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Ford GT – The son of the “Ferrari-beater” offered by RM Sotheby’s

The Ford GT of the mid-00’s is a link in a chain, which extends far beyond the GT40, the emblematic Le Mans winner of the late 1960’s. Although the GT40 is now considered part of the long American “musclecar” legacy, if not the patriarch, an often neglected fact is that three out of four generations were designed and built in the UK, with only MkIV designed and built entirely in the United States.

The reason behind that was the revolutionary Lola Mk6 GT, on which the GT40 was based, inheriting the great looks. This was the first mid-mounted, high displacement V8 Grand Touring car. It was powered by Ford and only three units were ever built by Lola Cars, between 1962 and 1963. It’s innovative arragement was first introduced in car racing by Cooper Car Company. Cooper was a small British firm, which managed to beat big players in Formula 1 World Championship twice in a row, despite it’s very humble beginnings from a garage in Surbiton, Surrey, UK [not far from our BlackTacho HQ].

Built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Ford Motor Company, the GT has been a heavily sought-after modern classic, ever since the first model rolled off the production line in 2004.

The vehicle’s design is a modern homage to the immensely successful GT40, the “claimant” achieving four consecutive Le Mans victories, from 1966 to 1969.

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Sharing nearly every crease and line, the modern GT was made to invoke grand images of Ford’s most triumphant moment for any gearhead in the know.

Just like the original racer, the new GT had to be a world-beater, but most importantly, it had to beat the boys from Maranello.

Maintaining the spirit of the original, the contemporary interpretation was powered by Ford’s all-aluminium 5.4-liter V8. The 32-valve cylinder heads from the Mustang SVT Cobra R were modified with a thicker wall casting in the exhaust port and a new camshaft provided increased lift and duration. On top sits a Lysholm twin-screw supercharger feeding a maximum 11.7 psi of boost into the engine. From the factory, power is rated at 550 hp and 500 foot-pounds of torque.

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Four-piston aluminum Brembo brake calipers with cross-drilled and ventilated rotors on all four wheels made sure to bring the vehicle to an abrupt stop from any speed.

Most impressively, a top speed of 205 mph and a 0–60 time of 3.3 seconds place the GT in closer competition to the Porsche Carrera GT and Mercedes-McLaren SLR rather than the benchmarked Ferrari 360.

Next weekend will be a very interesting time of the year, since ‘The Dingman Collection’ is being held for the third time, six years after the last one in 2012. RM Sotheby’s will be offering this beautiful part of automotive history without reserve at $300,000 – $350,000 with the original base price in 2006 at $139,995.

Racing stripes, forged BBS wheels, painted brake calipers, and a McIntosh stereo were the only available options from the factory and this beautiful Tungsten example features all four of them.

At the time of cataloguing, the car had recorded less than 2,400 actual miles. It has been very well preserved in its owner’s collection and remains in very fine, nearly new condition throughout.

Failed business talks with Enzo Ferrari, made enraged Henry Ford II give specific orders for a “Ferrari-beater“. The GT40 (40-inches high at windscreen) was the car that brought Ferrari’s triumphant streak to an end; for some time. After having won 6 Le Mans from 1960 to 1965, the Prancing Horse gave way to the innovative British set-up and the roar of the American V8.

The GT40 continued production well into the 1980’s under different ownership and long after it’s mission had been accomplished. Regretably, the latest owners of the GT40 and Ford did not reach an agreement and the GT40 badge cannot be found on Ford GT production cars.

Still, the desirable shape, along with other heriditary characteristics are all there.

The Ford GT remains a milestone in the company’s history and a fitting performance icon amidst the Ford V8s in ‘The Dingman Collection’.

All pictures courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

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