Featured: This Ford GT40 Is A Surreal Trip

This Ford GT40 Is A Surreal Trip

By Nat Twiss
September 9, 2015
34 comments

Photography by Nat Twiss

The Ford GT40 is an undeniable classic, the legendary “Ferrari killer”. But they’re not exactly a car you could drive on Sundays, with auction figures for them running as high as $11 million. That leaves most sane people one option: a replica.

And this one, right here, is a special thing indeed.

Before you all run away at the sight of the word “replica”, let me tell you that I think it receives a bad rap sometimes, especially in the classic car community. To some people, the word brings up images of inauthentic, asymmetrical, fibreglass monstrosities; and to others, a replica frees you from the financial constraints of owning a dream car, of worrying less about a scratch or a scuff picked up at the track or on a Sunday drive, and enjoying the essence of a legendary automobile with fewer stresses. You run the gamut of quality with replicas, but if you find the right example, you’d be hard-pressed to know the difference once you’re driving.

I met Dave, the owner of this replica GT40, last year at a small meet in the Lake District. With maybe fifteen cars in the car park, ranging from classic Capris to modern machinery, his red, low-slung machine stood out like a sore thumb. We struck up a conversation, and he kindly let me peek under the hood at the modified Ford 302 V8, as well as in the interior, which, unlike many more contemporary replicas, is not full of modern luxuries. A simple Sabelt harness, as well as a GPS speedometer are really all you can find…a particularly useful addition when the car is driven across the UK and Europe to classic car events and circuits, including trips and laps around the iconic Le Mans and Spa-Francorchamps circuits.

This particular example was created as a one-off in 1995 by Ricardo Engineering, as a demonstrator and prototype for a possible foray in selling replicas. Don’t know who Ricardo is? It’s the company that supplied the Bugatti Veyron with its 1,001+ horsepower-handling DCT transmission.

Based on the ubiquitous GT40 “GTD” chassis, Ricardo managed to take an already well-regarded piece of engineering and elevate it, eventually going on to supply parts for the ‘new’ Ford GT in 2006. Dave estimates that the car laps nearly 6 seconds a lap faster than some replicas on certain circuits. Off-track, it can comfortably make a 1,400 mile trip to Le Mans while dealing with the bumps and awful traffic of the UK motorway system. With superb circuit credentials and ability to handle long journeys, what more could you really want in a car, let alone one that looks this good?

When people ask me for a response to the terrible replicas of the world, this will be my answer. At a tiny fraction of the original price, does the experience even change? The car can certainly fool a camera lens.

Besides, when you’re at the wheel, inches from the ground, V8 roaring behind, peering through the letterbox windscreen at the corner that lies before you, who’s to say you aren’t in a GT40?

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Adam
Adam
4 years ago

I’m not even joking when I say that these are the most gorgeous, pornographic photos of ANYTHING I have ever seen in my entire life. Absolutely stunning photos of a stunning piece of engineering. PS, I know this is an old post.

Dave Garner
Dave Garner
6 years ago

Hi Arnoldo, the only video I have is from inside the car, which is where I am 🙂
So whilst quite a bit of video gets taken of the car, just like the stills photos I don’t get to see it. 🙁
HOWEVER If you go to the front page of the GT40 Enthusiasts club web site http://www.gt40enthusiastsclub.com/ under the title ‘Anglesey Sprint Video’ there is a link to a short film a friend of mine made of springing in a GT40 at the Anglesey Circuit – you will see my car in the background of some of the shots. There is a good inside/outside sequence of Angus spinning the car on the last hairpin – he ends up crossing the line backwards – but the time sill counted!
Dave

Arnaldo Juris Maclang
Arnaldo Juris Maclang
6 years ago

I WANT TO SEE A VIDEO OF IT ON YOUTUBE. 😀

novaf4
novaf4
6 years ago

I think you (the writer) have completely gone down the wrong track when constructing this article and if I were the owner I wouldn’t be particularly happy.

Instead of using most of your words to inform the readers about the rather contravertial subject that is the ‘replica’, you should have understood that a GT40 replica – any as far as I know – are a respectful homage to the original; to be discussed in a positive manner without any need to even think about whether or not a replica is a bad thing or not. For a GT40 replica that should not even come into one’s head. There’s a distinct difference between a GT40 replica (and many others such as the best Cobra replica’s, 50’s and 60’s Jag replicas and many more) that fall into this category, compared to the far cry that is something horrendous like a modern Ferrari replica based on a Toyota MR2 for example. Your words would only suit the discussion one of those replicas in the ‘awful’ bag, but one that happens to have been made to a rather better standard. That’s where the ‘replica’ argument is; not with a GT40 replica. A GT40 replica is so acceptable that the fact it’s a replica is quite frankly irrelavant.

