The sunning GT40 took Le Mans victory spoils four times between 1966 and 1969 – and racing pedigrees don’t come much better than that.
AS with the modern GT, the GT40 was designed to take on Ferrari. However, its battle was on the racetrack, not the road.
In 1963, bosses at Ford spent millions of pounds trying to buy the Italian firm outright, but were turned down at the last moment.
In retaliation they went all out to humiliate Enzo Ferrari at the Le Mans 24 Hours – a race his cars had dominated since 1960. The end result was the stunning GT40, which eventually took victory spoils at the French classic four times on the trot, between 1966 and 1969 – and racing pedigrees don’t come much better than that.
Better still, seven lucky buyers were able to get their hands on special roadgoing versions.
As with its racing cousin, it stood just 40 inches off the ground, had the same shark-like nose, flowing lines and distinctive doors that cut into the roof. Inside, the basic cabin is trimmed in leather, although the near-horizontal driving position remains, as do the engine noise and incredible heat. But all of this is forgotten once you’ve fired up the 306bhp 5.0-litre V8, which delivers scorching acceleration and a spine-tingling soundtrack.
Impeccable motorsport credentials, supercar performance and gorgeous looks – the GT40 is a true four-wheeled great. That must make our final three very special indeed...
* Performance: 5/5 * Heritage: 5/5 * Style: 5/5 * Driver appeal: 3/5
Model tested: GT40Chart position: 4
In this review
- 1IntroductionThe Blue Oval’s performance hits From 1963-2009.
- 2New Focus RSThe latest – and possibly greatest? – addition to the blue oval’s stable.
- 31st Sierra RS CosworthAs with all the best fast Fords, the Sierra RS Cosworth exists because blue oval bosses wanted to go racing.
- 42nd Escort RS CosworthIf our top fast Fords were picked on visual impact alone, then the Escort RS Cosworth would be a clear winner. With its bulging wheelarches, aggressive nose and wild rear wing, it looks like nothing else on the road.
- 53rd GTIntroduced to celebrate the blue oval’s 100th birthday, the GT has the performance, power and looks to take on exotic rivals from Ferrari and Lamborghini.
- 64th GT40 - currently readingThe sunning GT40 took Le Mans victory spoils four times between 1966 and 1969 – and racing pedigrees don’t come much better than that.
- 75th RS200Jaw-dropping styling, fearsome performance and rarity – the RS200 has it all.
- 86th Escort RS1600To the casual observer it might appear to be a humble entry-level model, but the plain looks hide thoroughbred racing mechanicals.
- 97th Escort MexicoWith racy looks, a lightly tweaked engine and a family-friendly saloon body, the Escort Mexico served up a winning blend of performance and practicality.
- 108th Lotus CortinaFor many fans, this is the first fast Ford. With its powerful engine, motorsport pedigree and affordable pricing, it set the template for the blue oval’s future high-performance models.
- 119th Sierra RS Cosworth 4x4It looks like a sober-suited saloon, but beneath this four-door Sierra Sapphire’s low-key lines lurks supercar-rivalling performance.
- 1210th Racing PumaWith bulging aluminium wheelarches, a deep front spoiler and 17-inch multispoke alloy wheels, the Racing version is certainly a head turner.
- 1311th Focus RSWith looks inspired by the firm’s World Rally Championship contenders, the RS is a real head-turner.
- 1412th Capri 2.8iBilled as the car you always promised yourself, the rakish coupé was a sales hit the minute it was launched in 1969.
- 1513th Escort RS2000 MkVShocked to see the MkV Escort RS2000 finish so high up the order? Well, you shouldn’t be – this is a fast Ford through to its very core.