News: Rare Ford GT Roadster That Raced Le Mans Could Fetch $10m

Rare Ford GT Roadster That Raced Le Mans Could Fetch $10m

News Desk By News Desk
June 30, 2020
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Pretty much everyone knows the story of the Ford GT40: how it beat its arch rival Ferrari at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans in a 1-2-3 finish, and then went on to win the next three years at La Sarthe. But few remember its sister car, the GT Roadster, a one-off attempt at the endurance event in roofless guise. And it’s that rarity that could garner a whopping $10 million when it comes to auction in July.

The 1965 Ford GT Competition Prototype Roadster at Mecum Auctions is actually one of five prototypes built by Ford Advanced Vehicles in England, but it’s one of only two remaining in the world. And this example is the only one ever to take on Le Mans.

Driven by 1954 Le Mans winner (and two-time Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix victor) Maurice Trintignant alongside Equipe Ligier founder Guy at the 1965 event, chassis number GT/109 suffered a gearbox problem just 11 laps in and never raced again.

The car was sent back to Shelby American for a rebuild, then moved to Kar Kraft, Ford’s performance vehicle operations in Detroit, for development purposes. Soon after, it was abandoned, left in a warehouse before being discovered again by Hollywood stuntman and California car customizer Dean Jeffries in 1968, who purchased it from Ford. Jeffries owned GT/109 for the rest of his life, and began a full restoration.

The third owner, who purchased the car from Jeffries’ son, has since finished the concours-quality restoration. In fact, this Roadster took home 2nd in-class at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, as well as Best in Show at the Milwaukee Concours d’Elegance.

The rarity, provenance and restoration of this GT Roadster will come at a price though, with estimates ranging from $7.5 million to $10 million when it hits the block at Mecum’s Indy 2020 auction on July 10-18.

*Images courtesy of Mecum Auctions

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Does anyone know why the car went topless? What performance gains, if any, would be had?