Go to the UK Stoneleigh Kit Car Show in April/May and you will see some amazing GT40 replica’s.

I happen to be saving up for a CAV GT. Arguably the best GT40 replica ever made. When I’ve finished building it I won’t be going around sheepishly or be embarassed to know it’s a replica.

The ‘replica’ argument is a good one though. I’ve read many different view points and no one will ever agree. One could say, “I fink ‘aving a fake Ferrari 355 is perfectly acceptable cos I’ll never be able to afford one, innit.” On the other hand I can’t think of anything more embarassing than driving around in a fake Ferrari. The word ‘sad’ springs to mind. The fact that one can buy one easily and for not that much money probably helps the argument against them existing.

An original GT40, if you can find one, would cost in the region of £1M. Totally out of reach for most people. Plus they weren’t exactly nice to drive. The best replicas – if we have to use that word – are comfortable, easy to drive and designed for better driving experience.

To really seal the deal I wouldn’t be surprised if most original GT40 owners would only be full of praise if a replica GT40 were presented in front of them.

I’ve loved all your articles but this one warranted a different type of response. Sorry!

Nice GT40 by the way. How about editing out some of the ‘replica’ waffle and tell us how it drives?

ThePorscheMan
ThePorscheMan
6 years ago
Reply to  novaf4

Couldn’t agree more. I’ve been a HUGE fan of Kit Cars and Replicas for 40+ years. (even some of the crappy ones!)

Dave Garner
Dave Garner
6 years ago

Thanks for posting the photo from Shelsley-Walsh Andrew – the car gets photographed a LOT but I never get to see the photos!:(

Glad you enjoyed the runs up Shelsley – it is a fantastic hill climb and the atmosphere is unbeatable. The one thing that can’t come across from Natt’s photos is the sound – given what they achieved with this car’s exhaust note it is no surprise that Riccardo were contracted to design & build the exhaust for the McLaren MP4-12C,

Reverberocket
Reverberocket
6 years ago

My BiL has a very nice MGTD replica that he bought cheap. We both have other, original British roadsters, but he found this deal too good to refuse. His intent was to flip it. Front engined, and original compliant – he’s accessorized it with many original accents and toys. Watkins Glen is less than an hour away, and we’ve taken his replica there for their vintage festival a few times. The experience is much the same as with an original (which we’ve also done); people are happy to see it, ask questions (he’s always forthcoming), take pictures… but the unexpected thing he found was the freedom. He doesn’t worry about it. He can park it anywhere. It’s ‘only’ a replica. He can tweak it and mess with it however he wants, without compromising it’s originality. There’s a lot to be said for that experience. He’s had a hell of a lot of fun with it, for the fraction of the cost of an original.

Benjamin Pette
Benjamin Pette
6 years ago

For me there is no replica of this quality level that you could ignore.

But some replicas are just insane and they don’t understand why the “Ferrari F40” with a Nissan mechanic is not accepted on the meetings… When the work is just as perfect as Dave’s car, no problem.
Last word : the owner should everytime be clear about the replicas, don’t say “It’s a true one, I bought it for 2 dollars but I’m lucky”.

[url=”http://www.newsdanciennes.com”]www.newsdanciennes.com[/url]

Nick Holbrook
Nick Holbrook
6 years ago

anyone who likes this should have a look at the gelscoe motorsport website – as well as restoring several original GT40’s Gelscoe also make a full on toolroom copy of the GT40.
They might not have the history of an original car, but are made using the original design blueprints and are identical to the real deal down to the last nut and bolt. Good enough that they are eligible for FIA historic passports and have been entered into the Le Mans Classic and Goodwood Revival.

http://gelscoemotorsport.com/ – its like engineering porn 🙂

Andrew Salt
Andrew Salt
6 years ago
Reply to  Nick Holbrook

Thanks for the link Nick.

Juan Mastromarino
Juan Mastromarino
6 years ago

Although I recognize its performace and historical fame, I would not call the GT40 a “Ferrari killer”… Unless by killer you take “car created by the testicular decision of an angry Ford son, who spent millions in developing something that raced twice (´64 -´65) against Ferrari, until it finally managed to beat it after 2 years with a double-size engine”…

Reverberocket
Reverberocket
6 years ago

A lot of what you say is true, but you know what else is true?
A Ferrari won Le Mans 6 years in a row (’60-’65), then a Ford GT40 won 4 times in a row…and a Ferrari hasn’t won in the 50 years since it’s last victory. Audi, Porsche, Peugeot…Mazda(!) have all won, but no Ferrari.

