1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Lightweight

The GT40 offered here, chassis P1074, began life as Mirage M10003, and in its debut May 1967 at Spa, with Jacky Ickx and the “Flying Dentist,” Dr. Dick Thompson, finished First Overall.

Following the FIA’s regulation change for the 1968 season, which reduced prototype engine size to three liters, and five liters for production (Group 4) sports cars with a limited build of 25 examples, Mirage M10003 was taken back to J.W.A. in England for its conversion into a Group 4 GT40. The conversion was completed on February 23, 1968, whereupon it became GT40 P1074, but has since remained complete with its original Mirage bodywork and could easily be returned to that configuration.

It was the first (by serial number) of three lightweight racing GT40s built for the J.W.A./Gulf team. Its chassis retained the unique Mirage straight substructure forward of the windscreen. Specific to the car were Stage II ventilated disc brakes, a lightweight frame and a lightened roof.

The body was described as “super lightweight with carbon filament aluminum, fully vented spare wheel cover, extra-wide rear wheelarches, double engine coolers, and rear panel vented (sic) for brake air exit.” The carbon fiber-reinforced bodywork used on the Mirage M1s, now P1074, P1075 and P1076, is reputed to be among the first, if not the very first, use of carbon fiber panels in race-car fabrication.

Currently, P1074 is fitted with a period-correct GT40 Ford 289 ci V8 with Gurney-Weslake cylinder heads, four Weber carburetors and an Aviaid oil pan. It was painted in powder blue Gulf livery, with a distinctive, constant-width marigold (orange) center stripe, which instantly identified it as J.W.A’s number two car. On several occasions, it was raced with triangular nose-mounted canard fins to improve downforce. From the outset, 8.5-inch front and 11-inch rear BRM Mirage wheels were fitted.

P1074 was a camera car at the start of the 1970 Le Mans 24-Hour race. A pair of movie cameras was mounted in the spare tire well. It’s uncertain as to whether the car actually ran during the race. A 180-degree rotating Arriflex camera was mounted on the rear deck. A 35 mm manually rotated camera was mounted above the passenger door. The combination of these heavy cameras, along with substantially reduced aerodynamics and less-rigid chassis, meant the car was very hard to control at the speeds the filming required. The much-modified GT40 “roadster” was used until the filming was completed.

The acquisition of GT40 P1074 represents a special opportunity. Aside from its current stunning presentation, the fact that it is one of only two surviving Gulf Mirage M1s, in which form it accumulated much of its racing history, renders it particularly attractive to an enthusiast who now has the option of relatively easily returning the car to this configuration and actively campaigning the car with its remarkable Jacky Ickx provenance.

This car’s impeccable credentials, both as a winning racer and as the camera car for the legendary Steve McQueen film “Le Mans,” as well as its long documented history of prominent owners and its meticulous restoration in J.W.A./Gulf livery, mark it as one of the most desirable GT40s, and indeed endurance racing cars, ever built.

Colin Comer

Colin Comer - Editor at Large

Colin is the founder of Colin’s Classic Automobiles in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as well as SCM’s resident American car expert. His fascination with cars began at an early age, and according to him, he never grew out of it—nor does he wish to. Colin regularly appears on television, and he is the author of the books: “Million-Dollar Muscle Cars” and the “Complete Book of Shelby Automobiles.” A hands-on guy, Comer maintains an impressive collection of his own and is an avid vintage racer. He is a regular contributor to both Sports Car Market and American Car Collector magazines.

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