An extremely rare and desirable Ford GT40 Roadster prototype will be auctioned off by RM Sotheby’s during Monterey Car Week in the middle of August.
Ford built a total of 12 GT40 prototypes. Of these, seven were hardtops while the remaining five were Roadsters. This particular car is the first of those five built and is chassis no. GT/108. It was built in March 1965 and rolled out of the Ford Advanced Vehicles plant in Slough, UK, powered by a Cobra-spec Ford 289 cubic-inch engine mated to a Colotti T-37 transaxle.
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After being tested at Silverstone alongside a GT40 coupe, the car was exported to Shelby American and shipped to Shelby’s shop in Venice, California. The car was displayed at a series of events over the following months and in early May, was driven by Shelby team driver Ken Miles for a number of demonstration laps at Laguna Seca. In June, Carroll Shelby took Henry Ford II for a ride in the car in what’s believed to be the Ford director’s only ever experience on-board the racer. This is significant as it was Henry Ford II who invested huge amounts of money into the GT40 project.
Later on in 1965, the car was driven by Formula 1 legend Jim Clark for a few laps during the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen.
In the decades since, the car has passed through the hands of numerous owners and in 1983, underwent a comprehensive mechanical restoration. It received a mechanical freshen-up two decades later in 2003 and went on to be displayed at events including the 2003 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, 2010 Quail Motorsports Gathering, and the 2013 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
Pre-auction estimates indicate the 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster prototype could sell for upwards of $9 million.