Alex Daniel
Alex Daniel
6 years ago

I am a big fan of an original classic car but I am not rich so if I can get my hands on a replica that has been built correctly and very close to original then why not? It seems that as of late the prices of classics have been going insanely high. I doubt that I will ever be able to afford an original but if I can build one that can get me close to that feeling of owning the real thing then who cares what anyone else thinks. Its all about the experience. I own a 1972 Fiat 500L and 2011 Porsche Cayman. Both are far apart in performance but the experience of driving either I wouldn’t trade for the world. I have wanted to own a 550 spyder for some time but a well built replica seems to be more realistic. I would own that GT40 replica for sure.

Andrew Salt
Andrew Salt
6 years ago

This car was one of my favourites at the Shelsley Walsh meet earlier this year. After taking a number of photos in the pits area, I hot-footed it up the hill to see it thunder past – stunning. I don’t care in the slightest whether it is a replica or not. The experience for me was the same either way.
Brilliant article and stunning photographs. I feel privileged to have seen this car in the flesh – and in action on the oldest still-active race venue in the world too.

Jose Velez
Jose Velez
6 years ago

I am on my second ERA GT. I did not try to be a purist on my second car. The wheels are 17″ BRM Style painted in the Gulf blue/orange and is right had drive. The brakes are big and power assisted since I wanted the car to stop well. The engine is a stroked to 409 since I did not what race to 427 Cobra at any up hill track like Road America or any modern Mustang SVT. Single 4V since I wanted to start and run well. Now I need the time to able to use it. I think the GT40 MK-I design is ageless and still the best looking car.

Dave Garner
Dave Garner
6 years ago

I do use the car in the wet occasionally – this was 29th April 2012 at Blyton Park. Only 4 of us stupid enough to go out in these conditions but it was ace fun, and it gave the opportunity to get a real feel for the way the car responds in the wet. It does ‘warn you’ as you get to the limit listen to the car and you can work with it – if you fail to respond to the warning, things get very exciting very quickly.

For those who like their GT40’s in a ‘solid colour’, this was before the white ‘moustache’ and overstripe went on.

The car in the background of the second photo is………………………. an Audi TT, as Chris says, it is not a big car!

The photo is courtesy of Xtreme Sports Photography

Chris Espy
Chris Espy
6 years ago

Beautiful car. I’d much rather see an impeccable replica out on the road than not at all. What always shocks me is how small these cars really are.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
6 years ago

Beautiful car.
Beautiful photographs.

Thank you for sharing.

Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson
6 years ago

Hey Dave,
It sounds like you get to travel the world in that beautiful thing! If you ever make it to the Pacific North West (Monty Shelton Rally for example) and a farmer comes up and introduces himself maybe you could invite him for a ride…just a suggestion.

I think you’ve got it nailed. One of the greatest cars of all time in a version you can actually enjoy – wow!

Bryan

Bryan Dickerson
Bryan Dickerson
6 years ago

Maybe it would have bugged the purists but I think this car and setting would have made an awesome video.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago

Agreed … in spades … and to heck with the purists !

Alvaro
Alvaro
6 years ago

This is the second replica beauty that I see and love in this site (I think it was a 250 Ferrari TR, which was borderline authentic).

However this article inspires an interesting question: When is it acceptable to own/drive a replica?? How about an artlicle on that Petrolicious?? I have always loved those 289-427 Cobras….

Great article and photos. Loved the car, congratulations to the owner!

Dave Garner
Dave Garner
6 years ago

Glad you like the car – I do compete with it at hill climbs and sprints so from my perspective the race numbers are appropriate i.e. it IS a race car – though ironically when going to/from races I have to cover the numbers to comply with MSA rules!

In performance terms I run approx 355bhp from the Ford 302/Holley 600cfm Quad Barreled carb combination, compared to around 400bhp for the racers in the 1960’s – but they rebuilt the engines between races and having done a couple of engine rebuilds over the past couple of years (one to do the engine upgrades and the second following a major component failure) I can’t say I would want to do that every couple of weeks!

On Michael’s comment about the Mk111 they look quite different to this Mk1 replica, having a longer tail (with a couple of luggage bins), twin headlights, a different profile to the front clip and a centrally mounted gear shift (which was notoriously ‘imprecise’).

