1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype

Think of mid-engined supercars and your mind is bound to gravitate towards Europe, but the United States has been known to make a handful from time to time – exceptional vehicles from the likes of Vector, SSC, Mosler, Hennessey, and Saleen. But long before any of those came around, Ford famously became obsessed with beating Ferrari at its own game, leading to the development of the iconic GT40.

The story is well known, sending Ford to the checkered flag at Le Mans four times in a row in the late 1960s. Ford and Shelby also built over 100 for public consumption, but just four of them were roadsters. Of those only one remains in original condition, and now that exceedingly rare example going up for auction.

Consigned to RM Auctions for its mid-August sale during Pebble Beach weekend in Monterey, California, this 1965 model is the first GT40 Roadster built. It was used as a development and demonstration vehicle for Ford and Shelby. Carroll Shelby himself drove Henry Ford II in this very car during one of many test and demo events, this time held for Ford's board of directors in Los Angeles.

Serial number GT/108 has been shown at numerous prestigious events throughout the years, and has been part of the same owner's collection for over two decades now. RM won't say just how much it's expected to fetch at auction, but considering the big-buck lots it usually handles, the unique nature of this highly coveted vehicle, and the $7 million brought in for the last GT40 prototype we saw go up for auction, you can bet there'll be a lot of zeros in the final figure.
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RM SECURES ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FORD GT40S IN EXISTENCE FOR ITS FLAGSHIP MONTEREY SALE
Monterey

- RM Auctions lifts gavel on a multi-million-dollar 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype, chassis GT/108, at its highly anticipated Monterey sale, August 15–16 in California
- Fresh to the market following more than two decades in single-ownership, GT/108 served as a Ford/Shelby American development/demonstrator vehicle in the 1960s and was driven by the likes of John Whitmore, Dickie Atwood, Ken Miles, and Carroll Shelby
- The GT40 Prototype leads an exceptional series of more than 100 blue-chip automobiles for RM's Monterey sale
- Additional early highlights include a one-of-a-kind 1931 Bentley 8-Litre Barker Sports Coupe Cabriolet, a 1938 SS 100 Jaguar 3½–Litre Roadster, a 1971 Lamborghini Miura SV, and a barn-find 1961 Aston Martin DB4
- Frequently updated list of entries available online at www.rmauctions.com

BLENHEIM, Ontario (May 21, 2014) – RM Auctions, the world's largest auction house for investment-quality automobiles, is delighted to announce one of the most significant Ford GT40s in existence, the 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype, chassis GT/108, as the latest premier offering for its flagship Monterey sale, taking place August 15–16 in California.

As one of only a select group of prototypes built, and the first of only four GT40 roadsters, GT/108 holds an important place in history as a development/demonstrator vehicle for Ford and Shelby American. Completed by Ford Advanced Vehicles in March 1965, GT/108 was tested at Silverstone by John Whitmore and Dickie Atwood before shipment to Shelby American. It then accompanied the Shelby USRRC team to Riverside Raceway in May, where GT/108 was used for "exhibition purposes." In July, also at Riverside, GT/108 was driven by Ken Miles for further testing. Later that same month, it was used as a demonstrator at the Ford Board of Directors meeting at Shelby American's facility in Los Angeles. At this meeting, Ken Miles, this time attired in coat and tie, provided demonstration rides to board members and executives. However, when it came to Mr. Ford's turn, it was Carroll Shelby himself who jumped behind the wheel. The car was later featured at the U.S. Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, New York, in October 1965, where it was reportedly driven by Jim Clark.

A very original and extremely well-documented example that is well-known in the GT40 community, GT/108 will make its auction debut at RM's Monterey sale in August following more than two decades in single ownership within a prominent collection. As stated by John S. Allen in his book, GT40: The Legend Lives On, "prototype GT/108 is currently the only intact example of the marque still to carry the correct 1965-style nose, and the low tail section unique to roadsters. (Further) 108 is the only roadster, or "spyder", to remain in as-built condition." The car comes with the engine that was in the vehicle when GT/108 was sold into private hands from the Ford Factory via Kar Kraft in 1965.

GT/108 has been lightly campaigned and shown at various events over the years, including the GT40 25th Anniversary Reunion in Watkins Glen in 1989, as well as at the prestigious Pebble Beach and Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance events and The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering (Estimate Available Upon Request).

"Ford and Ferrari were at the center of one of the most intense feuds in international motorsport. The GT40 of the 1960s was the result of Henry Ford II's declaration of war on Ferrari after a failed buyout-if he couldn't own the small Modenese sports car outfit, he vowed to beat them on the track...no matter what the cost!" says Shelby Myers, Car Specialist, RM Auctions.

"GT/108 is very special, as it is one of the early prototype cars. It is the first roadster version and certainly one of the most important of the twelve prototype cars built, as it was Ford and Shelby's factory development car, driven by Carroll Shelby himself. Offered for the first time in 20 years, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the serious collector, and we are honored to have been selected by the consignors to sell this important piece of history," Myers adds.

The GT40 Prototype leads an exceptional series of important and historic automobiles already secured for RM's highly anticipated Monterey sale. Another premier offering set to make its auction debut at the event is the 1931 Bentley 8-Litre Sports Coupe Cabriolet, chassis YR5099. A one-off, bespoke design by Barker and the only original two-passenger roadster built on an 8-Litre chassis, this utterly unique automobile was ordered new by Sir P. Malcolm Stewart, a devout Bentley enthusiast and owner of the London Brick Company. It has passed through the hands of numerous well-respected owners over the years, including well-known McLaren racing team associate, Formula One boss, and noted car collector Peter Agg, who acquired the car in the late 1970s. For the past several years, YR5099 has received the best of care as part of one of Europe's most prominent collections of fine pre-war automobiles. Restored to the highest standard and thoroughly evaluated by noted Bentley historian Clare Hay and Bentley restorer Graham Moss, it is presented at auction for the first time, where it will be accompanied by documentation confirming its matching-numbers authenticity (Estimate: $3,750,000–$4,750,000).

Additional, recently secured entries include:
- a striking 1971 Lamborghini Miura SV, chassis 4942, a terrific example of the world's first "supercar," which is finished in yellow with a black leather interior and is the recipient of a photo-documented restoration (Estimate: $1,800,000–$2,400,000);
- a 1938 SS 100 Jaguar 3½-Litre Roadster, chassis 39032, which is one of the greatest pre-war British sports cars and was formerly owned by the Keno family (Estimate: $850,000–$1,200,000); and,
- a matching-numbers 1961 Aston Martin DB4, chassis DB4/718/R, which was originally delivered to Castrol Ltd. and is presented in barn-find condition with its original interior (Estimate: $300,000–$375,000).

A tradition spanning more than 25 years, RM's flagship Monterey sale, held during the famed Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance weekend, returns to downtown Monterey, California, August 15–16. In 2013, RM's Monterey auction generated an extraordinary $125 million in sales, entering the history books as the highest grossing collector car auction of all time. This year's event will present an elite, handpicked selection of more than 100 blue-chip collector cars.

For further information, to discuss limited consignment opportunities, or to view a frequently updated list of entries, visit www.rmauctions.com or call +1 519 352 4575.