It was born out of motorsport’s most infamous grudge.
Following months of careful negotiation, Ford was ready to do a deal with Enzo Ferrari to purchase his company. The Old Man, as wily as he was, knew he needed some major investment, and Ford wanted to go endurance racing. By May 1963, a deal was on the table, bringing the US behemoth together with the Italian upstart to create road cars and competition machinery. But when Enzo, who may never have intended to sell at all, baulked at losing the autonomy he so cherished, he sent the Americans packing. Empty-handed on his return to Detroit, Ford’s point man, Don Frey, was told by Henry Ford II to ‘go to Le Mans, and beat his ass.’ Or so the legend goes.
The result was the GT40, a car that most definitely is a legend. As impassive a motorsport legend as the statues on Easter Island, as looming a presence as the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey – everyone knows that the GT40 cleaned up in 1960s sports car racing, but the fact that you’d probably struggle to name any of the winning drivers confirms the star power of this particular car.