The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Ryan, Aug 31, 2022.
Ryan submitted a new blog post:
1964 Ford GT
Continue reading the Original Blog Post
Apparently the '64 prototype is alive and well, living just east of Toronto Ontario Canada at Legendary Motorcar. This pic appears to have been taken earlier this year at Mosport (now officially named Canadian Tire Motorsport Park). Quote taken from their F-book page "Wicked day at Mosport/CTMP with the 1964 GT40 Prototype".
There are three remaining prototypes of the five that were built... That car is GT/105. Here it is back in the day:
The car is currently for sale, but with no price listed... I'm sure they are asking millions of dollars. Details here. Gt/105 features what is probably my favorite GT40 livery of all time...
The other two surviving prototypes are in the Shelby museum.
I still have my Matchbox model of the Ford GT I got when I was a kid, it was based on that original version of the car.
Interesting. I thought prototype typically meant one single item so I assumed the Legendary car was the same one, I never considered there could be two, three or more prototypes.
One thing about the GT40 (the early ones), it is amazing how small they really are when seen in person.
Broadly speaking, the "prototypes" were the result of the early Ford and Lola work. Had they gone out in 1963/4 and dominated the races they entered, I doubt all five cars would be called prototypes today.
But when they failed to produce podiums and development focus shifted to Shelby America, I think it becomes easier to give these early cars that label.
You often hear people say that Shelby was just a suit taking credit for the hard work Lola did. I think that most often comes from people not familiar with how race car development works. Usually, you are taking a factory car like a Corvette or whatever and doing the necessary R&D to make it a race car. Shelby America, Holman Moody, etc... essentially did the same process with a car that Lola designed and manufactured.
Obviously Lola designed some amazing architecture to work with, but the history of the GT prototype proves how valuable American hot rodders were to the program - especially Shelby and Miles.
BTW, this is the Lola Mark 6 that the GT40 was based on:
Before Ford essentially bought the rights to the design, it was raced as a Lola three times - Silverstone, Nurburgring, and Le Mans. It finished 5th at Silverstone and set the fastest laps of the day at both the Ring and Le Mans before retiring with mechanical issues.
Anyway, of those three Lola Mark 6 cars 2 stayed with Lola for development of the GT40. The third? It was snuck out of the factory before the Ford contracts were signed and ended up in Texas. Ford tried like hell to buy the car back, but the owner wouldn't sell. Instead, he just got pissed at Ford... So pissed, he put a SBC in it... took it to Nassau Speed Week and dominated over the usual Cobras and Corvettes - finishing first by seconds.
After Nassau, it was wrecked and never really raced again... I believe it's still in Texas.
Great overview of one of my all-time favorites. Several years ago I saw one of the newer models cruising down the freeway being tailed by a police cruiser. To my eye, the cop was just admiring the GT... along with the rest of us on the freeway.
I'd kill to drive one... There's a company called Superformance that makes a "continuation" using 90% interchangeable parts. But even those are $200k and up... But man, that would be fun.
I'd want a MKI with one of the smaller displacement and higher revving motors... 7.5k revs would be a must...
Those NASCAR-spec FEs would go to 7500... LOLOL.
One of the bigger expenses in developing these cars was the transaxle for the MkIVs. The five-speeds used in the small-block cars didn't have a prayer behind the thundering FE, Ford designed and built their own four-speed transaxle using toploader/9" gears in a custom case. That alone was quite an engineering feat.
Holman-Moody can still build you one. $$$$$$$
Do note on the " found" illustrations, that third one is a dead ringer of the AMX/2 car!
Take a number!
Some years ago I did some TV work profiling one of Yamaha's motorcycle design engineers, a local San Diego guy. He is heavily into cars and has some incredible collectibles.
He and his buddies rent a race track every year to take their high-dollar toys for a spin. One year they hired me to shoot video of their annual track day. One of his crew had a pristine Ford GT and did not hesitate to blast it around the track. He was just getting the track dialed-in when he spun-out in a turn. He kicked up a big cloud of dust and peppered his car with rock dings and paint chips. Then laughed it off.
Race your $$$$ shit? Not sure I would! But it was fun to watch.
