Ford v Ferrari GT40 hero car headed to Mecum auction
Mecum is auctioning off a GT40 Mk II replica used in Ford v Ferrari at its Kissimmee, Florida, sale this January. The car, built by Superformace in Irvine, California, was driven by Christian Bale during filming and used in many promotional events.
Because of the replica’s time on camera, painstaking care was taken to mimic the race-leading Le Mans competitor as closely as possible. Superformance’s replica is right-hand drive and, of course, decked in the famous blue and orange livery and period accessories. The car’s also signed by both Charlie Agapiou, Ken Miles’ crew chief in 1966, and Ken Miles’ son Peter, who is also portrayed in the film.
It wasn’t just the aesthetics, though. When creating this hero car, the builders went for broke. Pop the hood on a stunt car or any other on-screen Hollywood car built for filming and you’re likely to find a late-model crate engine. More recent engines like this are simple to deal with and readily available, but it just wouldn’t do to have a Chevy LS3 powering the hero car in Ford v Ferrari. The car Ken Miles piloted to a commanding lead in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans was powered by a 427-cubic-inch Ford FE “side-oiler,” as were the other two GT40s that made the podium.
Just like in Hollywood, the right casting is important in an engine. Superformance often uses Roush crate engines, and Roush even has a 560-horsepower, 427-cu-in engine that would have been nearly perfect for the role, but that 427 is based on the 351 Windsor small-block. The displacement wasn’t critical, but Ken Miles’ hero car really needed an FE engine to be true to history.
Roush came through with a 600-hp, 511-cu-in, fuel-injected FE with an aluminum block. You can’t see the extra displacement; it just makes itself known with extra torque and horsepower. And boy, does it sing. Individual throttles feed CNC-ported aluminum cylinder heads through big valves opened by a roller cam, and the exhaust is the well-known GT40 “bundle of snakes.” That characteristic exhaust groups the exhaust primaries for cylinders 1-4-6-7 and 2-3-5-8 into two collectors so that each collector sees an exhaust pulse every 180-degrees of engine rotation, getting the exhaust-scavenging benefit of a flat-plane crankshaft without the drawbacks of its balancing. It’s safe to say that Ken Miles would have loved an engine this power-dense and light.
Mecum hasn’t estimated what this replica might sell for, and our own Hagerty valuation experts aren’t quite sure what to expect either. Good GT40 continuation cars can bring more than $100,000, and the fact that Superformance GT40s are eligible for the Shelby Registry could also encourage buyers. Valuation specialist Greg Ingold added, “I’d certainly expect the hero car to bring more, especially with the hype of the film.”
According to early reviews, the film does deliver on the hype we’ve witnessed all summer, so if you can’t make it to Kissimmee this January, you can at least hear the Roush-powered monster on the big screen.