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Ford GT40

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The Mk I is the original Ford GT40. Early prototypes were powered by 4.2 L (255 in³) engines; production models were powered by 4.7 L (289 in³) engines, also used in the Ford Mustang. Some prototype models had a roadster bodywork.

The Ford X1 was a roadster built to contest the Fall 1965 North American Pro Series, a forerunner of the CanAm, it was entered by Bruce McLaren team and driven by Chris Amon. The car had an aluminum chassis build at Abbey Panels and was originally powered by a 4.5 L (289ci) engine. The real purpose of this car was to test several improvements originating from either Kar Kraft, Shelby or McLaren. Several gearboxes were used, a Hewland LG500 and at least one but more probably several automatic gearboxes. It was later upgraded specification to the Mk II with a 7.0 L (427ci) engine and a standard four ratio Kar Kraft gearbox, however car kept specific features like its open roof and lightweight chassis. The car went on winning the 12H of Sebring 1966.

The Mk II used the 7.0 L (427 in³) engine from the Ford Galaxie.

For Daytona 1967, two Mk II models (chassis 1016 and 1047) were branded Mercury 7.0 L. Mercury is a Ford Motor Company division, and this was only a cosmetic change. It made no difference anyway as Ferrari won 1-2-3.

The Mk III was a road-car only, of which 31 were built. The car had four headlights, the rear part of the body was expanded to make room for luggage, the 4.7 L engine was detuned to 335 bhp, the shocks were softened, the shift lever was moved to the center and the car was available with the steering wheel on the left side of the car. The most famous Mk III is GT40 M3 1105, a blue left hand drive model delivered in 1968 in Austria to Herbert von Karajan. As the Mk III wasn't very appealing aesthetically (it looked significantly different to the racing models), many customers interested in buying a GT40 for road use chose to buy a Mk I that was available from Wyer ltd in a street version.

In an effort to develop a car with better aerodynamics and lighter weight, it was decided to retain the 7 liter engine essentially unchanged, but redesign the rest of the car. In order to bring the car more "in house" and less of a partnership with English firms, Ford Advanced Vehicles was sold to John Wyer and the new car was designed by Ford's design studios and produced by Ford's subsidiary Kar Kraft under Ed Hull, in partnership with the Brunswick Aircraft Corporation for expertise on the novel use of honeycomb aluminium panels bonded together to form a lightweight but rigid "tub". The car would make a full use of the new and more liberal the FIA's Appendix J regulations for race car construction , and was therefore known as the J-car.

The first J-car was completed in March, 1966 and set the fastest time at the LeMans trials that year; the tub weighed only 86 lb, and the entire car weighed only 2660 lb, 300 lb less than the Mk II. It was decided to run the MkIIs with their proved reliability, however, and little or no development was done on the J-car for the rest of the season. The next year development was back on, and a second car was built; during high speed testing, the car became airborne and went off the road. The honeycomb chassis did not live up to its design goal, shattering into myriads of pieces upon impact, and the wreck immediately burst into flames, killing the team's most successful driver, Ken Miles. It was decided that the unique, flat-topped "bread van" aerodynamics of the car, lacking any sort of spoiler, were implicated in generating excess lift, and a more conventional but significantly more aerodynamic than the Mk II body was designed for the Mk IV. [1] The new body was 15 mph faster than the Mk II on the Mulsanne Straight.

The Mk IV was build around a reinforced J chassis powered by the same 7.0 L engine as the Mk II. Excluding the engine, the Mk IV was totally different from other GT40s, using a specific chassis and specific bodywork.

The Ford G7A was a Canam car using the J chassis. Unlike the earlier Mk.I,II and III cars, which were entirely British, the Ford J and mk. IV were built in America by Shelby.

The major difficulty of course was the expulsion of the ford GT40 from the le mans in 1970

 

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