You can now buy one of Ford's true Le Mans GT40 legends
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Everyone knows about Ford's intense war with Ferrari in the 1960s, and how it crescendo'd at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans with a (now iconic) blue-oval whitewash of the top three.
Less well versed is the huge influence from New Zealanders there was on that podium. The winning car was driven by two of them; Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon (you may have heard of them), while Denny Hulme — Aotearoa's only Formula 1 world champion — finished second with co-driver Ken Miles of the UK.
Miles and Hulme had dominated much of the race, but were told in the late stages to slow for a formation finish, and that ultimately led to the all-Kiwi GT40 (dressed in black and white) to cross the line first in controversial fashion.
Not that Ford gave a rats about which driver finished where; all they'd cared about was thrashing Ferrari.
The third of those GT40 MkIIs was driven by two American drivers; Ronnie Bucknum and Dick Hutcherson. They finished 12 laps down, but still played a key role in the fight with their Holman & Moody–campaigned Ford.
Though Bucknum and Hutcherson have since passed away, their car lives on, and now it's set to come up for sale at RM Sotheby's August sale at Pebble Beach, Monterey, California.
Price? In the ballpark of $9–12million US Dollars, or $13–17million New Zealand Dollars.
According to the auction house, this is the exact chassis that claimed the third-placed finish — P/1016. It's been restored to racing spec and decoration, including that fabulous and uniquely '60s pink and gold livery.
There's a few interesting sidenotes, when it comes to chassis P/1016. It's the only GT40 to take on the competition equipped with an automatic transmission. And it also only raced three more times before being retired from competition.
These races included two performances at the 24 Hours Daytona Continental, and a return to Le Mans in 1967. From there it had a deservedly sedate life, jetted around the world to various car shows including the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Pebble Beach.
"The sale of this GT40 represents a real chance for any collector or motorsport enthusiast to own a significant piece of history," says RM Sotheby's Alexander Weaver.
"This Ford has been restored to the condition it raced in, which will be a vital consideration for any prospective buyer. 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.”
Should any Kiwi readers want to have a crack at bidding on this beautiful thing, it goes under the hammer on August 24–25.