Review of the
Ever since I was a kid, I was a fan
of the 24 hours Le Mans. It was the ultimate race for both driver and
car. Many car manufactures had made cars that were fast – but to make a
car fast and reliable in 24 hour of the entire race was, and still is an
achievement only for the few!
We are all familiar with the classic cars, that raced in the golden days
of the fifties to the start of the seventies, and my favorites are the
Porsche 917K from 1970 and the Ford GT 40 from the mid sixties. I had 3
Ford GT´ Die-cast model cars from Matchbox back then and loved them.
So imagine how pleased I was when I discovered, that Shelby Collectibles
offered the car in 1:18 scale! Shelby Collectibles has a partnership
with Revell in Germany to distribute the model cars here in Europe, so
the collection is rather easy to purchase as the production runs in high
I was up to now, rather unfamiliar with the producer of Shelby
Collectibles, but the model looked good on pictures I saw on the net.
One can easily have a feeling about a product as this, that someone
would make a fast turnover on a famous subject, as we have seen in many
cases in the toy industry- I will not mention one in particular, but we
all know some examples.
But no, Shelby Collectibles is in a different league, As soon as you
look at the box, it will reveal the relationship with Carroll Shelby and
the people that are behind the firm and trust. They will not set there
names behind a product if not the quality is good.
So is the model of the Ford GT 40 Mk. II from the “winner” (Please see
the film clips at the end of this article) of the 1966 Le Mans a fine
model car? Oh yes will I say! – for just under 60 Euros or 70 USD you
get a model car, that have all of the features, of way more expensive
models out there. I will go so far to compare this quality, with some
models of earlier Auto Art etc. You get really bangs for your bucks
here! The car is so detailed and have many opening parts, that you can
display this GT 40 as an “Transformer” In fact the car have so well
build parts in its casting, that it can go for the real car in pictures.
The paintwork with all of the stripes and markings is breathtaking, but
if we compare pictures of the real car and the model, a few things is
not right! First; the white stripes on the hood, just under the #1
decal, are missing the black outlines! And further the red "flames"
around and over the headlights have on the model, silver outlines - this
is not correct according to the pictures of the real car.
When you open the engine bay, back of
the model; the Ford V8 motor with the snake pit of tubes is marvelous.
Have a look at the carburetor with “real” gasoline reservoir. The wheel
with the soft rubber tires, knock off spinners, Goodyear logo etc. And
lets us not forget the head and back lights; they are all made with care
and stands realistic. The doors that cuts into the roof of the car, open
and locks well due to the high quality of the casting in the parts.
Jump inside the car, and crawl over the side tanks, now you in the
cockpit with bucket seats and safety belts. The instrument panel is
realistic made, but could have included gauges with a bit more
detailing. But after all this is only a minor thing.
If you collect race cars, or just classic cars in models, you have to
give this Ford GT 40 a try!
- You will not be disappointed over the Shelby Collectibles in scale
I will give this model
5 out of 6 stars ******
Below here are pictures of the model,
historical description, old brochures, technical data and some movie clips for
the real car. So please enjoy!
The GT40 was originally produced to
win long-distance sports car races against Ferrari (who won at Le Mans
six times in a row from 1960 to 1965). Ford/Shelby chassis #P-1075,
which won in 1968 and 1969, is the first car in Le Mans history to win
the race more than once, using the same chassis. Using an American Ford
V-8 engine, originally of 4.7-liter displacement capacity (289 cubic
inches), it was later enlarged to the 4.9-liter engine (302 cubic
inches), with custom designed alloy Gurney-Weslake cylinder heads.
The car was named the GT (for Grand Touring) with the 40 representing
its overall height of 40 inches (1.02 m, measured at the windshield) as
required by the rules. Large-displacement Ford V8 engines (4.2-liter,
4.7-liter and 7-liter) were used compared with the Ferrari V12, which
displaced 3.0 liters or 4.0 liters.
