This Ford GT40 Replica Was Born To Tear It Up Tastefully
Story by Eric Dean // Photography by Brian Bassard (aka Blacktop Motoring)
I’ve always been nostalgic for the racing cars of the ’60s and ’70s. Films like Grand Prix and Le Mans captured my imagination like nothing else. The sights, sounds, and bravery of those drivers had a profound impact on me at an early age.
So, I bought a basket case 1968 ASP Formula Vee in my twenties, and my obsession spiraled out of control from there. I restored the car to the best of my abilities and went racing. I wasn’t a very good driver or mechanic at the time, but I learned that I loved the challenge of both. Over time, I moved from the back of the pack to the front, and my standards for car preparation became higher and higher. I would often completely restore a car that I had built only a few seasons prior, because I knew it could be better. I then became completely obsessed with racing and restoring Merlyn Formula Fords.
After restoring several vintage formula cars from the ground up I was ready for my next project…or so I thought.
As it turns out, my experience building and restoring race cars, didn’t equip me as well as I thought it might to build a replica of what I believed to be the greatest car of all time. All of the cars I’ve previously built, had at one time been whole. Not this one. Building a replica requires a lot of patience, trial and error, and a good bit more fabrication than I imagined. The smartest thing I did was hire my friend Dave Lyman, who is an amazingly talented engineer and fabricator to work alongside me on evenings and weekends. I also built the car at my friend Geoff’s shop Alloy Motors, which is outfitted with lifts, a full machine shop, metal shaping tools, welders, a paint booth, and extra help when needed. This probably shaved a year off the 3-year project.
My vision for the car was to build it as if it were a private team entry for Le Mans, keeping it as stripped down, lightweight, and raw as possible. No interior luxuries, and little in the way of modern amenities. A purposeful racecar that can go fast, handle, and still be driven on the street. It isn’t an accurate recreation of a specific car but it was important to me that it was built in the spirit of the era.
I started with an RCR chassis, which is a beautifully fabricated all-aluminum monocoque. Interestingly enough, I once read an article in which the Eric Broadley, the Lola designer that originally designed the GT40 MKI, said he wanted the car to be of aluminum monocoque construction. Ford ultimately built it in steel but later went on to build the MK4 cars out of aluminum. The body is taken from a mold of an original GT40, so it very much looks the part. The engine, built by Keith Craft, is a small block Ford mated to a Porsche G50 trans with a Guards clutch-style limited slip diff. The engine puts out 440 horsepower and 425 lbs-ft of torque. Fully assembled, it weighs in at around 2,300 pounds. It’s the 1968 Eric Dean Vintage Racing GT40.
It’s terrifyingly fast, mind-numbingly loud, completely uncivilized, and I absolutely love it.