One-of-two surviving Ford GT40 roadster prototypes for auction

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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GT40 roadster for auction front rolling GT40 roadster for auction front rolling
GT40 roadster for auction front GT40 roadster for auction front
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Estimated to fetch up to AU$13.3 million at this year’s Monterey Car Week

Monterey Car Week is mere days away from kicking off, and proves an utter highlight for car collectors year after year. RM Sotheby’s is a continual heavy-hitter with their auctions filled to the brim with the most prolific and valuable collector’s cars around.

Such as this 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster prototype: one of just two surviving examples, estimated to fetch between USD$7 million and $9 million (AU$10 million and $13.3 million).

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According to RM Sotheby’s, just four roadster-bodied Ford GT40s escaped the Ford Advanced Vehicles factory in the UK; two steel-bodied prototypes, and two aluminium monocoque bodies that were later scrapped.

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

This car is GT/108 and was utilised by Shelby American as a promotional car at car shows and track days throughout California. It was driven by Ken Miles at Laguna Seca, and later by two-time F1 World Champion Jim Clark at Watkins Glen, both for demonstration purposes. RM Sotheby’s points out that this is also the only GT40 that Henry Ford ever rode in, with Carroll Shelby at the helm.

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Later in October 1965, the car acted as a test car for the new X and J-series of Ford’s GT40, making way for the Le Mans-winning Mk IV GT40.

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Shelby American retired the car soon after and, in 1969, sold the car to a private collector whom requested the installation of a new Ford 289ci V8 and a ZF gearbox.

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It then changed hands between a number of collector/owners before settling in the hands of a Pacific North-western collector who meticulously restored the vehicle to original specification. This owner took the car to Pebble Beach’s Concours d’Elegance for 22 years before selling the vehicle. It last sold at Monterey Car Week in 2014, for AU$9.5 million.

Its sister car, GT/109 – the only GT40 roadster with actual race history – went to Mecum Auction’s Kissimee sale in January 2019, and reached a high bid of AU$14.9 million but ultimately failed to sell.

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RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale commences August 15, and given the car’s previous sale five years ago, and the GT40 only growing in desirability since – we predict the car eye-watering estimate to be not so far out of reach at all.

Stay tuned at tradeuniquecars.com.au for all of your local and global auction news!

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