Early cars were simply named "Ford GT". The name "GT40" was the name of
Ford's project to prepare the cars for the international endurance
racing circuit, and the quest to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The first
12 "prototype" vehicles carried serial numbers GT-101 through GT-112.
The "production" began and the subsequent cars—the MkI, MkII, MkIII, and
MkV (with the exception of the MkIV, which were numbered J1-J12)—were
numbered GT40P/1000 through GT40P/1145, and thus officially "GT40s". The
name of Ford's project and the serial numbers dispel the story that
"GT40" was "only a nickname."
Henry Ford II had wanted a Ford at Le Mans since the early 1960s. In
early 1963, Ford reportedly received word through a European
intermediary that Enzo Ferrari was interested in selling to Ford Motor
Company. Ford reportedly spent several million dollars in an audit of
Ferrari factory assets and in legal negotiations, only to have Ferrari
unilaterally cut off talks at a late stage due to disputes about the
ability to direct open wheel racing. Ferrari, who wanted to remain the
sole operator of his company's motor sports division, was angered when
he was told that he would not be allowed to race at the Indianapolis 500
if the deal went through since Ford fielded Indy cars using the
company's engine, and didn't want competition from Ferrari. Enzo cut the
deal off out of spite and Henry Ford II, enraged, directed his racing
division to find a company that could build a Ferrari-beater on the
world endurance-racing circuit.
To this end Ford began negotiation
with Lotus, Lola, and Cooper. Cooper had no experience in GT or
prototype and its performances in Formula One were declining.
Lotus was already a Ford partner for their Indy 500 project, but Ford
executives doubted the ability of Lotus to handle this new project.
Colin Chapman probably had similar views as he asked a high price for
his contribution and insisted that the car (which became the Lotus
Europa) should be named a Lotus-Ford.
The Lola proposal was chosen, since Lola had used a Ford V8 engine in
their mid-engine Lola Mk6 (also known as Lola GT). It was one of the
most advanced racing cars of the time, and made a noted performance in
Le Mans 1963, even though the car did not finish, due to low gearing and
slow revving out on the Mulsanne Straight. However, Eric Broadley, Lola
Cars' owner and chief designer, agreed on a short-term personal
contribution to the project without involving Lola Cars.
The agreement with Broadley included a one-year collaboration between
Ford and Broadley, and the sale of the two Lola Mk 6 chassis builds to
Ford. To form the development team, Ford also hired the ex-Aston Martin
team manager John Wyer. Ford Motor Co. engineer Roy Lunn was sent to
England; he had designed the mid-engined Mustang I concept car powered
by a 1.7-liter V4. Despite the small engine of the Mustang I, Lunn was
the only Dearborn engineer to have some experience with a mid-engined
Overseen by Harley Copp, the team of
Broadley, Lunn and Wyer began working on the new car at the Lola Factory
in Bromley. At the end of 1963 the team moved to Slough, near Heathrow
Airport. Ford then established Ford Advanced Vehicles Ltd, a new
subsidiary under the direction of Wyer, to manage the project.
The first chassis built by Abbey Panels of Coventry was delivered on 16
March 1963, with fiber-glass moldings produced by Fiber Glass
Engineering Ltd of Farnham. The first "Ford GT" the GT/101 was unveiled
in England on 1 April and soon after exhibited in New York. Purchase
price of the completed car for competition use was £5,200.
It was powered by the 4.2 L Fairlane engine with a Colotti transaxle,
the same power plant was used by the Lola GT and the single-seater Lotus
29 that came in a highly controversial second at the Indy 500 in 1963.
(An aluminum block DOHC version, known as the Ford Indy Engine, was used
in later years at Indy. It won in 1965 in the Lotus 38.)
