The Ford GT40 is a race car of 1966 in a row won the 24 Hours of Le Mans four years. It was named after the class Gran Turismo (in which he was never homologated) and its overall height of 40 inches (about 101 cm). A total of 134 cars (racing and road cars) were built from 1964 to 1968.
In 1962, Henry Ford II wanted to re-enter the international racing to take advantage of the at that time increasingly popular endurance race in Le Mans and Indianapolis for the advertisement of his own cars. Especially with the young people these events increased more and more in the favor. At this time, the Europeans dominated clear in this field, not least because the American automobile manufacturers in 1957 to voluntarily withdraw from the Motorsport had decided. This situation had a negative impact on the image of the car brand, but was a successful racing usage always as convincing evidence of engineering and reliability. It is these values ??did Ford with the entry (and the planned success) in the Le Mans win.
In order to share a ride to the front seats as quickly as possible, Henry Ford II wanted to buy the entire company Ferrari. The initial negotiations with Enzo Ferrari ran good. When Il Commendatore declared that he wanted the future racing department Ferrari Ford conduct, which then also be called Ferrari Ford, Ford refused. In May 1963, the department finally blurted, as Enzo Ferrari announced that Ferrari would no longer be for sale.
The construction of the GT40 can thus be seen as retaliation: Ford decided to build its own ambitious sports program and to beat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. For this, a special development team was in Slough, England, used. The help of Eric Broadley was assured itself (including its prototype Lola Ford V8 engine) and thereafter undertook John Wyer (formerly Aston Martin) as head of the program. The result was 1964, the GT40.
1965 the decision was made to bring a limited number of pieces in the sale. The Mk 1 was sold in Rennkit, the Mk 3 should be sold to some wealthy buyers when needed. Under the brawny body was a solid frame made of steel. In the prototype of a 4.2-liter V8 worked with Colotti gearbox of Ford USA, the street versions possessed, however, with 4.7-liter engines (always ahead of the rear axle fitted) and ZF transmissions.
Ford built a new 7-liter engine for the Mk 2 to 1966 in Le Mans win finally. Chris Amon and Bruce McLaren celebrated the long awaited victory over Ferrari. 1967 got the GT40 Le Mans for a new body and went as MK IV at the start. Last year’s victory could be repeated. Later versions also won in 1968 and 1969. The racing cars were about 320km/h.
Production began in early 1965 in Slough; almost all models have been built there in the next three years. Only a handful of copies with valid road approval was sold. Disadvantages of the GT40 were weak ventilation and poor visibility. A total of 124 were built, of which twelve prototypes and ten Mk 4 Ford himself speaks of 94 series cars, including seven Mk 31 Mk 3 and 1 were converted for the road.
The Ford GT90, a concept car from the year 1995, the nomenclature of the GT40 again. Here, the number refers to the name no longer on the height, but on the decade of its formation.
In 2002, Ford pointed to a car show the real successor to the Ford GT40. With modern technology and hardly altered appearance presented itself now called Ford GT cars. For two reasons accounted for the additional 40. First, Ford GT40 had the rights to the name not backed up. On the demand of 40 million U.S. dollars of the owner of Ford did not want to go. Second, the new car got 43 inches high, so that the name no longer fits would have been.