The GT40 – the legendary car brought to life by Henry Ford II to change performance car history – finds new life in a modern road car that re-ignites Ford’s hallmarks of passion, performance and speed.
The Ford X1 was a roadster built to contest the Fall 1965 North American Pro Series, a forerunner of the CanAm, it was entered by Bruce McLaren team and driven by Chris Amon. The car had an aluminum chassis build at Abbey Panels and was originally powered by a 4.5 L (289ci) engine.
“GT40 is the ultimate Living Legend,” explains J Mays, Ford vice president of Design. “It’s a true supercar with appeal equal to that of the greatest sports cars in the world, but with the addition of a heritage no one can match. Essential elements of the original – including the stunning low profile and mid-mounted American V-8 – continue in this latest interpretation of the classic.”
The powerplant is an all-American V-8 from Ford’s modular engine family. The MOD 5.4-liter, V-8 in the GT40 concept features aluminum four-valve heads, forged crankshaft, H-beam forged rods and aluminum pistons fed by a supercharger, all combining to make more than 500 horsepower and 500 foot-pounds of torque.
These figures match or exceed those of the most powerful period GT40, a car that could handily top 200 mph on the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans. Because of the supercharger and high-revving, free-breathing valvetrain, the new car produces this astounding power from an efficient 5.4-liter V-8 engine. The power is put to the road through an RBT six-speed manual transmission.
The GT40 concept casts the familiar, sleek silhouette of its namesake, yet every dimension, every curve and every line on the car is a unique reinterpretation of the original.
The front fenders curve over 18-inch wheels and Goodyear white-lettered tires. In the tradition of championship racers, the doors cut into the roof. The rear wheel wells, filled with 19-inch Goodyear tires, define the rear of the car, while the accent line from the front cowl rejoins and finishes the car’s profile at the integrated “ducktail” spoiler.
The interior design incorporates the novel “ventilated seats” and instrument layout of the original car, with straightforward analog gauges and large tachometer. Modern versions of the original car’s toggle switches operate key systems.
Looking in through the backlight, one finds the essence of the sports car in the MOD 5.4-liter V-8 engine and its complex array of polished stainless-steel header pipes, braided stainless steel fuel lines with anodized aluminum fittings and supercharger with intercooler.
As on the historic car, the composite body panels are unstressed. Instead of steel or honeycomb-composite tubs used in the 1960s, Ford’s SVT Engineering group developed an all-new aluminum spaceframe as the foundation for the GT40 concept. It features four-wheel independent suspension with unequal-length control arms and longitudinally mounted spring-damper units to allow for its low profile.
Braking is handled by six-piston aluminum Alcon calipers with cross-drilled and vented rotors at all four corners. When the rear canopy is opened, the rear suspension components and engine become the car’s focal point. Precision-milled aluminum suspension components and attached 19-inch Goodyear tires – combined with the overwhelming presence of the V-8 powertrain – create a striking appearance and communicate the GT40 concept’s performance credentials.