Probably the most famous American race car ever, the Ford GT40 is famed both for beating Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the 1960s and for its soaring value today as one of the world’s most-coveted collector cars.
The 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype, chassis GT/108, that RM Auctions has announced for its Monterey sale in August, is also one of the most significant survivors of the legendary brand. One of just a few prototypes ever built, and the first of just four GT40 roadsters, GT/108 served as a demonstration car for Ford and Shelby American during 1965, when it was piloted by a number of famous drivers, including the performance maestro Carroll Shelby.
The iconic mid-engine sports car, so named because of its 40-inch roof height, is also in excellent original condition, according to RM, and fully documented with limited long-term ownership after its year as an exhibition and demonstration car. The Monterey appearance will mark the first time the car has ever been offered at auction.
According to John S. Allen in his book, GT40: The Legend Lives On, “Prototype GT/108 is currently the only intact example of the marque still to carry the correct 1965-style nose and the low tail section unique to roadsters. (Further) 108 is the only roadster, or ‘spyder,’ to remain in as-built condition.”
RM Auction has not placed an estimated value on the GT40 Roadster Prototype, but according to the Hagerty Insurance Cars That Matter price guide, a 1965 GT40 Roadster Prototype in excellent condition is valued between $6.5 million and $8 million.
“Ford and Ferrari were at the center of one of the most intense feuds in international motorsport,” said Shelby Myers, car specialist for RM Auctions, in a news release. “The GT40 of the 1960s was the result of Henry Ford II’s declaration of war on Ferrari after a failed buyout; if he couldn’t own the small Modenese sports-car outfit, he vowed to beat them on the track…no matter what the cost.
“GT/108 is very special, as it is one of the early prototype cars. It is the first roadster version and certainly one of the most important of the twelve prototype cars built, as it was Ford and Shelby’s factory development car, driven by Carroll Shelby himself.”