Rivalry on the auction block: 3 Fords v 3 Ferraris
With the Ford v Ferrari movie coming out in a few months, the old rivalry forged at Le Mans is once again on the mind of every car enthusiast. As we approach Monterey Car Week, we explore three of the most important Ford and Ferrari track cars on offer at the auctions surrounding the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
These race cars are primed to bring big money. Which side are you rooting for?
The GT40 is the car that defines the Ford v Ferrari rivalry and of the 12 prototypes, this is the first of five Roadsters produced. This car was sent to Shelby American for modifications and promptly used for testing and promotional purposes. It was tested heavily by Ken Miles, who would later cross the finish line first at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans but place second on a technicality. This was also the car used to demonstrate the GT40’s capabilities to the Ford board members, where Carroll Shelby himself would take Henry Ford II out for his one and only ride in the GT40. In the decades that followed, the GT40 would remain close to its original condition, which is huge considering that it was used as a test car for the Mk IV GT40. Since then, the car has appeared at Pebble Beach twice, the Quail Motorsports Gathering twice, and the Amelia Island Concours once. It is an exceptional car that sold for $6.93M in 2014, and is sure to perform strongly again.
The GT was Ford’s first modern supercar. The retro styling throwback to the GT40 still looks good 14 years later. To achieve supercar-level performance, Ford dropped in a DOHC 5.4-liter V-8, which is supercharged to make 550 hp. With this level of horsepower, the GT was good for over 200 mph. In order to advertise these performance numbers, however, Ford had to test the car. That is where this car comes in. Mecum Auctions is offering Plant Build 1, car number 1. The car was used for speed testing at the Nardo Ring in Italy, where the GT was certified at 209 mph, beating Ford’s goal of 205 mph. The GT was also used for testing at the Nürburgring and as a press car. While the GT is offered on a bill of sale, and a usage agreement will be in place between Ford and the new owner, the massive estimate isn’t insane. The last 2005–06 GT Prototype to sell at auction went for $836,000 back in 2016, and this car is sure to be the crown jewel of any Ford GT collection.
What’s better than a ’65 GT40? Two, of course. This is the second produced of the five original roadsters. While the other was used for promotional purposes, this one was also delivered to Shelby American for work in preparation for the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans with the Ford of France team. Unfortunately, the car retired with transmission problems within the first hour of the race. Following Le Mans, the GT40 would be used as a test car in the J-Car project—later known as the GT40 Mk IV. This roadster is being offered as part of Mecum’s Blackhawk Exposition Sale. While the sale is part of Mecum’s event, the cars of the Blackhawk Exposition will be available to purchase directly through an onsite representative.
Today Ferrari is synonymous with mid-engine sports cars. In the early ’60s, that concept was still a very new thing. This is the last of five remaining Ferrari Sport Prototypes. Originally outfitted with a 2.4-liter engine in 1962, the car was shipped to the NART team for the 12 Hours of Sebring, where it placed third in its class. After the race, the Ferrari was outfitted with a larger 2.6-liter engine for the 1962 Nurburgring 1000 KM; it did not finish. Some time after the race, the car was outfitted with the 2.0-liter V-6, which currently resides under the clamshell. The 196 SP returned to the U.S. and was actively campaigned through the mid-1960s. Since retirement, the Ferrari has been under careful stewardship with an occasional appearance at high-level vintage racing events. It has also placed first in class at the Amelia Island Concours. This mid-engine prototype presents a rare opportunity to purchase one of the earliest mid-engine Ferraris.
Gooding & Company
Formula 1 fans everywhere will be clearing their evening schedule to be in the same room as this car when is crosses the block at Gooding & Company. The car was driven by Niki Lauda during the 1975 F1 season enroute to his first world championship title. With added attention from the 2013 movie Rush and Lauda’s recent passing, his racing achievements and influence on the sport are fresh in everyone’s mind. The 312T was new for 1975 and was coupled with the 500-hp tipo 015 engine, which allowed Ferrari to be more competitive after a three-year slump. The 1975 season was approaching the peak of the famous Hunt-Lauda rivalry, but the 312T Ferraris were untouchable and allowed Lauda to secure the championship that year. Formula 1 Ferraris rarely come up for sale and even fewer have the level of importance of the one offered here. If the Lauda 312T sells, it will be among the week’s biggest.
Anyone who had a Ferrari Enzo poster on their bedroom wall as a teenager knows the FXX. It is essentially the bonkers, track-only version of the Enzo, with added power and greatly increased aero. For those who thought that the Enzo was exclusive and unattainable when new, the FXX takes it up a notch. Only 30 of these cars, which were not homologated for any sanctioned racing series, were available to a select few who were allowed to take them to special track events. That’s right, allowed. Ferrari heavily monitored the use of the FXX by their “owners,” and the events or testing sessions had to be approved by Ferrari. This example, offered at RM Sotheby’s as part of the Ming Collection, is likely the least-used example in existence. It is essentially in as-delivered condition and comes with all the track support equipment and tools. This is surely “the” FXX for the connoisseur-level collector.