Ford GT Mk. II #2 – Spark

1966 Ford GT Mk. II #2
Pilots: B. McLaren, C. Amon
Team: Shelby American Inc
Race: 1st GC (P class) at Le Mans in 1966
Spark - 43LM66 (resin)

Published 11/23/18

According to legend, Henry Ford II had wanted a Ford at Le Mans since the early 1960s. In early 1963, Ford reportedly received word that Enzo Ferrari was thinking of selling his company. If Ferrari became a Ford subsidiary, that would bring tremendous prestige to Ford all over the world. So of course Henry Ford II became VERY interested. To the point that he approached Ferrari and reportedly spent several million dollars in an audit of Ferrari factory assets.

Negotiations progressed nicely until deciding who would be the boss of Ferrari’s motoring division. Enzo Ferrari wanted to increase the presence of Ferrari in North America. He firmly believed that there was no better way to promote his brand then through racing. And what was huge in the US? The Indianapolis 500. But Ford already had their own cars at Indy, and there was no point in competing against themselves. So no, there would not be a Ferrari at Indy. Enzo got so miffed about that that out of spite he terminated the negotiations.

The Ferrari killer.

Henry Ford II was absolutely furious. Right after he ordered his engineering department to create a car that would whoop Ferrari. To do so, in 1963 Ford contacted Lola Cars to develop a state of the art long-distance sports car. They went to Lola because they already had the Mk. VI GT, the first Grand Touring car with a mid-mounted engine. It even raced at Le Mans in 1963, and became the basis for the GT Mk. I.

Three Ford GT Mk. I debuted at La Sarthe in 1964, but all three DNFed. Ford continued development, and the new Mk. II, was ready for the 1965 race. The Mk. II used a different engine, based on the unit from the Ford Galaxy, used in NASCAR. This new engine was the Ford FE, a massive V8 with 6997 cm³ of displacement. The new more powerful engine demanded a heftier gearbox, so Ford used a new Kar Kraft-built four-speed.

Spark at its finest!

For 1966 Ford came to France with a win-or-win attitude. There were none less than eight Mk. IIs in three factory-supported teams. Plus three more Mk. Is in the hands of privateers. And with a fleet like that, Henry Ford II finally had his revenge. With two cars from Shelby American Inc and one car from Holman & Moody, Ford achieved a 1-2-3 finish. Such a feat would only be repeated again in 1983 by Porsche. I had this same model as a pw car, and quite frankly, it was crap. It was only a placeholder until I got a nice version, and I finally did. Another gem from Spark, even with the safety wire for the hood pins. So if you want the best version of the 1966 winner, this is it.

Three, but I’m not done yet…

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