One of the rarest and most prolific American race cars is going up for auction at Mecum Auctions’ 2014 Houston event: the Ford GT40 prototype “GT/104.”
The Ford GT40’s history is a long and arduous one, with many successes and failures throughout its timeline. Since the unveiling at the New York Auto Show on April 1, 1964, the GT40 has evolved from a car with a rocky start to arguably one of America’s most prolific racing cars.
(See also: Forgotten Concept: The Ford GT90)
At the beginning of its life, the GT40 model began as two prototypes: the “GT/101” and “GT/102.” These cars were initially unveiled at the 1964 New York Auto Show and were taken to the Le Mans practice weekend just weeks after their center-stage appearance. Unfortunately, both cars were wrecked at the track. This prompted Ford to create two more prototypes, “GT/103” and “GT/104.”
These next two cars went through many instances of trial-and-error until they had a successful outing in February 1966, when the GT/103 finished first at the Daytona Continental and GT/104 finished in third place. This race stands as the highlight of these cars’ careers.
Both cars were retired at the end of the season, but the GT/104 was destined for more. It was sent to Ford contractor Kar Kraft for restoration, but soon after was invoiced to Ford by Shelby American, where its restoration was completed in the Ford Styling Department. The GT/104 was sent around car shows for some time and remained in Ford’s hands until 1971 when it was sold to a private owner.
Once the GT/104 was out of Ford’s hands, it was disassembled for restoration, and only remained partially restored until June 2010. At that point, a private buyer purchased the car and handed it over to English GT40 specialist Paul Lanzante.
Lanzante used his expertise to restore the GT/104 to its original Daytona configuration, complete with accurate finishes and materials. Everything from the engine to the chassis is original and/or period-correct, making this a remarkable restoration.
Now, it seems it is time for the famed GT/104 to change hands once more at Mecum Auction’s 2014 event, which starts April 10. You can view the car’s lot to learn more by clicking the button below.
(Source: Mecum Auctions)