Hagerty recently had the pleasure of hosting all three generations of the Ford GT in the lobby of our headquarters in Traverse City, Michigan. They looked great (and sounded better) but, unfortunately, the GT40, 2005 GT, and modern V-6 GT are now back home with their owners. The good news, however, is that you won’t have to come all the way to northern Michigan the next time such a momentous grouping of the Blue Oval’s finest comes together.
In fact, if you’re bound for Monterey Car Week in August, you’ll be able to catch the American triumvirate crossing the block at RM Sotheby’s auction. The sale will include a 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype, two 2005 Ford GTs, and a 2017 Ford GT.
“It’s hugely significant to be able to sell this group of cars together,” says RM Sotheby’s global head of auctions Gord Duff.
It’s a story so good there have been (several) feature films made about it. In this case, though, the real-life drama of Ford’s shocking upset and four-year domination of Ferrari at Le Mans during the 1960s exceeds any need for heightened movie magic.
Though the lion’s share of the GT40’s production run was made up of 87 production examples denoted with serial numbers beginning with the letter P, Ford made 12 development prototype cars with their own sequential GT prefixes. The car for sale (chassis GT/108) is the eighth prototype of 12, the first of five roadsters, and the first built at the Ford Advanced Vehicles (FAV) plant in Slough, UK.
GT/108—fitted with a Cobra-spec 289-cubic-inch V-8 and a Colotti T37 transaxle on a custom steel chassis specific to the roadsters—was apparently intended to be only used for temporary testing needs, including early runs at Silverstone. Once Carroll Shelby got it into his shop in Venice, California, his team promptly went to work fixing and modifying it for continued use, particularly for promotion of the GT40. Rules are for squares.
Famed driver Ken Miles got behind the wheel and turned some laps in a few noted instances, including one during a promotional event at Laguna Seca and another as part of continued GT40 development testing at Riverside ahead of the race car’s Le Mans debut. But GT/108 wasn’t done playing its part in history—when Ford’s board of directors visited Shelby headquarters, several executives received ride-alongs, including Henry Ford II with Carroll Shelby at the wheel. Clearly Henry had himself a good time, because he continued to dump money into the project at great cost in the name of a chance at victory.
Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, during a demonstration at Watkins Glen one day during the summer of 1965, Formula 1 legend Jim Clark drove it a handful of laps.
After GT/108 was retained by Ford’s Kar Kraft outfit and used for GT40 Mark IV development, it changed hands several times until 1992. That year it joined a prominent collection in the Pacific Northwest, where it would remain for 22 years. The car benefited from a mechanical overhaul in 2003, and when it was eventually sold in 2014 it commanded $6.93M, more than a million shy of its $8M low estimate. At the time, we rated it a #2 (Excellent-condition) car, which translates to a value of $7M, according to our data. We value Concours-condition (#1-rated) cars at $8.5M.
“All the people that got behind the wheel of this car, from Carroll Shelby to Ken Miles—just imagine the conversations that must have been had to further the development of a historic car like the GT40,” RM’s Duff says.
“There’s no better place to offer a car for all the world to see than Monterey, and we normally don’t see a lot of American-made cars generating such world interest.”
With that said, this car is utterly special, and despite having no period racing to claim, it’s not hyperbole to say GT/108 is a legendary car in the Ford pantheon. And given RM’s lineup this year, there will be a lot of Ford GT fanatics in the room, which means if two bidders want it badly enough, we could see sparks fly.
Pre-sale estimates: $300,000–$350,000 and $275,000–$325,000, respectively
Honoring both Ford’s 100th birthday and four decades since the Blue Oval’s upset of Ferrari at Le Mans, the 2005–06 Ford GT was a supercar steeped in tradition. The looks were indeed retro, but the performance was wicked—a 5.4-liter V-8 making 550 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque, propelling the American wedge from 0–60 mph in 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph. Not to mention it was faster and $30,000 cheaper than its chief rival, the Ferrari F430.
The Ford GT was collectible essentially right out of the gate, and today prices for quality examples are worth more than twice the original MSRP. On average, #2-condition cars sell for $326,000, versus $392,000 for elite #1 cars.
RM is offering two examples of the retro GT at Monterey—a midnight blue car with white stripes and fewer than 100 miles on the clock, alongside a white car with blue stripes showing 1300 miles. Both cars were ordered with all four factory options, including the aforementioned stripes, forged aluminum BBS wheels, painted brake calipers, and an upgraded McIntosh stereo.
Let’s start with the white car. While 1300 miles may sound like nothing, in the world of auction-quality Ford GTs with low miles, it’s on the medium-to-high side. These cars are becoming staples at high-end auctions, and they’re still very much desirable, but there are simply a small supply of ultra-low-mile examples among the total 4000-unit production run that command the highest prices. We’d expect the white GT to go for about $280,000.
As for the blue car, less than 100 miles is nice, but this year we’ve seen three cars with less than 5 miles on the odometer. You read that right—less than five miles. (RM sold a 4.4-mile 2006 GT last year for $357,000.) On the plus side, this car looks outstanding in blue with red-painted brake calipers, and if you’re not concerned about ultra-low mileage you don’t have to pay the premium it. We project this car will change hands for about $336,000.
The Ford GT’s successful modern-day Le Mans campaign may be over, but the legacy of the Blue Oval’s current halo car is still very much taking shape. Ford will wind down final production of its limited-run supercar in 2022, and this summer’s big news was the recently-revealed track-only Mk II.
Things will get even more interesting when this stunning, one-off Beryllium Orange GT takes the stage at Monterey. Remember, a few brazen efforts were made to resell examples of the modern GT before the end of Ford’s agreed-upon two-year waiting period from the date of delivery. RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale, the auction house expects, will be one of the first “unencumbered” public auctions of the 647-hp, twin-turbo V-6-powered supercar. Originally delivered in early August of 2017, this was one of the first GTs allocated and has seen fewer than 400 miles of driving.
Duff says the next 12–24 months will be especially interesting, as the first GTs delivered come out of their restriction periods and into eligibility for sale. Whether the Beryllium Orange car coming to Monterey will set the market long term won’t be clear until more cars come up for sale, but there’s no doubt this will be a very public stage to find out just how much these new GTs are actually worth.
A new Ford GT costs between $450,000–$500,000 depending on customization and options. Just where this example will fall is uncharted territory, but having all three generations of the GT on hand certainly won’t hurt. “They will complement one another on auction night,” Duff says. “Ford brought out a new version where the look and the feel is the same, and the people that love these cars are die-hard Blue Oval.”
If RM Sotheby’s wants to get people really hyped, I’d suggest playing the Ford vs Ferrari trailer on a constant loop during the auction preview. With the movie arriving November 15, the whole country is about to soak in this heroic underdog story all over again.