GT40 Enthusiasts Club


An introduction to the GT40 Enthusiasts Club
Press Release from the Ford Motor Company Re: the GT40
Background to the 1965 Competition cars
Series Production
Ford Advanced Vehicles personalities
Vehicle Specifications
The Most Expensive Ford Ever !

An Introduction

The club was formed in 1985 soon after the first replica of the Ford GT40 in England was made by Ken V.Atwell and then later marketed as the KVA GT40 (Mk.3 replica) and which was later produced in the preferred Mk.1 format. KVA was sold to to USA and is now produced as a ready to go car by American GT. The club's name has evolved over the years, starting off as the GT40 Replica Owners Club and then in 1990 the "Owners" bit was dropped out of the name to acknowledge the members who did not own cars and then recently it was changed again to our present name so as to acknowledge the fact that we now have original car owners, replica car owners, and enthusiasts within our membership. As we are all enthusiasts the present name was adopted and has proved a very popular change with all our members. The club's aim is to bring together those with an interest in the Ford GT40 and provides technical assistance and support for those who take on the task of building a replica, maintaining or modifying an existing car. We organise social, show and track events for all and are an enthusiastic group of like minded people. The club also welcomes those who are involved with similar performance cars (DeTomaso, Ferrari, and the like) and also provides for those who do not have a car but have an interest in the Ford GT40. The club has an international membership with members in most counties around the world. Our largest membership is in the United Kingdom at present but our membership in Belgium, Australia and U.S.A in particular is growing . In the UK we have regional centres which provide regular monthly meetings and local support. The club produces a Bi-Monthly magazine with the title "Fortyfication" to keep members informed. Fortyfication includes a sales/wanted column, technical articles, reports on events and members experiences and details of existing and new equipment and facilities being offered by the main replica manufacturers and specialist suppliers. We also produce a seasonal news sheet in the UK detailing the events that members will be attending and of interest to GT40 enthusiasts. The club supports all makes of GT40 replica and is completely independent of all manufacturers. We have members who have experience in building all engine / transmission and chassis / bodyshell combinations and who are able to provide information, assistance, and support with your construction, maintenance or modification work.

If you are interested in the Ford GT40 or are considering buying or building one of the replicas please contact us and we will be pleased to forward you our club brochure.

Forty Towers Internet Web site :

This site includes copies of technical articles that have appeared in our magazine as well as much technical information for builders and owners of GT40.

E-Mail :

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In the summer of 1962 Henry Ford II decided that Ford Division should participate in the International Competition field. Ford Division operate their own Engineering Department which is concerned with future design, and they are also responsible for marketing the cars carrying the name of Ford. Production of cars is not part of their responsibilities but they are, of course, able to call upon other divisions such as Research, Engines and Foundry, Styling and so on, so that when given this new task they could seek success with the force of the entire organisation.

It is a matter of history that considerable success has since been won, in rallies and track events all over the world and rear engined Indianapolis cars powered by Ford engines have in the past two years revolutionised the design of these track cars.

In parallel with these excursions into Rally and Classic American races Ford decided in 1963 to enter the road racing field in GT prototype class, wherein it might be possible to secure success with power units resembling those supplied en masse to the American market, and in which the lessons learned in reducing drag and increasing road stability might have long term application on production cars.

In order to get into the business of racing with a minimum delay, a subsidiary company called Ford Advanced Vehicles was set up at Slough in England under the Managing Directorship of John Wyer, well known for his long and successful association with Aston Martin, who won the Manufacturers Championship in 1959 including victory in the Le Mans 24 hour race. In order to reduce time spent on design and development the two 1962 Lola GT cars, into which Eric Broadley had fitted V8 Ford engines, were purchased together with retention of the whole time services of Broadley himself during this introductory period of 1993/64.

Serious engineering work on the project began in August 1963 and between then and February 1964 the frame design was wholly revised and became a spot welded hull stiffened longitudinally by square tubes running downwards from the scuttle to the front suspension elements. A separate assembly attached at the back of the car supported the tail and rear engine mounting.

The core of the car was, in a sense, the transverse bulkhead which formed the back of the seats with seat pans themselves an integral part of the floor adjustments - leg room being adjusted by shifting the pedals.

The rear suspension layout, with very widely spaced transverse links and long radius arms, is of the type originated by Broadley, and since generally adopted in the motor racing world, and the front wishbone and coil system was used in conjunction with rather short arms.