Prototype chassis GT 104, which finished third at the Daytona 2000 in
The Ford GT40 was first raced in May 1964 at the Nürburgring 1000 km
race where it retired with suspension failure after holding second place
early in the event. Three weeks later at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, all
three entries retired although the Ginther/Gregory car led the field
from the second lap until its first pitstop. After a season-long series
of dismal results under John Wyer in 1964, the program was handed over
to Carroll Shelby after the 1964 Nassau race. The cars were sent
directly to Shelby, still bearing the dirt and damage from the Nassau
race. Carroll Shelby was noted for complaining that the cars were poorly
maintained when he received them, but later information revealed the
cars were packed up as soon as the race was over, and FAV never had a
chance to clean, and organize the cars to be transported to Shelby.
Shelby's first victory came on their maiden race with the Ford program,
with Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby taking a Shelby American-entered Ford GT
to victory in the Daytona 2000 in February 1965. The rest of the season,
however, was a disaster.
The experience gained in 1964 and
1965 allowed the 7-liter Mk II to dominate the following year. In
February, the GT40 again won at Daytona. This was the first year Daytona
was run in the 24 Hour format and Mk II's finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. In
March, at the 1966 12 Hours of Sebring, GT40's again took all three top
finishes with the X-1 Roadster first, a Mk. II taking second, and a Mk.
I in third. Then in June at the 24 Hours of Le Mans the GT40 achieved
yet another 1-2-3 result.
The Le Mans finish, however, was clouded in controversy: in the final
few hours, the Ford GT of New Zealanders Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon
closely trailed the leading Ford GT driven by Englishman Ken Miles and
New Zealander Denny Hulme. With a multimillion-dollar program finally on
the very brink of success, Ford team officials faced a difficult choice.
They could allow the drivers to settle the outcome by racing each other
– and risk one or both cars breaking down or crashing. They could
dictate a finishing order to the drivers – guaranteeing that one set of
drivers would be extremely unhappy. Or they could arrange a tie, with
the McLaren/Amon and Miles/Hulme cars crossing the line side-by-side.
The team chose the last and informed McLaren and Miles of the decision
just before the two got in their cars for the final stint. Then, not
long before the finish, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), organizers
of the Le Mans event, informed Ford that the geographical difference in
starting positions would be taken into account at a close finish. This
meant that the McLaren/Amon vehicle, which had started perhaps 60 feet
(18 m) behind the Hulme-Miles car, would have covered slightly more
ground over the 24 hours and would therefore be the winner. Secondly,
Ford officials admitted later, the company's contentious relationship
with Miles, its top contract driver, placed executives in a difficult
position. They could reward an outstanding driver who had been at times
extremely difficult to work with, or they could decide in favour of
drivers (McLaren/Amon) with less commitment to the Ford program but who
had been easier to deal with. Ford stuck with the orchestrated photo
finish but Miles, deeply bitter over this decision after his dedication
to the program, issued his own protest by suddenly slowing just yards
from the finish and letting McLaren across the line first. Miles died in
a testing accident in the J-car (later to become the Mk IV) at Riverside
(CA) Raceway just two months later.
Miles' death occurred at the wheel of the Ford "J-car", an iteration of
the GT40 that included several unique features. These included an
aluminum honeycomb chassis construction and a "breadvan" body design
that experimented with "Kammback" aerodynamic theories. Unfortunately,
the fatal Miles accident was attributed at least partly to the unproven
aerodynamics of the J-car design, as well as the experimental chassis'
strength. The team embarked on a complete redesign of the car, which
became known as the Mk IV. The Mk IV, a newer design with a Mk II engine
but a different chassis and a different body, won the following year at
Le Mans (when four Mark IVs, three Mark IIs and three Mark Is raced).
The high speeds achieved in that race caused a rule change, which
already came in effect in 1968: the prototypes were limited to the
capacity of 3.0 liters, the same as in Formula One. This took out the
V12-powered Ferrari 330P as well as the Chaparral and the Mk. IV.
