5/27/2014 - GT40 Roadster Prototype Highlights RM Monterey Auction
Monterey, CA -- This coming August, RM Auctions will have more significant Ford motorsport history on the block: the 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype, chassis GT/108. The eighth of 12 GT40 prototypes built, this very original example has been in the owner's collection for more than two decades. Used in testing and development by Shelby American, this early GT40 roadster was driven by Ken Miles, Carroll Shelby, and Jim Clark, and is finished in classic American racing colors, white with blue stripes. With another early GT40 just having passed the block for $7 million (factory team car GT/104 at Mecum's Houston sale last month -- Ed.) this car will certainly be a focal point of RMs efforts this summer on the Peninsula.
As one of only a select group of prototypes built, and the first of only four GT40 roadsters, GT/108 holds an important place in history as a development/demonstrator vehicle for Ford and Shelby American. Completed by Ford Advanced Vehicles in March 1965, GT/108 was tested at Silverstone by John Whitmore and Richard Atwood before shipment to Shelby American. It then accompanied the Shelby USRRC team to Riverside Raceway in May, where GT/108 was used for exhibition purposes. In July, also at Riverside, GT/108 was driven by Ken Miles for further testing. Later that same month, it was used as a demonstrator at the Ford Board of Directors meeting at Shelby Americans facility in Los Angeles. At this meeting, Ken Miles, this time attired in coat and tie, provided demonstration rides to board members and executives. However, when it came to Mr. Fords turn, Carroll Shelby himself jumped behind the wheel. The car was later featured at the U.S. Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, NY in October 1965, where it was reportedly driven by Jim Clark.
An extremely well-documented example well known in the GT40 community, GT/108 will make its auction debut at RMs Monterey sale in August following more than two decades in single ownership within a prominent collection. As stated by John S. Allen in his book, GT40: The Legend Lives On, prototype GT/108 is currently the only intact example of the marque still to carry the correct 1965-style nose, and the low tail section unique to roadsters. (Further) 108 is the only roadster, or spyder, to remain in as-built condition. The car comes with the engine that was in the vehicle when GT/108 was sold into private hands from the Ford Factory via Kar Kraft in 1965.
The car has been lightly campaigned and shown at various events over the years, including the GT40 25th anniverary reunion in Watkins Glen (1989), plus Pebble Beach and Amelia Island concours events and The Quail in Monterey.
Photo: The engine bay, as delivered by Kar Kraft to private owner in 1965 (photo: Pawel Litwinski, courtesy RM Auctions).