1967 FORD GT40 MK.III
Chassis No. GT40 M31104
Registration No. GT40 M31104
Red with black interior
Engine: V8, 4,736cc, 306bhp at 6,000rpm; Gearbox: ZF five-speed manual; Suspension: front, double wishbone, coil spring, rear, independent with coil springs, anti-roll bar; Brakes: discs all around. Left hand drive.
When Ford decided in 1963 to enter into the field of international motor sport after Ferrari pulled out of the merger between Ferrari and Ford, Lee Iacocca decided, "if you can't join them - beat them". One week after the breakdown of the deal, Ford had plans to make an internationally competitive race car without engine capacity restraints. After just four years, Ford's GT40 had won the 24-hour Le Mans race in the International Grand Touring Prototype class, as well as the World Championship.
The early development program was split between Ford Detroit and Ford England. While John Lunn had begun early design studies in Detroit, Lola Cars of England, in conjunction with Carroll Shelby, had simultaneously produced their Lola GT. When seen by Ford, the Lola GT resembled the prime objectives of their own creation. Thus, Lola Cars directed by John Lunn and John Wyer, joined forces as a new company owned by Ford England - Ford Advanced Vehicles at Slough. After full evaluation of the Lola GT, the definitive GT40 was finally introduced in 1964. After a disappointing first year, the GT40 was reworked and tested in America with help from Carroll Shelby who had great success with the Ford Cobras. From then on, America and England seemed to work independently, with the John Wyer team concentrating on both race and road versions.
Only seven GT40 MKIIIs were built by Ford. Unlike any other chassis, the MKIII chassis' were built strictly from the production blue prints. The Mark III is different from the Mark I because it was built as a road car. The MK III has an extended tail, opening door windows, raised front wings, twin headlights, central gear lever and the lack of a central tunnel. The Ford GT40 MK III is a two door, two seat, high performance road or track car with unparalleled performance. Aerodynamically stable with low drag qualities, the MK III is patterned after the MK II road race cars. This adds to the structural strength of the body. According to the factory literature, the maximum power that has been recorded by the Mark III is 306bhp at 6,000rpm, and the maximum torque is 3,291b/ft at 4,200rpm.
This car was bought new by Joseph Chandler, a resident of Florida, in September 1968. Mr Chandler kept this vehicle up until 1989 and used the car very sparingly. In the definitive book (published in 1986) on the marque, GT40 An Individual History and Race Record, the author, the noted historian Ronnie Spain, commented very favorably upon this vehicle. M3/1104 is now unique in being the only privately owned production-line GT40 still retained by its original customer. Moreover, it is probably the most original GT40 in existence, as it is still in its original green paintwork and houses the original engine and transmission. As can be expected with a vehicle which was in a single ownership for such a long period, a very large amount of original documentation accompanies the lot. This fascinating information includes much correspondence between Mr. Chandler and John Wyer, original sales invoice, factory photographs, original sales literature, factory blueprints of the instrument panel and fuses, shipping information and later letters between the factory and various suppliers. It would appear that Mr. Chandler became excited by the GT40 following their June 1966 dominant victory in the Le Mans 24 Hour classic. It was over two years later (and much correspondance!) before his Mark III was finally ready for delivery. Delays were frequent owing to the factory being heavily invloved in the racing programs/engine supply problems and receiving exemption from federal safety standards. This car was also supplied new with tinted glass and air conditioning!
A MKIII is the only street GT40, and it represents one of the most significant road going cars produced in the 1960s. It is also considered to be one of the most important Anglo/American sports cars produced in the post-war period. This example is particularly desirable being one of only four built in left hand drive form, three owners from new and just 11,410 miles recorded.