By the 1960s, Ford had tried in vain to stop the dominance of the German supercars in American races. Particularly, Ferrari was such a dominant force that the other vehicles looked like “bridesmaids” in its “wedding”. Henry Ford II wanted a share of the glory so much that he had even planned to buy Ferrari only for Enzo Ferrari to call off the deal in the last minute.
Angry, Henry Ford II instructed his performance department to come up with a Ferrari “slayer”. The first attempt was a huge disappointment with the vehicle developing mechanical problems; in fact, the car never finished any race. Disappointed but not ready to give up, Ford turned to Shelby and sometime later they rolled out the GT40 and boy finally Ford had a real muscle car.
Shortly after its debut in 1966 Ford produced a shocking podium sweep at the 24 Hours of Le Mans making the car the first American race car to win at Le Mans. In so doing, the vehicle helped Ford get the better of Ferrari. The sweet victory helped create probably the most classical revenge story of the motoring world.
The GT40 would go on to dominate the race tracks winning it four times in a row at LeMans as well as achieve victories in other race tracks in the world. Now, 50 years later, Ford in collaboration with Shelby American, Superformance and Safir GT40 are set to release a new 2016 Shelby GT40 based on the original model in commemoration of the GT40 exploits of the late ‘60s.
2016 Shelby GT40 Exterior
The 50th anniversary cars look identical to the original cars of the 1966. The designers paid a great deal of attention to ensure they got everything right. Every detail is included, from its rounded nose, muscular front fenders, the two scoops behind the engine hood, beefed-up haunches with cooling air intakes to the gold wheels; everything is as it were 50 years ago.
Even the Gurney bubble situated at the top of the driver’s side door is featured. Did you know that the roof bubble was added to create room for Dan Gurney? At 6’4”, the guy struggled to fit into the cockpit hence the creative roof bubble to allow Gurney’s helmet to fit in. Later the feature was nicknamed “Gurney’s bubble”.
The car can be had in three color trims according to the personalities who drove them. The first is the black with silver stripes i.e. McLaren edition, then there is the Ken Miles edition featuring Blue with White stripes and the Dan Gurney edition which features Red with White stripes.
Over 90% of the car parts including its steel monocoque are in fact interchangeable with the original parts.
2016 Shelby GT40 Interior
Just like the exterior, the interior is identical to the original vehicle except for a few alterations and additions. The seats however lack the original bolstering while the center console is molded with a different shape. Superperformance has maintained the right-hand drive and right hand shift configuration just as the original car which am sure Carroll Shelby would commend. Smith-style gauges still remain.
The cabin has also gained some basic modern necessities such as a new air-conditioning system, an adjustable pedal box, Carroll Shelby-branded mats, Bilstein shocks that come with H&R springs and a parking brake lever. Despite the new additions and changes, the cabin of the replica still looks authentic.
The vehicle comes without an engine and buyers will have to look for their own engine However, the recommended unit is a 7.0 L, V-8 which is built by Shelby. The engine a Shelby aluminum-block 427 FE V-8 is rated at 625 hp.
Originally, the engine used to produce 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. Each engine comes with its own badge stating the number in the limited series it is. The numbers start at GT40 P 20150 to 2069. Shelby will also list this particular sequence number in its own official registry since it is a licensed product.
Price and release date
To get your hands on the 50th Anniversary Shelby GT40 you will need to spend $ 169,995 for the rolling chassis only. The engine is sold separately. According to sources, the engine will cost between $ 50,000 and $ 60,000. This means to get a complete car, you will need to spend in excess of $ 220,000.
If you have that dough you better hurry and make an order as only 20 units will be produced…wait a minute, I think you might have already missed the chance as these cars sell out moments after the an automaker starts accepting orders.
If you miss out on the 2016 Shelby GT40, check whether the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe 50th Anniversary is still available but similarly only 50 units will be built.