1966 Ford Mk. IIB
Pilots: J. Schlesser, G. Ligier
Team: Ford France SA
Race: DNF (P +5.0 class) at Le Mans in 1967
Ixo - LMC 140 (diecast)
”A car to beat Ferrari” – that’s the most succinct way to define the GT40. With that intent, in 1963 Ford contacted Lola Cars to develop a state of the art long-distance sports car. Lola already had the Mk. VI GT, that in 1962 was the first GT car with a mid-mounted engine, and even raced it at Le Mans in 1963. The Lola GT was the starting point for the GT40, and it debuted at La Sarthe in 1964. The car was extensively developed in the following years, and in 1966, with the Mk. II version, Ford finally whooped Ferrari. Around 100 GT40s were produced, and Ford was more than happy to sell them to privateers to saturate the playing field. These cars had a 4736 cm³ V8 with 16 valves and SOHV that produced around 400 hp.
The Mk. II was very similar to the original Mk. I, but only in appearance. The engine used was based on the one from the Ford Galaxy, used in NASCAR at the time. 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. But for 1967, the Mk.IIs were upgraded to B spec. The new Mk. IIB had a re-designed bodywork and twin carburetors for an additional 15 hp.
For the 1967 24 Heures du Mans Ford of France lined up two cars. One was the GT40 #16 (chassis #GT40P/1020) and the second was Mk. IIB #6 (chassis #1015). Unfortunately however, #16 abandoned around half-race and right after #6 suffered an accident. Though I wasn’t planning on it, with this Mk. IIB I consequently completed Ford of France’s 1967 team. And I have to point out that this Ixo is the nicest model of the pair. It’s one of those certainly GREAT models you can get from Ixo for a very decent price.