If at least 50 cars had been built, sports cars like the GT40 and the
Lola T70 were allowed, with a maximum of 5.0 L. John Wyer's revised
4.7-liter (bored to 4.9 liter, and O-rings cut and installed between the
block and head to prevent head gasket failure, a common problem found
with the 4.7 engine) Mk I. It won the 24 hours of Le Mans race in 1968
against the fragile smaller prototypes. This result, added to four other
round wins for the GT40, gave Ford victory in the 1968 International
Championship for Makes. The GT40's intended 3.0 L replacement, the Ford
P68, and Mirage cars proved a dismal failure. While facing more
experienced prototypes and the new yet still unreliable 4.5 L
flat-12-powered Porsche 917s, Wyer's 1969 24 Hours of Le Mans winners
Jacky Ickx/Jackie Oliver managed to beat the remaining 3.0-liter Porsche
908 by just a few seconds with the already outdated GT40 Mk I, in the
very car that had won in 1968 — the legendary GT40P/1075. Apart from
brake wear in the Porsche and the decision not to change brake pads so
close to the race end, the winning combination was relaxed driving by
both GT40 drivers and heroic efforts at the right time by (at that time
Le Mans' rookie) Ickx, who won Le Mans five more times in later years.
The Mk.II was very similar in appearance to the Mk.I, but it actually
was a bit different from its predecessor. It used the 7.0-liter FE (427
ci) engine from the Ford Galaxie, which was an engine used in NASCAR at
the time, but the engine was modified for road course use. The car's
chassis was more or less the same as the British-built Mk.I chassis, but
it and other parts of the car had to be redesigned and modified by
Carroll Shelby's organization in order to accommodate the larger and
heavier 427 engine. A new Kar Kraft-built four-speed gearbox (same as
the one described above; Ford-designed, using Galaxie gearsets) was
built to handle the more powerful engine, replacing the ZF five-speed
used in the Mk.I. This car is sometimes called the Ford Mk.II.
In 1966, the Mk.II dominated Le Mans, taking European audiences by
surprise and beating Ferrari to finish 1-2-3 in the standings. After the
success of these Mk.II cars, the Ford GT40 went on to win the race for
the next three years.
For 1967, the Mk.IIs was upgraded to "B" spec; they had re-designed
bodywork and twin carburetors for an additional 15 hp. A batch of
improperly heat treated input shafts in the transaxles sidelined
virtually every Ford in the race at Daytona, however, and Ferrari won
1-2-3. The Mk.IIBs were also used for Sebring and Le Mans that year, and
also it won the Reims 12 Hours in France. For the Daytona 24 Hours, two
Mk II models (chassis 1016 and 1047) had their engines re-badged as
Mercury engines. Mercury was a Ford Motor Company division at that time,
and Mercury's 427 was exactly the same engine as Ford's with different
logos. Ford saw a good opportunity to advertise that division of the
Ford GT Mk. II Driving by
Ken Miles and Denny Hulme in Le Mans 1966:
Victory in the 1966 24 hours of Le
Mans should have gone to Ken Miles and Denny Hulme, driving the Ford
GT40 Mk II that carried chassis number P/1015. Instead, controversial
team orders requested that the first, second and third-place GT40s join
ranks for a photo-op finish, a fateful decision that would instead hand
Ford’s first victory at Le Mans to Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon in GT40
Mk II chassis P/1046. Now, in time for the 50th anniversary of Ford’s
first win at the Circuit de la Sarthe, chassis P/1046 heads off for a
A victory for Ford at Le Mans in 1966
was all but given. Though the racing program was shadowed by the tragic
death of Walt Hansgen in April testing, the Ford GT40 Mk IIs had been
developed to a point where they were both fast and reliable, essential
components for endurance racing success. Moreover, Ford entered a total
of eight Mk IIs in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, including three from
Shelby American, three from Holman Moody and two from UK development
partner Alan Mann Racing. In addition, five privateer teams campaigned
Ford GT40 Mk Is in the event, giving the automaker 13 cars in a 55-car
field, or nearly 24-percent of the total entries.
