1964 Ford GT40 Prototype

Whoever won the battle to own this car spent an absolutely scandalous amount of money to do so, presumably because the car is so historically
important

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In April of 1964 the Ford GT40 was unveiled to the automotive press, and the journalists and industry executives alike were awestruck by the innovative monocoque design and dashing good looks. Sadly for Ford, the GT cars would quickly fall out of favor as the beautiful cars were racking up DNFs at a blistering pace throughout 1964. With Shelby already on the payroll and his abilities in the spotlight, it was only natural that Ford would send him the third and fourth prototypes, S/N GT/103 and S/N GT/104, at the end of the 1964 season to prepare to race in 1965.
Shelby and his mechanics’ approach to the Ford GT40 was genius. Instead of being wildly innovative when they needed reliability, they simplified things and went with components they knew would perform and last on the race track. First, they installed one of their reliable and potent Ford 289 race engines. Further improvements included scrapping the wire wheels for larger yet lighter ones made of magnesium that offered more grip and better handling. They relocated several coolers, modified the ducting, improved the Colotti transaxle internals, and added extra venting to the front brake rotors.
The cars were shipped to Daytona Beach for the opening race of the 1965 season, where GT/103 raced into the history books. It was not only the first GT40 to finish a race, but it also finished first, with Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby at the wheel. Following its victory at Daytona, the car finished second at Sebring, and third at Monza.
The example we offer today is that very same Daytona-winning prototype, S/N GT/103. Completed in June 1964, GT/103 is the earliest known serial number GT40 in existence. Fitted with the high-
performance 289 engine and mated to a ZF five-speed gearbox, the 1964 GT40 Prototype was sold in January 1966 to Mr. William Wonder of New York. He privately entered GT/103 in several races every year until 1970, when he decided to retire the car.
In order to remain competitive, Mr. Wonder had updated GT/103 with the latest factory parts when they became available to him. Modifications included the fitment of Ford Mk III brakes, modified single outlet front insert, Koni shocks, and even wider eight-inch front and eleven-inch rear Halibrand wheels.
A decision was made at a later time to begin slowly returning the car to its 1965 race-wining glory. The blue interior paint has been touched up at some point in time, but remains highly original. The GT40 Prototype is still fitted with an original FoMoCo windshield. Miraculously, some of the original 1964 components fitted still have their factory #103 markings today. GT/103 is currently fitted with a four-cam 255-ci Indy engine, the type of engine that could be found in Ford-powered Indy cars circa 1966/67.
While it is clear that GT/103’s most significant point in time was its victory at Daytona, this highly original, early prototype example is ready for more track time.

Thor Thorson

Thor Thorson - SCM Contributing Editor

Thor grew up in northern Iowa. His father bought a red Jag XK 150 in the late 1950s, and that was all it took; he has been in love with sports cars , racing cars and the associated adrenaline rush ever since. He has vintage raced for more than 20 years, the bulk of them spent behind the wheel of a blue Elva 7. When he’s not racing, he is president of Vintage Racing Motors Inc., a collector-car dealer and vintage-racing support company based in Redmond, WA. His knowledge runs the full spectrum of vintage racing, and he has put that expertise to good use for SCM since 2003.

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