A piece of racing history goes up for sale.
Cars like this don’t come up for auction often and when they do, they command a black check that you better be prepared to write a whole lot of zeros on. In fact, this first-of-three production model is one of only two surviving race cars of its kind, making it even more valuable. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to driving up the price of this rare 1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Lightweight Racing Car.
The 1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Lightweight Racing Car chassis P/1074 has quite a storied history. In May of 1967, it was driven by Dr. Dick Thompson and legendary racer, Jacky Ickx, to a first overall victory as the Mirage M.10003 at its debut at Spa, making it the first race car with Gulf livery to achieve a first-place finish. Later that year, the car DNF’d at Le Mans and Brand’s Hatch, but was able to win second place at Skarpnack and take the checkered flags at Karlskoga and Montlhery.
After the 1968 season, the FIA changed their regulations to reduce engine size on a number of Group 4 cars. This led to the Mirage M.10003 becoming one of 25 cars to undergo a conversion at J.W.A. in England, transforming it into the Ford GT40 P/1074, and first of three cars built for the J.W.A./Gulf team. In this form, it retained the straight Mirage substructure and was given vehicle-specific Stage II ventilated brake discs, a lightweight roof, and lightweight frame. The lightweight bodywork used on the P/1074, P/1075, and P/1076 chassis was regarded as the first use of carbon fiber panels in race car fabrication. New BRM Mirage wheels were also fitted with 8.5-inch front and 11.0-inch rear widths.
Five different engines have powered the Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage with a pushrod Ford 289 and 302 powering the car in P/1074 form, while Ford pushrod 305 and 351 engines powered it as a Mirage M.10003. It currently sits with a period-correct GT40 Ford 289 cu. in. V-8 with four Weber twin-choke carburetors, Gurney-Weslake cylinder heads, and a 351-oil pump with Aviaidoil pan behind the two front seats. The engine produces 440 bhp and is mated to a ZF 5DS25/1 five-speed manual transmission.
After the transformation, the car would compete in a number of races during the 1968 season. With Jacky Ickx behind the wheel, it set a record 3:35.4 lap time at Le Mans Trials. It later won first-place at the Monza 1,000 Kilometre, sixth at the Nürburgring, and second at Watkins Glen.
After a competing in a few different races and being loaned in 1968 and 1969, it was then used to making racing film history. In 1970, David Brown purchased the P/1074 and P/1076 and leased the P/1074 to Steve McQueen’s Solar Productions to be used as a camera car for the upcoming film, Le Mans. McQueen insisted that the movie be filmed at speed, so his production crew needed a car that could film at 150 mph. Some of the Ford GT40 was modified, such as taping the doors shut and removing the entire roof section.
With its former driver, Jacky Ickx behind the wheel of a Ferrari 512S at the filming of the 1070 24 Hours of Le Mans race, the P/1074 participated as a film car with two cameras located in the spare tire well and a gyroscopically-stabilized, air-powered, 180-degree Arriflex camera mounted in the rear deck and controlled inside the cockpit by remote control. Another 35 mm camera was mounted above the passenger side door. The additional weight and downgraded aerodynamics from the film modifications made reaching the 150 mph top speed difficult, and required a great deal of skill to control at the triple-digit speeds.
After the filming, the car exchanged owners and ended up with collector Sir Anthony Bamford in 1972. Under his ownership, the Ford GT40 was reconstructed by Willie Green with a new roof panel, early GT40 doors with “rocker” handles, new rear bodywork from a standard GT40 with wider wheel flares and a lack of air outlets and carbon fiber reinforcement. The P/1074 was then sold back to Harley E. Cluxton III, who had originally sold it to Bamford, and was restored once again.
The Ford GT40 P/1074 later participated in a number of reunion events and was featured in numerous posters and die-cast models. In 2002 it underwent a complete restoration and has been meticulously maintained since then to its current state. The car appeared and was driven in 2003 and 2004 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and won Best in Class at the 2009 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
The Ford GT40/Mirage Lightweight Racing Car chassis P/1074 (M.10003) will be auctioned on Saturday, August 17th by RM Auctions at Monterey. The car comes with a number of spare parts, including the 1967 Mirage bodywork. No estimate has been released, so bring a blank check and be prepared for a very high bidding war.
Update! The Ford GT40 set a record for an American car at the auction as it fetched an $11 million final bid!
Ford GT40/Mirage Lightweight Racing Car P/1074 (M.10003) Video
Ford GT40/Mirage Lightweight Racing Car P/1074 (M.10003) Gallery
[Source: RM Auctions]
[Photography Credit: Pawel Litwinski ©2012 Courtesy of RM Auctions]