As originally set up, the engine fitted was the all aluminium Indianapolis version of the Ford Fairlane 4.2 litre engine (95.5 x 72.9 mm). This gave 350 bhp at 7200 rpm which was transmitted to an unsynchronised Colotti 4 speed gearbox, giving intermediate ratios of 1.29; 1.70 and 2.50 to 1. Top gear ( l : l ) was 3.09:1.

When the cars appeared first, at the Le Mans training, only 8 months had elapsed since work had commenced and "work" had not only meant the development of cars but the building up of entirely new organisation from scratch, securing suppliers, installing quality control and so on.

The Ford engagement on this particular front was not on the massive scale which one might associate with the second largest builders of motor cars in the world. On the contrary so far as the GT cars were concerned, the policy adopted was like that of Mercedes Benz who, when they appeared in the Mille Millia in 1952, intended, in professor Nallinger's words, "to open a little window on the racing scene". The total strength at Slough was never more than two dozen on the floor with an office staff of less than ten.

During 1964 cars were entered for the 1000 km race at the Nurburgring; the 24 hour race at Le Mans; 12 hours at Reims and at Nassau.

In these events, and after some modifications to the profile and adjustments to the trim of the car after the Le Mans training period, very high speeds were demonstrated and the official Le Mans lap record went to Phil Hill in 3 mts. 49.2 seconds or 131.37 mph, with Ginther a little slower at 3 mts. 51 seconds. Only the 4 litre Ferraris were able to approach these speeds but in the course of 110 laps the leading Ford had secured a 1% margin over its nearest rival and had been timed on the straight at 207 mph.

As in the 1000 km race earlier, the cars were eliminated by transmission failures and the prime effort during the winter months of 1964/64 has been to remedy this weakness.

During 1965 the GT40 won its first race at Daytona, was lying second in the Targa Florio when eliminated by an accident and was lying third in the 1000 km race at Nurburgring when eliminated by an engine mounting failure.

At the 1965 Le Mans training, effort was concentrated on tyre testing in the course of which Attwood lapped the circuit in 3.49.0 without fully extending the car.

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It will be seen from the attached specification that the architecture and general dimensions of the Ford GT cars remained unchanged as between 1964 and 1965.

There have, however, been two considerable changes in that the engine and gearbox are new.

The engine now has a swept volume of 4736 cc with a bore and stroke of 101.6 x 77.9, this being the unit fitted to the Fairlane 500 model in the USA.

The production form with a compression ratio of 9.3 : 1, and with a maximum torque of 2400 ft.min. with a single double choke carburettor, this engine gives 203 bhp. It gives 271 bhp in conjunction with a 10.9 : 1 compression ratio at 6000 rpm, with a peak torque at 3400 rpm.

As installed in the GT40 model 380 bhp is realised at 6500 rpm with 330 lb.ft torque at 5500 rpm. The compression ratio is 10 : 1 and the main difference is the use of 4 Weber 48 IDA double choke carburettors so that in effect each cylinder is provided with its own choke and jet assembly.

Broadly speaking, the effect of installing the 14% larger, and somewhat heavier, engine has been to raise the maximum power by around 10% at approximately 10% less rpm, and to increase the maximum torque by 20% at the same crankshaft speed.

To meet these demands the Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshaven have designed and supplied gearboxes which are an almost miraculous combination of compactness and load carrying capacity. The former must be related to the introduction of 5 synchronised speeds giving ratios of 0.85; 0.96; 1.09; 1.47 and 2.42 to 1 in conjunction with the option of 3.33 or 4.22 to 1 in the final drive, which is also a ZF production.

The gear case is only 21.0 ins long and the complete weight of the transmission, including the transaxle a mere 127 lbs.

This notwithstanding it has endured extreme overload conditions including sustained maximum torque at twice the maximum speed at which this normally will be delivered; that is to say, twice the power that can be expected will be transmitted through the gear case. And this for over 10 hours.

Experiments are continuous with wheels, tyres and shape. In respect of the first, the cars will run at Le Mans with cast spoke alloy wheels but no fixed decision has yet been made about the tyres mounted upon them.

The nose shape of the Ford GT40 is somewhat compromised by the forward mounting of the spare wheel which, at Le Mans, must be removed and replaced during the pit stop. Shape must therefore in same degree be sacrificed to ease the wheel removal, but certain lessons were learned during April training period and an extended "DROOP SNOOT" will be seen on the cars on June 19/20th.

