This GT40 Sale Is a Glimpse at Kissimmee’s Future


It’s not unusual to see a Ford under the Mecum auction tent. By our count, 126 Mustangs crossed the block in Kissimmee last week, to say nothing of the other Blue Oval muscle and collector cars that were part of Mecum’s 4000-car Florida cavalcade. It’s quite a rare occurrence, though, for a Ford GT40 to come to public sale.

Naturally, then, our ears perked up when we got wind that a 1966 GT40 Mk I Road Car would be offered. Its sale last Friday for $6,930,000 including fees put a fresh marker down for the values of the ultra-rare road-going GT40s, but it also said something about where Mecum appears to be headed with its ever-growing Kissimmee event.

Ford GT40 Front Emblem

This example, chassis P/1052, was purchased new by an Italian buyer and specced with some race-oriented tweaks over the standard street GT40. The engine is noted on the build sheet as “High Performance with Weber [carburetors],” and also lists a “[r]ace exhaust system supplied in addition to Road Exhaust, one rear wheel and tyre extra, [and a] High Pressure (Race) Oil Pump.”

Two years later, three-time Targa Florio and Sebring race winner Umberto Maglioli purchased the car. It then went on to two subsequent owners, both in Germany, the latter of whom owned the car from 1994 on.

Ford GT40 rear

Mecum states that RUF Automobiles, the famed Porsche modifier, restored the car. Though by anyone’s standards RUF creates excellent cars, that seems an odd choice given that there are known, capable GT40-specific restorers just across the English Channel from where the car resided. Still, the car presents very well, and appears to retain many original components. It’s a solid example of Ford’s original supercar.

Pricing GT40s can be tricky, though, especially when it comes to the road cars. Provenance can be a trump card for the race cars—those that were successful on track or driven by the likes of Ken Miles or Bruce McLaren are likely to be more valuable. Famous butts sitting in seats, along with famous accomplishments, aren’t as frequent and don’t carry as much weight in a road car.

“I think originality is probably the biggest thing to consider with a road GT40,” says Gary Bartlett, a collector and owner of a road-legal Mk III. “Looking at the car’s history is important—whether it’s been wrecked or burned up and subsequently rebuilt—the usual things that can happen to these old cars. To me, originality is paramount because most of them don’t have that interesting racing history to rely on.”

Ford GT40 Interior

The other sticky wicket with GT40s is that they simply aren’t very good cars for the street. “My wife and I quickly discovered just how hot they are in street use,” says Bartlett. “I had no idea. I don’t mean the heat of the engine—I mean inside the car. This was in April on what was probably a 70 degree day, and I thought my wife was going to pass out.” Since then, Bartlett has been more strategic about deploying his GT40: “I’ve got around 2000 track miles on my GT40,” he says. “But I’ve only put maybe 150 miles on the road. They’re amazing to drive at speed, but they’re incredibly uncomfortable in street use.”

That said, the road-going GT40s’ place in automotive royalty is recognized. A Mk I sold at Amelia in 2016 for $3.3M, and later that year another brought home $2.9M in Monterey. Those comparables are closing in on eight years old, however. Bartlett indicated that, given the car’s solid restoration, overall originality, and the age of prior sales, he was unsurprised the price landed where it did. Incidentally, the Hagerty Price Guide #2 (Excellent)-condition value for a ’66 Mk I GT40 is $6.7M, not far from the $6.9M final sale.

Along with establishing a new data point for the values of the Mk I GT40, this sale may have planted a flag regarding Mecum’s intent for their flagship event. Long a home to American muscle and comparatively attainable collector cars, this American blue chip GT40 rests at the confluence of Mecum’s roots and where Kissimmee is headed.

Ford GT40 289 Engine Weber carburetors

That’s not to say Kissimmee is no longer affordable—contributor Rick Carey noted in his post-auction report just how much is available at all price points and for all car enthusiasts at this 4000+ lot event. The median sale price was still an earth-bound $38,500. But, and this is significant, this year’s $17.875M high sale, a 1963 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider, pummeled last year’s top car by a resounding $14M.

Adding blue chip cars makes sense for a live auction, even one as large at Kissimmee. Though it’s become a destination—something more than just another auction—there’s no escaping that online auctions are gaining the most traction with sales of mass-produced collector cars in the sub-$250k arena. Live auctions are still holding sway toward the top of the market, so featuring cars like this GT40 is a smart move. It’s a big tent, and there’s room for more than a few big cars.

Ford GT40 driving front



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    anybody ever sat in one of these pretty and detuned Lola-designed/derived race cars knows better;
    it’s almost like driving a Can Am Lola;

    After the FIA banned the 7 liter Kar Kraft converted two Mk IVs into open cockpit cars which competed briefly in Can Am.

    While finding an inhospitable cockpit in a vintage racer-turned-road car should surprise no one, this is actually the norm for most vintage mid-engine cars; even those designed strictly as road cars. Small cockpits, large laid-back windscreens that act as solar collectors, and hot oil/water lines running through the tunnel or sills all conspire to overcome the already typically weak A/C and marginal cooling systems.
    Remarkable price for non-Ferrari road car, but I’d have to say we’ll deserved.

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