It’s getting harder and harder to tell the imitators apart from the genuine articles. Not that long ago, a ‘replica’ would mean a Ford Sierra chassis and running gear, poorly moulded fibreglass bodywork and (to get really pedantic) a non-period-correct livery. The sacrilege! But replicas, recreations, or whatever you want to call them, have come a long way in recent years. To the point where wealthy car collectors would rather enter a near-perfect copy into a historic race than risk damaging the real thing.
On the positive side, it means we get to see incredible cars, perhaps from before our time, being treated as though they were fresh out of the factory that week. And replicas are so convincing these days that seeing, say, an old GT40 that for all intents and purposes looks like the real deal will likely elicit the same hair-raising response as if you’d seen an original example. That said, a replica will never have that awe-inspiring ‘history’ factor that conjures up images of oiled-faced mechanics beating body panels into place with hammers. So while you can get yourself a GT40 that’ll feel every bit as good (if not better) than the original for a fraction of the cost, nothing beats the real thing – and that’s exactly what we have here.
Frankly, any original GT40 is flying way up in the stratosphere of coolness. Rough estimates put the production run at 105 examples, but that’s split across multiple generations (Mk1 to Mk4), each of which was markedly different from the other. And given that the car was born to compete, most that left the factory floor were swiftly sent off to motorsport squads across the globe and converted for race use. A GT40 is a very rare thing, a road-going example is considerably rarer.
This is one of the few cars that were built from the get-go as a road-going model. No, it’s not one of the ultra-rare (even by GT40 standards) Mk3 versions - a trio of prototypes built to see how well the racer would work as a road car - it’s even rarer than that. Chassis P/1069, a Mk1 GT40, was built to order by Ford USA and swiftly loaned out to a Swiss-based firm affiliated with the Scuderia Filipinetti racing team for display at the 1967 Genera Motor Show. It was originally painted Opalescent Silver Blue, though was resprayed Metallic Borneo Green for its Geneva appearance, after which it was claimed by Ford UK and used as a press car for lucky hacks of the era to get their grubby hands on.
Still wearing its green paintwork (not that you’d be able to tell from the black and white pictures of the day), the car featured in various motoring magazines and, in 1969, was put on display once again at the Geneva Motor Show. It would get a good thrashing at the hands of double Formula 1 world champion Graham Hill ahead of its sale to a private collector in 1971, where it was again resprayed in yellow. Fast forward to 2007 when a brave new owner took the car historic racing (before the replicas took over), including an appearance at that year’s Goodwood Revival. At some point, the ‘40 was put back to road car specification and resprayed once again, only this time to its original colour.
That’s merely scratching the surface of an exceptionally storied example of a motoring legend. Worth keeping that in mind when giving the seller a call to ask about the price, and best to set aside several million quid (if not tens) to be in with a shout of buying it. If you do happen to become the car’s new owner, do us all a favour and take it out of the garage once in a while. This was the ‘people’s GT40’, after all.
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