The only GT40 Roadster with racing history fails to sell despite AU$10 million bid

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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ford gt40 roadster le mans ford gt40 roadster le mans

Chassis GT/109 is one of two Roadsters delivered to Shelby in 1965, and the only one ever raced

Update 21/7/2020: The weekend saw Mecum's massive Indy auction take place, with this one of two steel-bodied Ford GT40 prototypes taking one of the prime time lots of the schedule.

It was this car's second time across the block in recent memory, having failed to sell two years ago despite a top bid of US$10 million.

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High hopes were left quelled over the weekend, as the rare GT40 roadster - serialised as GT/109 - with racing history reached a high bid of US$7.5 million (AU$10.7 million) and failed to sell. 

An ignominous result despite hopeful claims that the car could bring in US$10 million. 

This car's sister vehicle, GT/108. is another steel-bodied prototype although never saw the starting grid of a race; and yet sold last year for US7.65 million (AU$10.8). It would be reasonable to expect this vehicle with documented Le Mans racing history to be more valuable than its never-raced sibling.

Alas, the stars haven't aligned for this rare open-top racer to reach the result its owner is hoping for. Maybe the third time is the charm, after all.

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Original story:

One of only two surviving 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototypes will cross the block as one of the main attractions at Mecum’s Indy auction, currently taking place until July 18.

According to RM Sotheby’s, just four roadster-bodied Ford GT40s ever left the Ford Advanced Vehicles factory, two steel-bodied prototypes and two aluminium monocoque bodies which were later scrapped.

The two steel-bodied prototypes, denoted by chassis numbers: GT/108 and GT/109 respectively, were delivered to Shelby American in March 1965.

GT/108 was previously sold at Monterey Car Week in 2014 for AUD$9.5 million, and was again offered for private sale in 2017.

This one, its sister-car, GT/109 is was previously auctioned by Mecum back in 2018, at their January Kissimee Auction. The vehicle reached a high-bid of US$10 million, but failed to sell. Second time is the charm for this extremely significant GT40.

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It is the only GT40 Roadster to ever see the starting grid of a race, running at Le Mans in 1965 under Ford of France and helmed by Maurice Trintignant and Guy Ligier.

It retired that race, like all GT40s that year, and ended up with a DNF. Once it was returned to Shelby American, the roadster program was shelved with development continuing onwards with the coupe bodied cars.

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GT/109 enjoyed a further three years of life as a test-mule for various GT40 modifications, and was then later left to collect dust in a Shelby warehouse.

In the late 60s, custom car legend Dean Jeffries was working with GT40-driver AJ Foyt in the wind-tunnel at Shelby and spotted the now disused GT/109 Roadster.

Jeffries asked to buy the car, but the then-head of Ford’s racing department Jacques Passino insisted he be free to take it off their hands, along with a few quad-cam 255ci IndyCar motors.

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The car stayed with Jeffries until 2013.

Mecum estimates the GT40 roadster to fetch between US$7.5 million and US$10 million (AU$10.8m to AU$14.4m), but for one of just two surviving GT40 roadsters, and the sole one with actual racing provenance – it is reasonable to value this car higher than its sister, GT/108’s 2014 sale of AUD$9.5 million.

Stay tuned at TradeUniqueCars.com.au for all of your auction news.

 

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