As the laps ticked off, the
development effort put into the Mk II chassis by Shelby American became
apparent. Its 427-cu.in., 485-horsepower V-8 produced ample torque,
reducing the number of gear changes needed around the Circuit de la
Sarthe. For primary rival Ferrari (which sent only two works-prepared
330 P3s to the race), the constant rowing of gears proved problematic,
and by lap 227 the only two Ferraris remaining in the field were 275 GTB
models entered by privateer teams. After dominating the event since
1960, Ferrari was no longer in contention to win in 1966.
Following the final round of pit
stops, the Shelby American GT40 Mk II driven by Miles and Hulme had a
clear lead over the second place Shelby American GT 40 Mk II, driven by
McLaren and Amon, although both cars remained on the lead lap. The
third-place car, a Holman-Moody GT40 Mk II driven by Ronnie Bucknum and
Dick Hutcherson, trailed the lead cars by a dozen laps, but Ford public
relations man Leo Beebe saw an irresistible opportunity to pour salt in
Ferrari’s wounds. Instead of letting the race unfold naturally (likely
resulting in a victory for Ken Miles, who was not Ford’s favorite
driver), team orders directed Miles to slow, allowing the other
podium-placing GT40s to catch up. The three cars would cross the finish
line in formation, which inadvertently (or, some would say,
intentionally) handed victory to McLaren and Amon in chassis P/1046. The
official margin of victory recorded by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest,
the governing body of Le Mans, was eight meters, or just over 26 feet,
as P/1046 had started further back in the field than P/1015.
Manufacturer Ford Advanced Vehicles
John Wyer Automotive Engineering
Assembly Slough, UK (Mk I, Mk II, and Mk III)
Wixom, Michigan, United States (Mk IV)
Body and chassis
Class Group 4 sports car
Group 6 sports prototype
Body style Coupé
Engine 4181 cc (255 CID) V-8
4737 cc (289 CID) V-8
6997 cc (427 CID) V-8
4942 cc (302 CID) V-8
Transmission 5-speed manual
Wheelbase 95 in (2,413 mm)
Length 160 in (4,064 mm)
Width 70 in (1,778 mm)
Height 40.5 in (1,029 mm)
Curb weight 2,682 lb (1,217 kg) (1966, Mk IIA)
Successor Ford P68 (racing heritage)
Ford GT (street heritage)
Kenneth Henry Miles (1 November 1918
– 17 August 1966) was a British born, naturalized American sports car
racing engineer and driver best known for his motorsport career in the
USA, and with American teams on the international scene.
Miles raced motorcycles before he served as a tank sergeant in the
British Army in World War II.
After the war he raced Bugattis, Alfa Romeos and
Alvises with the Vintage Sports Car Club. He then turned to a Ford V8
Miles then moved from England to the Los Angeles, California area. In
1953 he won 14 straight victories in SCCA racing in an MG-based special
of his own design and construction.
For the 1955 season, he designed, constructed and campaigned a second
special based on MG components that was known as the "Flying Shingle".
It was very successful in the SCCA F modified class on the west coast.
Miles raced the "Flying Shingle" at Palm Springs in late March,
finishing first overall against veteran driver Cy Yedor, also in a MG
Special, and novice driver, actor James Dean in a Porsche 356 Speedster.
Miles was later disqualified on a technical infraction because his
fenders were too wide, thus allowing Yedor and Dean to get 'bumped up'
to first and second. During 1956, Miles raced Johnny von Neumann's
Porsche 550 Spyder at most of the Cal Club and SCCA events.
For the 1957 season (in cooperation with Otto Zipper), Miles engineered
the installation of a Porsche 550S engine and transmission in a 1956
Cooper chassis and body. It was the second successful race car to be
known on the West Coast as "the Pooper", the first being an early 1950s
Cooper chassis and body powered by a Porsche 356 power train that was
built and campaigned by Pete Lovely of Tacoma, WA. The resulting car
dominated the F Modified class of SCCA on the west coast in the 1957 and
1958 seasons with Miles driving.
