2018 RM Sotheby’s Monterey Sale (Ford GT40 Announcement)

The 1966 Ford GT40 that finished third at Le Mans is on offer at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2018 sale – estimate: $9,000,000 to $12,000,000.

1966 Ford GT40
© Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

A 1966 Ford GT40 that finished third at the 24 Hours or Le Mans race behind two other Ford GT40s is the latest highlight announced for the RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2018 classic car auction. This 1966 Ford GT40, chassis no. P/1016, was the only racing GT40 of the period to campaign with an automatic gearbox. The Ford is restored to its golden 1966 Le Mans appearance livery and comes with a pre-sale estimate of $9,000,000 to $12,000,000.

RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2018 Sale

1956 Aston Martin DBR1 Sold
Remi Dargegen ©2017 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2018 classic car auctions are scheduled for 24 to 25 August 2018 at the Monterey Conference Center in Monterey, California, USA.

In 2017, RM Sotheby’s earned $132,993,810 with a sell-through rate of 88%. RM Sotheby’s sold 32 cars for over a million dollar. The top result was $22,550,000 paid for a 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 – a marque and British-made car record.

Highlights from The Pinnacle Portfolio
Patrick Ernzen © 2015 courtesy RM Sotheby’s

In 2016, RM Sotheby’s grossed $118 million from just over 100 cars – 21 cars were sold for over a million dollar including three that sold for over $10 million and setting new marque records: a 1955 Jaguar D-Type1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Lungo Spider and a 1962 Shelby 260 Cobra CSX2000 – the most-expensive American car ever.

The world’s single auction record remains RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2015 when three days of auctions grossed $172.7 million and million-dollar results for 35 cars.

1966 Ford GT40

One of three GT40s that propelled Ford to its first-ever 24 Hours of Le Mans victory, the 1966 Ford GT40, chassis number P/1016, estimate $9,000,000 to $12,000,000, is the latest star entry for RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2018 classic car sale.

1966 Ford GT40 Profile
© Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Ford GT40s at Le Mans

1966 Ford GT40 at Le Mans
© Courtesy of The Klemantaski Collection / RM Sotheby’s

As part of the trio of GT40s that completed the iconic clean sweep of 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall places at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, chassis number P/1016 wore #5 as it was driven by American pair Ronnie Bucknum and Dick Hutcherson, completing 348 laps and finishing 3rd overall for the Holman & Moody racing team.

Occupying first and second places were the two other Ford GT40s—the first driven by victors Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon and the other by runners-up Ken Miles and Denny Hulme (though not without its own controversy) —in what is considered to be the turning point in Ford’s motorsport fortunes as the American manufacturer so badly craved a major racing title.

© Courtesy of The Klemantaski Collection / RM Sotheby’s

The GT40 Mk II was a development of the original Ford GT program, evolving to include a race-tuned 7.0-liter V-8 engine, in line with Ford’s ambition to create a mid-engined racing car capable of reaching speeds up to 200 mph. The ‘40’ part of the GT40’s nomenclature gives thanks to the sleek racing car’s low 40-inch overall height.

The advent of the GT40 represented a step-change in the dynamic of engine technology in the 1966 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Compared to rival manufacturers on the grid – including Porsche, with the 906 model powered by a 1.9-liter ‘flat six’ or Ferrari’s 275 GTB Competizione cars equipped with a 3.3-liter V-12 – the Ford powertrain was ahead of its time and played a huge part in the manufacturer’s motorsport success.

Ford GT40s at Daytona 24 Hours in 1966

1966 Ford GT40 Front
© Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Ford Advanced Vehicles first dispatched P/1016 on 11 September 1965, finished ahead of time and in the company’s 1965 colors of white with a matte black bonnet. The car was sent to Sebring International Raceway before lining up at The Daytona 24 Hour Continental over 5-6 February 1966. There, the car was driven by Bucknum – this time paired with Grand Prix racer Richie Ginther – as the race length was increased to 24 hours – at Ford’s request – in anticipation of Le Mans later that year.

Ford swept up as victors in that race, all with GT40s, yet chassis number P/1016 did not finish, its automatic gearbox failing at 4:20 am after 13 hours. In among the various GT40s that competed and won in races over the following months—making Ford favorites at Le Mans—this car remains the only example to have raced as an automatic model.

Ford GT40, Chassis P/1016 After Le Mans

1966 Ford GT40 From Rear
© Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

After the success at Le Mans, chassis number P/1016 went on to race three more times in 1967; again, at the Daytona 24 Hour Continental, in a Daytona test, and driven by Mark Donohue in the Le Mans trials.

The car was later featured in notable automobile collections and at shows across North America throughout its life, winning ‘People’s Choice’ at Pebble Beach in 2003. Now restored to the same golden livery as it wore when it raced at Le Mans, the GT40 is estimated to achieve $9,000,000 to $12,000,000 in Monterey.

Alexander Weaver, Car Specialist, at RM Sotheby’s, said: “The status of P/1016 speaks for itself, and if it wasn’t for this car, the history of motorsport as we know it would be very different. The sale of this GT40 represents a real chance for any collector or motorsport enthusiast to own a significant piece of history. To feature a car for sale that has played such a pivotal role in such a famous race is very important for us as we prepare for the Monterey auction. This Ford has been restored to the condition it raced in, which will be a vital consideration for any prospective buyer. Few cars can be considered gold standard, but this GT40 is, and will always be remembered as one of the Fords that finally beat Ferrari.”

Racing Cars at RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2018

1968 Porsche 908 K Front
Robin Adams © Courtesy RM Sotheby’s

Additional racing highlights for RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale include:

  • The only 1970 Lola T153 ‘Sunoco Special’, purchased new by Roger Penske and placed 2nd overall at the 1970 Indianapolis 500 with Mark Donohue at the helm (Est. $500,000 – $700,000, offered without reserve);
  • The 1932 Ford “404 Jr.” Roadster by Berardini Bros., the famous Southern California drag racing great (Est. $400,000 – $600,000); and,
  • A 1968 Porsche 908 Works ‘Short-Tail’ Coupe, an early iteration of the legendary model, campaigned by the Porsche factory team at the 1968 Spa 1000 KM (Est. $2,300,000 – $2,800,000).

Ford GT40s at Public Auction

Blue 1968 Ford GT40
1968 Ford GT40 © Courtesy of RM Auctions

While the more modern Ford GT is a mainstay at collector car auctions in the US, the original GT40s are far rarer and are seldom offered for sale. In recent years, Ford GT40 Mark I cars have sold for between $3 and $5 million. A third place at the epic 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours race certainly should add some value.

The highest price ever paid for a Ford at public auction was $11 million for a 1968 Ford GT40 Lightweight at the RM Monterey 2012 sale. This car won its debut race at Spa driven by Jacky Ickx and Dick Thompson but having been a camera car for Steve McQueen’s Le Mans movie may have added even more value.

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