Vijay Pattni05 May 2011

Ford GT40 prototype up for auction

£2.6m GT/111 – fourth of just five roadsters ever built – to go under the hammer at Villa D’Este

Ford GT40

A 1965 Ford GT40 works prototype roadster is being put up for auction later this month. Yes, Ford GT40. That car built to give ol' Enzo a thrashing.

This particular green-hued hunk of Detroit muscle - numbered GT/111 with a 444bhp 4.7-litre V8 - was built by Ford Advanced Vehicles here in Britain as one of twelve pre-production GT40s, and raced in that year's Targa Florio; a race where it only ran on seven of its eight cylinders and crashed after briefly losing a front wheel and hitting a wall.

See more pics of the Ford GT40 roadster up for auction

After the race it was shipped back to Blighty and forgotten. Official GT40 production began soon after and the idea of a roadster was binned, so GT/111 was left at the back of the FAV shop and later went missing after a scrap merchant cleaned the whole place out.

Presumed dead, or as a soldier of fortune in the LA underground, it suddenly reappeared in a lockup garage in East London 40 years later, resting on an old mattress. GT40 experts were called to inspect, verified its authenticity and then began its restoration from rusty scrapheap to factory finish.

Clarkson on the Ford GT40

It's since been raced in the Spa 6 hours and the Le Mans Classic in '07 and '08, and came 2nd in class at the 2010 Masters Festival at Brands Hatch. Estimates put the auction price at £2,600,000 when it goes under the hammer at the Villa D'Este auction on 21 May.

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