GALLERY: Go Behind The Scenes On Our GT40 Continuation Film Shoot
Sponsored by Turtle Wax
Continuation GT40s are not pieces of kit car shenanigans, they aren’t replicas put together with a case of cheap beer next to your buddies in the garage. Not to knock the fun involved in doing something like that, but cars like this week’s subject are built as truly faithful, well, continuations of the originals—schematically accurate in more than just appearance.
When it comes to such cars, Superformance is the standard in the industry, but while he admits to the quality of their work, Ted Baird, the owner of this car, went a step further and using a collection of original parts he’d amassed over time, he made sure his GT40 would be a true 1966-spec machine. As he says, the car is still as gorgeous as ever, and with seven liters of American V8 thrust behind his head it’s not just for show either. Though of course, with something this precious he still makes sure the paint stays fresh for the times when the car isn’t shouting around a race track. Turtle Wax ICE Spray Wax is misted upon each and every panel of this thoroughbred, leaving a mirror-like shine and protection against the elements.
All that power makes straight-line speed plentiful and easy to find if you have the space to wring it out of the willing 427 big-block, but to really drive a GT40 quickly around a course with corners requires real skill. Notoriously difficult to handle—many drivers from the period who sat in these cars at 200MPH on the Mulsanne recall the steering feel at that speed being more like a boat’s than a precision race car’s.
It’s an immersive car, the kind that leaves you dehydrated and smelling like a mixture of gasoline and oil when you climb out after a well-paced jaunt around a circuit, and it’s perhaps the epitome of the American ideals of performance in the 1960s; riotously loud, extremely muscular yet still quite attractive in a traditional sense, and matched by little else on the straightaway.
That said, as we all know the GT40 project up until the MkIV models were a mixture of English and American engineering. Based on the Lola Mk6 GT, the first generations of the famous Ford employed the efforts of a very talented cast of drivers and builders from both sides of the Atlantic. Several drivers all had a hand in the development of the GT40s at one time or another, and the MkIs, IIs, and IVs were driven by some of the most respected names in sports car racing.
Now obviously Ted Baird can’t compete with the talents of those legends, but as an avid fan of the story he was enthralled by the car from his first encounter with one, and the fact that he collected original parts, made the Superformance continuation car even more accurate, and takes his GT40 to the track makes him pretty damn cool in our book. Beyond just adding a few parts here and there, he got ahold of some original blueprints for the MkII GT40s and made the changes to the rear section of the car in keeping with what Ford’s teams were doing back in the mid-‘60s when they were updating the MkI GT40s (which saw success at Le Mans, but only a few years after they debuted when the rules were changed and effectively banned the big-blocks of the MkIIs) to accept the larger capacity V8s and the extra wallop of torque that that entailed.
His car features some pretty wild pieces, like the rear air vent from the 1966 car, headers made from the original jigs, the “suitcase” boxes came from original Le Mans cars, the correct dash and gauge cluster feature prominently in the cabin, the right carb setup, the list goes on, and it took much more than a quick visit to the internet to find this stuff. That’s real dedication, and beyond the rewards of doing things thoroughly and correctly, Ted finds just as much joy in simply sharing it with others.