GT40 from Ford’s historic Le Mans sweep going to auction

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This 1966 Ford GT40 was one of the three that ended Ferrari's reign at Le Mans. | RM Sotheby's photo

In 1966, Ford achieved a historic 1-2-3 sweep of 24 Hours at Le Mans. One of those iconic cars will be offered for sale at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction scheduled during Monterey Car Week in August.

In a news release, RM Sotheby’s said the car is expected to fetch between $9 million and $12 million.

Chassis P/1016 was driven by Ronnie Bucknum and Dick Hutcherson at Le Mans as part of the Holman Moody team effort. The pair finished third behind two other GT40s.

“Few cars can be considered gold standard, but this GT40 is, and will always be remembered as one of the Fords that finally beat Ferrari,” Alexander Weaver, one of RM Sotheby’s car experts, said.

Prior to the 1966 Le Mans, Ferrari had dominated the French event. The marque had won the previous five events but Henry Ford II was determined to defeat Enzo Ferrari after a deal to purchase the Italian carmaker was nixed at the last minute.

Ford’s solution? The GT40, equipped with a 7.0-liter engine.

The American company would go on to win each Le Mans through 1969.

P/1016 was painted white with a black hood for its initial race at Sebring International Raceway in 1966. The car was then taken to the Daytona 24 Hour Continental race, where the automatic gearbox failed after 13 hours of racing. It was repaired and repainted in gold before it went to race at Le Mans.

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RM Sotheby’s said the car was the only GT40 with an automatic transmission that raced prior to the French event. At Le Mans, a Kar Kraft 4-speed gearbox replaced the automatic.

“The status of P/1016 speaks for itself, and if it wasn’t for this car, the history of motorsport as we know it would be very different,” Weaver said “The sale of this GT40 represents a real chance for any collector or motorsport enthusiast to own a significant piece of history.”

RM Sotheby’s noted that the car has been restored to its Le Mans racing livery.

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Carter Nacke is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He began his career at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix, the largest news radio station in Arizona, where he specialized in breaking news and politics. A burgeoning interest in classic cars took him to the Journal in 2018. He's still on the hunt for his dad's old 1969 Camaro.

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