John Gilbert Staff Editor
November 20, 2015

It’s hard to believe that a company born during the Industrial Revolution’s earliest days and with a founder blessed with more foresight than any of his peers, the Ford Motor Company has a blotchy record when it comes to preserving history. It was Henry Ford that automobile enthusiasts and progress museum fans have to thank for having the vision to save historical relics from the past for future generations. The Ford Museum and Greenfield Village are living testimonies to this fact.

For racecar fans perhaps the biggest blunder was when FoMoCo didn’t retire and keep Ford GT40 chassis P/1046 intact after Bruce McLaren, and Chris Amon drove the car to victory at Le Mans in 1966.

A lot has happened to Ford GT40 chassis P/1046 in the last fifty years, and not much of it has been good. Turned out for transmission testing, wrecked at Daytona shortly after Le Mans, then modified for street use complete with a baroquish Metalflake Gold paint job, the iconic car has suffered its share of insults.

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A Cinderella story if there ever was one, Ford GT40 chassis P/1046 is now in the hands of RK Motors in Charlotte, North Carolina, and fast on its way to becoming an exhibit at Le Mans 2016. Proclaimed by Hot Rod magazine to be the nation’s #1 must see destination for gearheads and enthusiasts, the humble in name RK Motors is a state-of-the-art facility housed in a whopping 60,000 square foot showroom.

RK Motors commissioned Kingston, New Hampshire-based Rare Drive Inc. to begin restoring the P/1046 last January by blowing the car down to the bare monocoque chassis, removing the Holman-Moody fabricated roll cage and respraying it to its original green zinc chromate primer.

* The original fiberglass has been restored, with new fiberglass being incorporated where needed.
* New parts have been added, meticulously copied from original pieces so thickness and weight are precisely replicated.
* RK Motor’s restorers have studied thousands of period images of the car, ensuring that every decision that is made and every single detail, no matter how minute, has been checked against a period photograph.
* Parts are being sourced and/or fabricated as needed. Example: The restorer is working with a glass company to manufacture a correctly shaped windshield, and a wiring company to remanufacture a correct wiring harness using period correct materials.
* The GT40 has been undergoing meticulously refinishing – cleaning, stripping, repairing, replating and repainting all parts and hardware back to their original form.

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