On last year's cars the aerodynamic lift phenomenon relieved the rear tyres of 240 lbs of weight, or around 20% of the load that they would be carrying statically. The introduction of a transverse spoiler has converted this upward thrust into a net load of 140 lbs. which adds about 10% to the present static load and considerably improves high speed stability.

The 4.72 litre engine has a wet sump and for racing purposes on some circuits the oil is circulated through a heat exchanger mounted in the tail. Provision is also made far circulating the gearbox oil from the pump normally fitted through an additional tail mounted heat exchanger.

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The present purpose of Ford Advanced Vehicles is to explore within relatively limited means the problems peculiar to high speed motoring.

To do this on a base which will have some statistical significance it was decided, once the design had reached the stage when it could be offered with complete confidence, to set up a production line for the manufacture of 50 cars.

The line is now in being at Slough where final assembly takes place of components derived from international sources.

In brief, the main steel body pressing comes as a hull from Abbey Panels Ltd of Coventry. The nose, tail and door sections are derived from Fibre Glass Engineering Ltd of Farnham, and when they have been brought together to form a complete shell the whole car is upholstered, trimmed and painted by the well known coach builders Harold Radford, who also fit up the Marchal lights imported from France.

It is received in this form at Slough for the attachment of the running gear, that is to say front and rear suspension elements, Girling disc brakes and steering mechanism. At the same time the engine from Dearborn is coupled to the transmission from the Bodensee and the whole assembly then mounted on Borrani wire wheels imported from Italy.

The cars presently being made are specifically intended for competition and a large part of the sanction has already been sold at 5,200 each. It is probable that during the year a road version with a variety of owner amenities, will be introduced to supplement the existing design.

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In the first half of this century the only British car to achieve GP success was Sunbeam, and it was in the racing division of this concern that John Wyer served a large part of his time. He later worked with Solex Ltd. and Monaco Engineering Ltd, but from 1955 to 1963 he was in the employ of Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd, being firstly their Competition Manager and subsequently General Manager and Technical Director.

Roy Lunn

Roy Lunn was in the Design Office of Aston Martin in 1949.50, after which he became Chief Engineer at Jowett, and then joined Ford at Dagenham from where he transferred to Dearborn in the Research Division, His present position is Manager of Advanced Concepts, and in this capacity he worked with Ford Advanced Vehicles at Slough from August 1963/64, supervising the development of the cars up to the completion of the first prototype, and the modifications made for them in the early part of the 1964 racing season.

Those presently concerned under John Wyer for the development and production of the vehicle include :-

P.Murphy - Works Manager

Apprentice toolmaker at Seimens Bros of Woolwich. 2 years in the R.A.F. Tool designer at Cape Asbestos and S Smith & Sons. Chief designer at John A Smith of London and Wolverhampton, Design Consultants, Chief Tool Designer and Methods Engineer at Marconi, Director of Ascott-Murphy, Hainault, Design and Production Engineering Consultants.

L.Bailey -Chief Engineer

Engineering apprentice at Austin Motor Co. Development Engineer in E R A, Engine Designer at Daimler and Rover. Engine and Chassis designer at Austin. Chassis designer at Ford of Canada. Engine and Chassis designer at American Motors. Chassis designer at Ford of USA.

A Stafford -Supply Engineer

Trainee Dunlop Rubber Co and later Technical Service Engineer in South Africa and New Zealand, Partner in Rootes and Chrysler dealership in New Zealand.

J.Horsman - Executive Assistant to Managing Director

M.A. (Cantab). Pupil apprentice David Brown & Sons. Development Engineer and Assistant to General Manager, Aston Martin Lagonda.

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Wheelbase 95in. 2413mm

Track Front 55in. 1397mm

Rear 55in. 1397mm

Overall Dimensions

Length 168in. 4265mm

Width 70in 1778mm

Height 40.5in 1028.7mm

Miscellaneous Heights

Base of Windscreen 28.25in 717mm

Top of Windscreen 39.2in 970.3mm

Top of Steering Wheel 31.35in 796.3mm

Minimum Ground Clearance 4in 101.6mm

Weight (Oil and water, no fuel)

Front 920 lbs 414kg.

Rear 1080 lbs 486kg.

Total 2000 lbs 900kg.

The Ford GT40 employs a semi-monocoque construction of 0.024 in. (0.61 mm) steel. Hinged front and rear panel sections and doors are of reinforced fibre glass.


