1966 Ford GT40
The story of the GT40 is one of triumph and heartache, or perhaps heartburn. To break into the European racing scene Henry Ford II tired to acquire Ferrari, but ultimately negotiations with Enzo fell through. In the process things had gotten personal.
Ford, the man, not the company, lusted after a Le Mans victory. To make this a reality he set out to build his own racecar capable of beating Ferrari in its own backyard. The Blue Oval developed and campaigned a revolutionary new vehicle in the form of the GT40.
The number in its name stands for a significant dimension of the vehicle. It has nothing to do with horsepower, acceleration or braking performance, rather how high it sits above the pavement. The original GTs were extremely low-slung, standing just 40 inches tall.
But what makes this car such a legend it what it achieved on the racetrack. With a little help from the late Carroll Shelby, and a rear-mounted 7.0-liter V8 engine, it accomplished the unthinkable.
In the summer of 1966 this American performance ambassador competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Not only did Ford win the celebrated endurance race, it swept the podium with a 1-2-3 finish. The GT40 also carried the company to victory in ’67, ’68 and ’69.