The Ford GT40 was built as an act of revenge directed at Enzo Ferrari by Henry Ford II after a deal to sell the Italian motor company to Ford ended in an 11th-hour veto by Ferrari, who considered Ford to be a second-rate company.
Mr. Ford decided to hurt Ferrari where it mattered the most – beating his race teams at the prestigious 24 hours of Le Mans, where Ferrari cars had dominated for years.
Carroll Shelby was charged with Ford’s racing program in 1965. GT40s finished first, second and third in the 1966 race. They continued their winning streak for an additional three years as Ford defeated Ferrari in the 24-hour endurance races throughout Europe.
At a 2002 auto show, Ford introduced a GT concept car, which was an immediate hit with the press and auto enthusiasts worldwide. The car was taller, wider and similar in appearance to the GT40s of the 1960s.
Ford finally produced the car for sale to the public in 2005-06. At $149,995 a copy, limited production numbers and frequently added dealer surcharges, the car was difficult to acquire by most buyers. Production was limited to 4,038.
Terry Hankins of Fountaintown, Ind., purchased his GT at Capital City Ford in 2005. He is proud to point out that there are “no cup holders or cruise controls on this baby!” His car boosts 712 horsepower and is a 5.4 liter rear-engined supercharged six-speed, capable of 131 mph timed in an 11-second quarter-mile run. He enjoys car shows and cruise-ins, where “we can all enjoy our cars together.”
Until next time, happy cruising!