Presented by Broad Arrow Group.
It is tempting to ask of the second-generation Ford GT, what can be said that has not already been said, with no small degree of ecstasy, by the world’s automotive press and legions of thoroughly satisfied owners? It was, perhaps more than any other modern 21st Century automobile, an actual Le Mans car for the road, developed with the objective of winning the famed 24-hour endurance race firmly in mind. Its specification was as advanced as could be imagined from a North American automaker, with a carbon fiber monocoque chassis, an aerodynamically efficient carbon-fiber body, and a twin-turbocharged 650 bhp Ford Ecoboost V-6 combining to achieve one of the finest supercars in the world.
Ford’s competition objective was well-met. Even before the roadgoing GT had actually entered production, a pair of Chip Ganassi Racing-entered models finished First and Third in Class at Le Mans, fifty years to the day after the original GT40 first won on the fabled circuit. This successfully proved the GT’s bonafides as those owners were selected by Ford, following an infamously rigorous application progress involving videotaped interviews and minor financial disclosures, were contacted by the company’s Concierge Service to select the features of their new automobile. Many of the possible option combinations, as well as paint and interior, were chosen via a box of samples supplied to the owner, allowing them to mix-and-match possible combinations to suit their finely hewn taste.
For some, of course, the proper livery was, as they say, a no-brainer. Ford had begun to tease its customer base with the occasional introduction of very limited-production Heritage Editions that offered paint schemes inspired by the most famous successful competition GT40s of the 1960s. After considerable demand from GT customers, the colors that Ford has boldly but correctly described as ‘the most famous paint scheme in motorsports’ finally became available to buyers in 2019 as part of the new Heritage Edition.
Honoring the Gulf Oil-sponsored GT40, no. 1075, offered at Broad Arrow Groups Passion for the Drive: The Cars of Jim Taylor this coming 14-15 October, beat European competitors on the track twice in a row, the ’68 Heritage Edition would of course be finished in Heritage Blue and Heritage Orange, with Gulf Oil’s full backing of the use of the iconic hues. Yet this was no mere paint job. Heritage cars also featured orange brake calipers and silver rear-view mirror caps, exposed carbon fiber A-pillars, and unique 20-inch one-piece forged aluminum wheels, finished in high-gloss dark stainless with black lug nuts. Each interior was upholstered in Ebony Alcantara, with the seats stitched in contrasting blue and orange thread, and embossed with a pattern inspired by the two-time Le Mans-winning GT40, and featured high-gloss dark stainless appliques throughout, echoing the finish of the wheels. Exposed carbon fiber door sills, air register pods, and center console recalled the finishes of earlier Heritage models, and further emphasized the competition spirit of the design. It was, in sum, a very carefully chosen and integrated package of features, intended to recall not only the original GT40’s colors and trim, but also its spirit.
The 2019 ’68 Heritage model boasted 1968’s No. 9 graphics on the hood and doors, as well as a ‘ghosted’ image on the inner door panels. For 2020’s ’69 Heritage model, this was changed to No. 6, honoring the number under which the same car won Le Mans in 1969. Each year only fifty examples of each were built, and, naturally, they sold out more or less as soon as they were announced. They have, if anything, become even more desirable in the last years, with enthusiasts clamoring to own one of these most significant modern Ford GTs.
Jim Taylor was one of those fortunate souls who bought their ’69 Heritage Edition brand-new. He was well-qualified to make the acquisition, having successfully gathered some of the best performance Fords from virtually every generation, among them a pair of earlier GTs, including a 2006 Heritage model that this one has resided beside since its delivery to Gloversville. Accompanied by its window sticker, the 2020 model remains in outstanding overall condition, as it should, having been driven only 847.7 miles at the time of cataloguing – almost all of those miles happy runs on the local country roads and highways. Mr. Taylor had the entire car clear-bra’d, including the underbody, to protect it during such use. Typical of the Taylor automobiles, it has been maintained to his high standards, and in excellent operational condition throughout.
There is something magical and significant about a Gulf-liveried Ford GT of any generation. True to the original’s all-conquering spirit, Jim Taylor’s car is in the first rank of its type. It is the best that America has to offer the world. Check out more on this example on the Broad Arrow Auctions website, on offer at the Passion for the Drive: The Cars of Jim Taylor auction this coming 14-15 October.