That Lola Mark 6, elegance knows no boundaries !
Not according to the movie Redline 7000.
I've read about some of that... and there's lots of arguments to be had. The MkI and MkII both had the 5-speed which was based on the Coletti transaxle. Early, it was a real weak spot but they ironed it out enough to win Le Mans three times with it.
With the MKIV, engineers decided a big loping motor was more reliable than a high strung small motor... so all of these cars got the Ford designed 4-speed with crazy tall gears to better handle the power.
Interestingly though, all of the books I read featured quotes from drivers say they much preferred driving the MKI and II over the IV. I can't remember his name, but the Mexican guy that won in '68 said something like, "They Americanized the GT with the MKIV. It's not a proper race car anymore."
Right? I still like the GT40 better though.
Interesting tid bit... In the Ford Vs. Ferrari movie, they portray a lot of friction between Shelby and Ford. That actually didn't exist. Ford learned from their experience with their early Lola/Ford program and decided to be as hands off as possible... let the race car guys handle the race cars.
There was, however, drama between Lola and Shelby. Lola designed the Mark 6 as a lightweight race car based on the 289 Ford motor and didn't want the GT40 to stray too far from that. But Shelby kept adding more and more weight... and to counter that, more and more power. Lola was pretty pissed... assuming Americans were bastardizing their design intentions.
Shelby proved Lola right early... The car was heavy... and FAST... but they couldn't keep brakes on the thing due to the weight. Phil Remmington then came up with the quick change rotor design... and that really saved the GT40 and Shelby...
Way back in the middle 60's the hardware store in our small town had a Christmas contest, and the two prizes were Monogram Ford GT and Ferrari 330 slot car tracks. I didn't win, but within a couple years I owned both of them because the winners were both girls, one of them my cousin. I paid very little for them, maybe a couple bucks each, and played with them for years. With both sets I could make a very long track. Unfortunately I loved drag racing more than road racing, so set up a dragstrip with all the straight pieces of track, probably close to 20 feet long. I glued sandpaper to the first couple sections for traction, and tore the cars all to hell. Sold the whole mess at a garage sale 35 years ago.
thanks ryan - a story well told as usual
My wish list car if I ever win the lottery. If you haven't, check out the SAE paper:
Being born in 1950, I wasn’t driving age when the Mustang concept came out. I read an article on it (Pop Mechanics, R&T ? ). Just my style with the 1.5 L formula cars. I was one disappointed kid when the Mustang came out. The GT and the Mk cars made me forget all about that disappointment. Then I moved on to American cars and hot rods. Thanks for the memories Ryan.
I took these photos in October of 1966 when I was going to school at NCR in Dayton Ohio for a military computer project in Viet Nam. I first saw this car driving in downtown Dayton. The GT40 is still on my top 10 list of all the cars that impressed me.
I would kill for one of those for our Bonneville car.
Indeed! Beautiful. Thanks for the history and for keeping the content bar high.
Nothing relevant to add, but I think I remember a Hot Wheels car called a GT40? Been 40 years since I looked at mine, so I might be out in left feild somewhere.
Very cool write-up, Ryan.
I wondered when Mr. Remington's name would show up. That guy was a genius. I had a chance to meet him at Dan Webb's shop when Dan was building the Remington race car clone. Smart...SMART guy.
I have been Dabbling with these engines for over 40 years..... Safe to 7000 RPM- Not 7200 rpm or 7500.
Wanted to see if I could bring this pic back:
Definitely on my Top 10 list - thanks for more behind-the-scenes info!
Superformance isn't the only game in town for those looking for their own, however. RCR (Race Car Replicas) out of Michigan also makes a kit: https://race-car-replicas.com/rcr-40-mki-mkii
I'll keep dreaming! While I wait for that winning lottery ticket, I can still go fire up my various video game systems and drive a GT on hundreds of tracks around the world, without having to buy gas money or worrying about wrecking. Sounds almost (almost!) as good, but I certainly miss the smells of leather and octane, let alone the soft-tissue crushing performance...
For those who only seen the movie Ford vs Ferrari, I highly recommend reading the book as it would be more accurate. The Matchbox cars were labeled Ford GT.
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