Many thanks to Natt for his awesome photos and skillfully crafted words

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago
Reply to  Dave Garner

Apologies if any offense was taken from my expression of my personal preferences though methinks you’d also find your definition of a ‘ race ‘ car along with what constitutes racing and mine would be at distinct odds as well . But its your car … do as you please and believe what you wish … just be willing to give me the freedom of voicing my own opinions in the process 😉

Michael Maunsell
Michael Maunsell
6 years ago

Guitar Slinger, Ford did indeed produce a road going version of the Ford GT. Unfortunately they only managed to sell 7 of their Mk III road cars. I’m sure Ford would have loved to sell more, but at $18,500 there weren’t many takers in 1967.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago

Ahem good sir number two. If you read my post you’ll see that I mentioned the road going versions Ford pieced together one at a time and on a for order only basis yet never chose to put into … ‘ Production ”

By the way … selling them was not the problem . Convincing Ford’s board of directors to manufacture the cars on a limited basis in order to go head to head with Ferrari on the road as well was . Ford having already spent their penny ten fold in order to beat Ferrari on the track . By the way …. that was also the downfall of the GT70 . Ford had blown its wad at LeMans and had no more wad to spend .. the Escort was cheap … and voila .. no GT40 road car … and no GT70 rally car

Please .. in the future take the time to read my posts in their entirety before commenting on them .. as well as making use of that magic little icon below labeled … REPLY … hmmn … go figure

Douglas Anderson
Douglas Anderson
6 years ago

Rarely do I agree with much the Guitar Slinger has to say , but on this one I think he is pretty close to the mark.
Dissing someone’s paint or number idea is a cheap shot , ( he owns it and likes it , so who are we to disagree), but the rest is OK by me.
As a retired old fart, not even able to imagine the cost of an original , the idea of a “Replicar” is always on my radar.
Unfortunately , unless I won the lotto even those escape my meager dollar abilities and savings any longer .

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago

Ahem good sir but I was not ‘ dissing ‘ the man’s paint job or ornamentation but rather expressing my own personal preference . I would think being a man of a certain age like myself you’d recognize the difference . But then again perhaps you subscribe to the Politically Correct zeitgeist of life where as i most certainly do not . Without opinions and especially contradictory opinions creativity would cease to exist

Can Eyilik
Can Eyilik
6 years ago

That is automative art. Replica or not, makes no difference to me. I would drive this masterpiece proudly. Congrats to the owner.

Gabriel Marin
Gabriel Marin
6 years ago

Quite an impressive replica. I myself used to loathe that word (most of the times by a good reason) but this is truly beautiful. And congrats for those pictures, I can’t stop staring at them!

Jim Valcarcel
Jim Valcarcel
6 years ago

Mark, I could not agree with you more. Dead on!

Mark Jansen
Mark Jansen
6 years ago

It’s all about the driving experiance or fantasy any automabile envokes within its driver. Its being a replica is irrelevant as long as this experience is achieved. This one certainlly seems to do this quite successfully for its owner, boy racer stripes and all!

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago

Other than the ‘ boy racer ‘ numbers which annoy me to no end [ the stripes i can live with ] that is one seriously well done GT40 replica by a very serious engineering company . Considering its just a ‘ prototype ‘ kind of makes me sad Ricardo didn’t follow up with a production model . But then again in light of the incredible machines coming out of Superformance perhaps a viable and profitable business plan could not be sorted out .

As far as is the experience going to be any different in this or any other well done replica vs driving the real thing ? Of course there will be . From its performance [ which is much improved ] to the ergonomics [ the original GT40’s even the rarified street versions are horrid ] and right down to the materials used everything about this [ and Superformance’s ] replica will be much improved over the original

But for those nose in the air purists looking down on this try looking at it this way . Superformance is …. and Ricardo almost did make up for Ford’s ‘ original ‘ sin for which Ford should never be forgiven regardless of how many GT’s they build down the road .

That being the sin of not producing a road version of the GT40 … not to mention skipping over the GT70 rally version of the GT40 back in the day .

By the way . Thats a great set of photos regardless of the format used

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

PS; When it comes to replicas .. trust me .. you haven’t lived till you driven a Beck or an Intermeccanica 356 Speedster or 550 .Spyder replica . Both of which are now fully accepted and welcome at any and all POC events worldwide … assuming they’ve got a VW or Porsche [ POLO Porsche as well ] engine in the back/middle