo Ferrari pulled out because he disagreed with Ford’s demand to retain financial control. Consequently, the attempt of acquiring the Italian brand with the prancing horse sparked a nearly decade-long animosity between Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari. In retrospect, this was one of the best things that could happen to racing sports. In fact, this rivalry provided us with some of the greatest moments in motorsport history as well as some of the most iconic car designs.
Le Mans History
Henry Ford II decided that if he could not buy Ferrari, he would beat the Italian brand at their own game. For this reason, he challenged his best engineers to create a car that would humiliate Ferrari where it mattered most for the Italian brand: the 24 Hours of Le Mans. And after a mammoth engineering effort, the result was the Ford GT40. Ferrari’s last win at Le Mans was in 1965, after five consecutive wins (1960-1964). The next year, the GT40 made its big breakthrough and ended Ferrari’s Le Mans dynasty, putting Ford on top of the podium. Actually, Ford did not only win the world’s most famous race, it swept all three podium positions which bestowed the American company with one of the most dominant racing performances in Le Mans history.
Ford continued dominating at the Circuit de la Sarthe as the GT40 finished 1st place the next three years as well until 1970. For this reason – at least in my personal view – there is no doubt that the Ford GT40 will forever hold a very special place in the history of motorsport racing.
Ford GT40 – The Ferrari Killer
Thanks to its stunning Le Mans winning history, the GT40 was often referred to as the Ferrari Killer. The car was produced in six different variants (chronological order: Mk I, Mk II, Mk III, J-car, Mk IV & Mk V) with a total production number of only 105 vehicles. While the first three generations were produced in the UK, the last variants were manufactured in Michigan, US. To this day, the GT40 Mk IV is the only car designed and built entirely in the United States to achieve the overall win at Le Mans.
Depending on the version (street-legal or racing only and the variants (Mk I, Mk II, etc.), the car could come with 4.7 L up to 7.0 L V8 engines. For example, the Mk II (the first Le Mans winning variant) was equipped with the big 7.0 L V8 engine and allowed 485 PS with a jaw dropping 335 km/h – and remember that car is almost 60 years old! On the other hand, the Mk III is a road-car only version of which seven units were built, all equipped with the 4.7-liter engine with 310 PS. The Mk III also visually differs from its older brothers as it has four headlamps and the rear part of the body is expanded to make room for luggage. If you are interested to learn more about the different variants, feel free to contact us.
However, any version of the GT40 is a brilliant masterpiece and only the world’s top collectors can call one their own. Without any doubt, the great American supercar will continue to fetch high prices at auctions and also off-market, because it remains one of the most collectible automobiles in the world. In brief, the Ford GT40 is the best American car ever made and a piece of motorsport history.
Original selling price was around USD 20,000 but current market price for the Le Mans winning vehicles is in the double figured millions range.
Small production batch of only 105 cars (reported, but real number remains a secret).
When to drive:
Eventually this car was not designed for daily use. Personally, I would drive this master piece only in special occasions like the Mille Miglia events.
What we love about the car:
We love that in the name of the GT40, the affix “40” represents the sportscar’s height of 40 inches (1.02 m). When sitting in the car, you feel like your butt is about to touch the ground.