Due to his great skill and talent, both as a driver and
mechanic/engineer, Miles was a key member of the Shelby/Cobra race team
in the early 1960s. Speaking with a very pronounced English accent,
often with a seemingly obscure and sardonic sense of humor, he was
affectionately known by his American racing crew as "Teddy Teabag" (for
his tea drinking) or "Sidebite" (as he talked out of the side of his
mouth). He played a key role in the development and success of the
racing versions of the Shelby Cobra 289 in SCCA, USRRC and FIA sports
car racing between 1962 and 1965 as well as the Daytona Coupe and 427
versions of the Cobra and the Ford GT (GT40).
In 1966 he won the 24 Hours of Daytona (pictured) with Lloyd Ruby, and
then the 12 Hours of Sebring in the Ford GT Mk.II. Several months later,
near the end of the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans Miles was in the lead, but
Ford management, desiring a publicity photo of three of their cars
crossing the finish line together, instructed Carroll Shelby to order
him to slow down. Accordingly, the next car (Bruce McLaren/Chris Amon)
and the third place car drew up, and they cruised to the line together.
It is rumored that Miles, with his considerable commitment to the Ford
racing program, registered a protest at this perceived slight by
allowing Ford #2 car to cross the line first. A rather more plausible
version, apparently admitted to by McLaren, is that despite the team
orders he suddenly accelerated ahead just before the finish line, and
crossed it first. Either way, Miles was denied the unique achievement of
winning Sebring, Daytona, and Le Mans in the same year, as Bruce McLaren
and Chris Amon were declared the winners.
Test driver/car developer
His early career got Carroll Shelby's attention, who hired Miles as a
test driver in the early 1960s. Miles helped Shelby develop the Shelby
Cobra. He also is credited with helping Shelby develop the GT40 and the
The Ford J-car was intended to be the successor to the all-conquering
Ford GT Mk.II and, despite reliability problems, showed potential in the
springtime Le Mans trials. The dark spot that came of the springtime
trials was the death of Walt Hansgen in a Mk.II. Ford management made
the decision to shelve the J-car and focus on the proven Mk IIs, and
little development was done for the rest of the 1966 World Sports Car
Championship season. Finally, in August 1966, Shelby American resumed
testing and development work with Miles serving as primary test driver.
The J-car featured a breadvan-shaped rear section that experimented with
Kammback aerodynamic theories, as well as a revolutionary (but untested)
honeycomb panel design that was supposed to both lighten and stiffen the
car, but the design remained unproven with high-speed prototype sports
After most of a day of testing at Riverside International Raceway in the
brutally hot Southern California desert summer weather, Miles approached
the end of the track's 1-mile (1.6 km), downhill back straight at top
speed (200-plus mph) when the car suddenly looped, flipped, crashed and
caught fire. The car broke into pieces and ejected Miles, killing him
instantly. The car had suffered precisely the sort of crash damage the
honeycomb construction was designed to prevent. As a result, the
aerodynamics of the J-car were heavily modified to correct the rear-end
lift generated at race speeds. Ford officials, under pressure after the
second of two fatal accidents in the program in five months, also
ordered a NASCAR-style steel tube rollover cage to be installed in
future versions of the car. The death of 47 year old Miles, following
that of 46 year old Hansgen led Ford to favor younger drivers in
subsequent race entries. The significantly revised J-car, renamed the
Ford Mk IV, won the only two races in which it was entered: the 1967
Sebring (FL.) 12 Hours, and the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans. The steel roll
cage in the Mk IV (mandated as a direct result of Miles's death)
probably saved the life of Mario Andretti, who crashed violently during
the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans but escaped with minor injuries.
Miles was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2001.