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Le Mans-winning Ford GT40 restoration is exhaustive, obsessive

In a just world, famous racing cars would be properly taken care of, preserved for the admiration of future generations of enthusiasts. This is not a just world, which is why you're about to read about the utterly painstaking restoration of a famed, Le Mans-winning racer.

This is Ford GT40 P/1046, and it's currently undergoing a 20-month restoration process. The winner of the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans – you know, the race where Henry Ford II finally punched Enzo Ferrari in the proverbial nose – P/1046 is an icon of racing. Its rebuild, conducted by RK Motors in Charlotte, NC, stripped the mid-engine, 7.0-liter monster down to its bare monocoque. The start of the process, though, was in documentation.

RK studied "thousands of period images" of P/1046 to make sure the restored GT40 was as historically accurate as possible. That means original parts were used wherever possible – there's a 50-year-old, one-off seatbelt for crying out loud – and if the originals couldn't be found, they were fabricated to an exacting degree.

"This is what it takes to make this iconic racecar new again," RK Director of Marketing Paul Tecci said in an official statement. "If the expert restorers at Rare Drive can't find a bolt, they'll figure out the metallurgy of the original and reproduce it themselves."

RK Motors has maintained a regularly updated blog of the restoration process on P/1046. With seven chapters slated, there are currently four posted. We've embedded the latest chapter up top, and the previous three chapters below. Be sure to follow along, because this is one of the most interesting and obsessive restorations we've seen in a long time. The restored P/1046 will debut in August at Pebble Beach.

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