Cylinders Number 8

Bore 4in 101.6mm

Stroke 2.87in 72.9mm

Displacement 289 cu in 4736 cc

Compression Ratio 10 : 1

Power and Torque

Maximum BHP [@ r.p.m.] 380@6500

Maximum Torque [@ r.p.m.] 330 lbs. ft. @ 5500

45.6 m/kg @ 5500

Carburettors 4 Weber 48 IDA

Lubrication System Capacity 8 qt [imp] - 10 qt [US] 9.1 litres


Type ZF 5 DS-25 Transaxle

Ratios Final Drive 4.22 : 1

(Optional) 3.33 : 1

Gearbox First 2.42 : 1

Second 1.47 : 1

Third 1.09 : 1

Fourth 0.96 : 1

Fifth 0.85 : 1

Reverse 3.75 : 1


Type Borg & Beck 3-Plate

Plate Diameter 7.25in 184.15mm


Front Type Girling CR

Disc diameter 11.5in 292.1mm

Rear Type Girling BR

Disc diameter 11.5in 292.1mm


Type Rack and Pinion

Ratios (Overall) 14 : 1

Turns (Lock to lock) 2.8

Turning circle diameter 37ft. 11.27m

Steering wheel diameter 15in. 381mm

Steering wheel adjustment 2in. 50.8mm


Wheels Borrani wire-spoke, light alloy

Front 6.5 x 15in.

Rear 8.00 x 15in.

Tyres (Dunlop) Front (Size) 5.5 x 15in.

Front (loaded radius) 13.00in.

Rear (Size) 7.25 x 15in.

Rear (loaded radius) 13.4in.

Tyres (Goodyear) Front (Size) 5.5 x 15in.

Front (loaded radius) 12.4in.

Rear (Size) 7.00 x 15in.

Rear (loaded radius) 13.4in.


Type of tank Goodyear Fuel Cells

Capacity of tanks 30.5 gals (imp)

37 gals (US)

140 litres

Fuel pumps 2 Stewart Warner 240A


Type of radiator Marston light alloy

Total area 318.75 2056 cm2

Depth 3 in. 76.2mm

Type of Oil Cooler Serck light alloy

Total area 53.2 sq. in. 343 cm2

Depth 2 in. 50.8mm


Type Tuned cross over

Pipe diameter 1.5 in 38.1mm


Type Transistorised

Voltage 12

Battery Capacity 57 A.H.




Compression Ratio 9.0 : 1>

Power and Torque

Maximum BHP @ rpm 335@6250


Type Borg and Beck 2-plate

Plate diameter 8.5 in 215.9mm

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When the GT40 went into production in 1965, Ford anticipated that some Wealthy enthusiasts would buy these spectacular cars for highway touring. A road version announced in January 1966, called "the most expensive Ford ever".Normally it was fitted with a detuned version of the Ford 289 cubic inch V8 which gave it a maximum speed of 164 mph.

From the outside the road version of the GT was identical to the racing model. The interior was much more civilised, with a speedometer, tinted door and rear glass, deep door pockets and improved seats. Flanking the transmission at the rear, under the deck lid, were two boxes for luggage.

Priced at 5,900 plus purchase tax, only 31 road versions of the Ford GT40 Mk.1. were built. Twenty-six of these were sold overseas, mainly in the United States, earning over l00,000 in foreign currency.

The final road version of the Ford GT40 was completed by JW Automotive Engineering at Slough, Buckinghamshire, in May 1969. It was one of seven Mk.3. road cars.

Finished in dark red with black upholstery the car was delivered to Sir Max Aitken, Chairman and Joint Managing Director of Beaverbrook Newspapers.

However the homologated Group 4 racing GT40 was available until the end of the 1969 season.

In 1966 Ford GT's finished first, second and third at Daytona, first and second at Sebring, first, second and third at Le Mans and won for Ford the world Constructors championship for prototypes.

Victory at Le Mans and Sebring was repeated in 1967 while in 1968 the Ford GT40 completed a hat trick of Le Mans victories for Ford. This together with first place in the BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch, the 1000 km at Monza, the 1000 km at Spa and the Endurance Race at Watkins Glen, won Ford the World Sports Car Manufacturers' Championship for the second time in three years.

In 1969 the Ford GT took first place at Sebring and Le Mans - the same year that production finished. Exact production figures are difficult to determine. It seems that 111 - Mk.1 and Mk.3 GT40's were produced plus 12 - 7-litre cars - J cars and Mk.4. - though there were another ten 7-litre cars which had been converted from existing GT40's and MK I's.

The production life of the Ford GT40 was less than seven years, yet in that short span it established itself as one of the immortals of motorsport.

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