Rob Kinnan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
December 21, 2018
Photos By: Barrett Jackson

For Ford Motor Company, arguably the biggest racing wins in the history of the company came at the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1966-1969. It’s hard enough to win the grueling endurance race once, let alone four straight years. But Ford’s GT40 race cars achieved just that—and they didn’t just win, they dominated, finishing 1-2-3 in 1966, first and fourth in 1967, first in 1968, and first and third in 1969.

In 2005 and 2006 Ford commemorated the great GT40 with the release of the Ford GT supercar. The GT did a fantastic job capturing the look and feel of the originals, although they are not exact duplicates. The modern GT was larger than the GT40, and obviously packed with 21st-century technology. Yet the bloodline was so obvious that the cars were instantly recognizable as being part of the same family tree.

The GT40 was internationally famous in the 1960s, but some were more famous than others. The 1968 and 1969 Le Mans winner was fielded by John Wyer’s J.W. Automotive Engineering team. It was painted in a striking pale blue and orange scheme, the colors of its sponsor Gulf Oil. The car was so photogenic, with such an incredible story behind it, that over the years it has become the face of the GT40 program.

Although more than one GT40 ran with the Gulf Oil paint scheme, it was chassis number 1075 that won back-to-back at Le Mans in 1968 and 1969. The 1969 win was particularly remarkable, in that the GT40 was ancient in race car years by then, and the advanced Porsche 917 was making its debut. Plus, the car was a small-block Mk I GT40, the oldest version of the car, not the 427-powered versions that had won in 1966 and 1967.

In 1968, chassis 1075 was driven to victory by Pedro Rodriguez and Lucian Bianchi, with the car wearing number 9. In 1969, wearing number 6 on its flanks, the car took the checkered flag with Jacky Ickx and Jackie Oliver sharing driving duties. The same car, wearing Gulf Oil colors and the number 22, also won the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1969 with Ickx and Oliver driving.

For the 2006 model year, Ford released an option package for the new-generation GT that paid homage to its famous predecessor. The Heritage Livery Package was a $13,000 option that reproduced the Gulf Oil color scheme. Ford named the colors Heritage Blue and Epic Orange, and the package included four white roundels just like the competition cars used, with owner-selected numerals. The customer could apply their number of choice, or none at all, which is why you see the cars both ways. Only 343 GTs were built with the Heritage Livery Package.

Like the other Ford GTs built during those two years, the Heritage cars were powered by an aluminum 5.4-liter, DOHC, 32-valve supercharged V8. The Eaton screw-type supercharger, with air-to-liquid intercooler and set at 12 psi of boost, elevated the engine to 550 horsepower and 500 lbs-ft of torque. It was teamed with a Ricardo 6-speed manual transmission. The Ford GT may have had the most gorgeous engine compartment ever produced by Ford, with a clamshell engine cover, visible aluminum space frame and a supercharger that could be seen in the driver’s rearview mirror.

The 2006 GT came with Brembo cross-drilled and vented discs with 4-piston calipers, working with a 4-channel, 4-sensor ABS system. BBS 10-spoke forged aluminum wheels and painted brake calipers were among the handful of available options. The cockpit was also inspired by the original GT40, although with modern upgrades like ventilated, carbon-fiber bucket seats with leather-trimmed seating surfaces.

We give you this history lesson on the Heritage Edition GTs and their inspirations from the 1960s because three of the 2006 Heritage Editions will cross the block at Barrett-Jackson’s 2019 Scottsdale Auction, all offered at no reserve and all of them extraordinary examples of the breed.

One of the cars (Lot #1406), #324 of the 343 built, is the closest to a new Ford GT you’ll find—it has a mere 75 actual miles. It also has all four available options: the McIntosh Audiophile System, BBS wheels, Gunmetal Gray brake calipers, and the Heritage Livery Package. The owner opted not to put numbers on the roundels, so the new owner can leave it that way or add his own favorite numeral.

The second of the Heritage cars (Lot #1313), like the original GT40, has an international pedigree. It was sold new in Canada, and comes with Window Stickers in both English and French. This car has the number 6 on the roundels, the same as the 1969 Le Mans winner. It has 3,092 miles and includes all the original manuals, books, keys, and car cover. It is #1852 of the 2,011 Ford GTs built in 2006, and #335 of the 343 cars with the Heritage Livery Package.

The third Heritage GT at Scottsdale (Lot #1376) is another low-mileage find. It has only 288 actual miles. Like the other two, it has the optional 10-spoke BBS aluminum wheels. Its roundels have been left number-free. It is an incredibly rare occurrence for three of these Heritage Livery Package Ford GTs to be offered at one event, let alone for all three to have such low mileage and be so well-preserved. Strap in for a wild ride, since the bids will likely be coming in as fast as a trip down the Mulsanne Straight in Hour 23 at Le Mans.

Photography by Barrett-Jackson