GT40 Mk II
In the mid-to-late 1960s, Ford made company history by winning the famous 24-hour race four years in a row. It was an almost unprecedented stretch of dominance in international long-distance racing by a single make and model. Most historians would agree that none of these victories was as important as the first, the 1966 contest in which the GT40 conquered all before it with a 1-2-3 sweep at La Sarthe.
In the weeks leading up to the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours, Henry Ford II, “The Deuce,” handed top Ford Division executive Don Frey a blue, “From Henry Ford II” card with a simple message:
“You better win.” It was signed simply “Henry” – and he was not joking.
The GT40 Mk II was the product of Kar Kraft, Ford’s stateside sports car facility, which took the initially British-built GT40 and problem-solved its weaker aspects. The bodywork was subtly modified from the original Mk I GT40s – it was both wider and taller to accommodate larger wheels – and the rear featured extra engine scoops and an adjustable spoiler. Finally, packing a 427-cu. in. ‘big-block’ V-8, Shelby driver Ken Miles concluded, “That’s the car I want to drive at Le Mans this year.”
– Edited extract, RM Southerby’s
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