The GT40, a product of the clash between Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari, stands as America’s Le Mans champion, conquering the 24-hour race from 1966 to 1969. Beyond its victories, this iconic car has left a lasting legacy, inspiring two modern supercars and evolving into a coveted classic.

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Rare Auction Appearances and Staggering Prices

Not frequently seen on auction blocks, the GT40s that have surfaced in recent years commanded jaw-dropping figures, often reaching seven or eight digits. The record-holder, a Gulf-liveried 1968 version featured in the 1971 film Le Mans, set the bar at $11 million in 2012. Other notable sales include a 1966 GT40 MkII at $9.79 million (2018), a 1965 roadster prototype at $7.65 million (2019), and a 1967 MkIII fetching $5 million. The latest addition, a road-legal 1966 MkI, now claims the fourth spot among the most expensive GT40s ever sold.

A Rare Road-Legal Gem

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This MkI is part of the initial batch of homologation cars, essential for GT40’s racing eligibility. With only 31 units produced, all crafted at the Ford Advanced Vehicles factory in Slough, Buckinghamshire, England, this road-legal variant closely mirrors its racing counterparts. Differentiated by features like an upholstered interior, softer suspension, quieter exhaust, and a front hood concealing a spare tire, it retains a striking resemblance to the Le Mans-winning machines.

Performance and Distinctive Features

Under the hood, the road-legal GT40 MkI houses a detuned 289-cubic-inch (4.7-liter) V8 engine, generating 306 horsepower compared to the race-spec’s nearly 400. Paired with a five-speed manual gearbox driving the rear wheels, it accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, outpacing contemporaries like the Lamborghini Miura despite a power deficit.

A Journey Through Ownership and Restoration

Delivered in Metallic Dark Blue to an Italian customer in November 1966, this GT40’s lineage includes ownership by Umberto Magioli, a renowned Ferrari works driver. After residing in Italy for two decades, it made its way to Germany and spent time at the Nurburgring Museum. Restored by RUF Automobiles to factory specifications, it boasts impressive originality, low mileage (13,442 miles), and a three-decade hiatus from public display.

Emerging from three decades of secrecy, the GT40 MkI, with comprehensive documentation and its original build sheet, secured a new owner for $6.3 million at Kissimmee 2024. Including the buyer’s premium, the total sale reached $6.93 million, marking it as the most expensive car sold at the event as of January 13.

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# FAQs: Unveiling the GT40 MkI

**Q1: How many GT40 MkI units were produced?**
A1: Only 31 GT40 MkI units were produced, all as part of the initial homologation batch.

**Q2: What distinguishes the road-legal GT40 MkI from its racing counterparts?**
A2: Key differences include features like an upholstered interior, a softer suspension setup, a quieter exhaust system, and a spare tire under the front hood.

**Q3: How does the GT40 MkI’s performance compare to its race-spec version?**
A3: The road-legal GT40 MkI features a detuned 289-cubic-inch V8 engine, producing 306 horsepower, compared to the nearly 400 horsepower of its race-spec counterpart. Despite this, it outperforms contemporaries, reaching 60 mph in 5.3 seconds.

**Q4: Who were the notable previous owners of this GT40 MkI?**
A4: The GT40 MkI had an illustrious lineage, including ownership by Umberto Magioli, a Ferrari works driver and winner of the Targa Florio and the 12 Hours of Sebring.

**Q5: How long did the GT40 MkI remain hidden from public view?**
A5: According to Mecum, the GT40 MkI was never publicly displayed for 30 years before its unveiling at Kissimmee 2024.

**Q6: What is the significance of the GT40 MkI’s recent sale?**
A6: The GT40 MkI’s recent sale at Kissimmee 2024 for $6.93 million, including the buyer’s premium, makes it the most expensive car sold at the event as of January 13.

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