From the listing for this 60’s Ford GT40 Le Mans Race Car:
FACTORY BUILT LIGHTWEIGHT RACE CAR
• Great period history including Le Mans
• Fully documented since new
• Excellent entry ticket for any event
GT40 P/1079 was delivered new from Ford Advanced Vehicles (FAV) as one of the few privately entered factory built lightweight racing cars to Mr Jean Blaton from Brussels, Belgium. Compared to the road cars (which are today often rebuilt and used as race cars), the competition cars had a stronger race spec engine, a smaller, but improved clutch and a 140 litre fuel tank. They also featured a lighter flywheel and 25% stiffer suspension all around. Further the race cars were missing its interior trim, the door pockets, a radio, the heater and exhaust silencers compared to the normal road cars. As this car was one of the very late cars built by John Wyer, it belongs to the last series of GT40 which had slightly modified body parts and was lighter than any of the earlier cars.
The original invoice, which comes with the car, proves that Blaton received the yellow car on the 20th April 1968 in Ostende, Belgium for the Ecurie Francorchamps. This was just in time to put the car on a transporter for the 1.000 km race in Monza. The drivers Willy Mairesse and “Jean Beurlys” (the racing name of Jean Blaton) qualified the car 6th on the grid, but had to stop the race after 89 laps due to wheel problems. The where still qualified 7th overall and 2nd in class! The next race for 1079 were the 1.000 km of Spa-Francorchamps, were the car was entered by the Belgium Claude Dubois in the name of the Ecurie Francorchamps, still in its Belgium racing colors. The car was again driven by Mairesse and “Beurlys” who qualified the car in third position, only beaten by the local hero Jacky Ickx in another GT40 and a experimental Ford on pole. The start went very well but the Ecurie Francorchamps had to retire after 45 laps.
For the 1968 24 hours of Le Mans, the car was once more entered by Claude Dubois in the name of his team Ecurie Claude Dubois. The original and stamped (18 March 1968) entry form and application forms which are coming with the car, are stating Dubois, “Beurlys” and Mairesse as drivers. After some technical problems during the tests, the ended up in qualifying, now with a fresh engine, 10th on the grip. Shortly before the start of the 24 hours race it started to rain. Mairesse drove off first, but lost the car in the rain and crashed it at high speed on the Mulsanne as a door flew open.
After the accident the car remained untouched for a while before it went to Switzerland where it was restored. In the late eighties/early nineties the car was sold to a French based investment funds including some other high valued cars. The car was then offered at a French auction in 1994 and also stayed in France until the last owner bought it in the late nineties. During a further restoration the car has been fully stripped and some wrong parts have been replaced or corrected. The car was then showed to Ronnie Spain, author of the book “GT40: An individual history and race record”, who immediately recognised the car and stated it in writing as the original, ex-Jean Blaton car.
The Ford GT40 is a high performance American-British endurance racing car, built and designed in England (Mk I, Mk II, and Mk III) and in the United States (Mk IV), and powered by a series of American-built engines, which won the 24 Hours of Le Mans four consecutive times, from 1966 to 1969 (1966 being the Mk II, 1967 the Mk IV, and 1968-1969 the oldest chassis design, the Mk I). In 1966, with Henry Ford II himself in attendance at Le Mans, the Mk II GT40 provided Ford with the first overall Le Mans victory for an American manufacturer and the first victory for an American manufacturer at a major European race since Jimmy Murphy´s triumph with Duesenberg at the 1921 French Grand Prix. The Mk IV GT40, which won the race in 1967, remains, to this day, the only car designed and built entirely in the United States to claim an overall win at Le Mans.
Listed for sale with JAN B. LUEHN
PRICE ON REQUEST FROM JAN B. LUEHN