Shelby GT40 MKII
Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
August 10, 2016
Photos By: Courtesy of Champion Brands

Every year manufacturers, builders, fabricators, shop owners, and more from within the automotive aftermarket gather for a week in Las Vegas to do business at the SEMA show. While it is open to industry professionals only, in this digital age the cars, parts, and of course the booth eye candy, all show up online almost as soon as the convention center doors open. This coming November Mustang-360.com will be on site to report on all of the Mustangs and great new Mustang parts we find, but we’ll be making a trip to booth 24423 this year to visit Champion Oil and check out one of the most amazing vehicles Carroll Shelby ever had a role in—the 1966 Ford GT40 MKII—the car that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans 50 years ago and brought Ford home a championship; the equivalent of thumbing its nose at Enzo Ferrari after a buyout gone sour for Enzo’s company.

While sadly not the original (that’s a VERY rare vehicle worth millions) the GT40 that will be on display is certainly the next best thing—one of 20 Shelby GT40 MKII continuations that are being built in Shelby American’s Las Vegas facility to commemorate the 1-2-3 GT40 finish at the 1966 24 Hour of Le Mans. This is a GT40 that many can actually afford (unless you’re an automotive writer like us!). The “50th Anniversary Shelby GT40” is a continuation of the original Ford big-block MKII model.

“Carroll Shelby’s involvement in Ford’s Le Mans program is one of the best-known chapters in our racing history,” said Joe Conway, co-CEO of Carroll Shelby International and CEO of Shelby American. “Carroll Shelby shared Henry Ford II’s desire to defeat Ferrari on the international stage to earn American automakers worldwide respect.”

The limited edition continuation GT40 MKIIs that Shelby is building now are built on an original-style steel monocoque chassis with fully independent suspension. The dimensions are just as the original at 163 inches long and 40 inches high. It even uses the same twin 10-gallon gas tank setup and original-style 15-inch Halibrand pin drive wheels. Shelby says more than 70 percent of the parts can be interchanged with an original GT40 MKII racecar.