Joined: March 11, 2012
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
|Posted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 4:47 pm Post subject: Avenger GT and GT40 Info
|Here is some good information on GT40's, replica GT40's and VW based kit car GT40's including the Avenger...It's worth the read:
When Henry Ford II’s quest to buy Ferrari back in 1963 was spitefully squelched by Enzo, the mandate was given to, “Kick Ferrari’s ass.” And not just anywhere– at Le Mans, the world stage of auto racing. The ass-kicking would finally come in the beautiful & brutish form of the iconic Ford GT40–America’s most incredible racecar ever.
In the summer of 1962 Henry Ford II decided that Ford Division should participate in the International Competition field. Ford Division operate their own Engineering Department; which, is concerned with future design, and they are also responsible for marketing the cars carrying the name of Ford. Production of cars is not part of their responsibilities but they are, of course, able to call upon other divisions such as Research, Engines and Foundry, Styling and so on, so that when given this new task they could seek success with the force of the entire organisation.
It is a matter of history that considerable success has since been won, in rallies and track events all over the world and rear engine Indianapolis cars powered by Ford engines have in the past two years revolutionized the design of these track cars.
In parallel with these excursions into Rally and Classic American races Ford decided in 1963 to enter the road racing field in GT prototype class, wherein it might be possible to secure success with power units resembling those supplied in mass to the American market, and in which the lessons learned in reducing drag and increasing road stability might have long term application on production cars.
In order to get into the business of racing with a minimum delay, a subsidiary company called Ford Advanced Vehicles was set up at Slough in England under the Managing Directorship of John Wyer, well known for his long and successful association with Aston Martin, who won the Manufacturers Championship in 1959 including victory in the Le Mans 24 hour race with Carrol Shelby. In order to reduce time spent on design and development the two 1962 Lola GT cars, into which Eric Broadley had fitted V8 Ford engines, were purchased together with retention of the whole time services of Broadley himself during this introductory period of 1993/64.
Serious engineering work on the project began in August 1963 and between then and February 1964 the frame design was wholly revised and became a spot-welded hull stiffened longitudinally by square tubes running downwards from the scuttle to the front suspension elements. A separate assembly attached at the back of the car supported the tail and rear engine mounting.
The core of the car was, in a sense, the transverse bulkhead which formed the back of the seats with seat pans themselves an integral part of the floor adjustments - leg room being adjusted by shifting the pedals.
The rear suspension layout, with very widely spaced transverse links and long radius arms, is of the type originated by Broadley, and since generally adopted in the motor racing world, and the front wishbone and coil system was used in conjunction with rather short arms.
As originally set up, the engine fitted was the all aluminium Indianapolis version of the Ford Fairlane 4.2 litre engine (95.5 x 72.9 mm). This gave 350 bhp at 7200 rpm which was transmitted to an unsynchronised Colotti 4 speed gearbox, giving intermediate ratios of 1.29; 1.70 and 2.50 to 1. Top gear ( l : l ) was 3.09:1.
When the cars appeared first, at the Le Mans training, only 8 months had elapsed since work had commenced and "work" had not only meant the development of cars but the building up of entirely new organisation from scratch, securing suppliers, installing quality control and so on.
The Ford engagement on this particular front was not on the massive scale which one might associate with the second largest builders of motor cars in the world. On the contrary so far as the GT cars were concerned, the policy adopted was like that of Mercedes Benz who, when they appeared in the Mille Millia in 1952, intended, in professor Nallinger's words, "to open a little window on the racing scene". The total strength at Slough was never more than two-dozen on the floor with an office staff of less than ten.
During 1964 cars were entered for the 1000 km race at the Nurburgring; the 24 hour race at Le Mans; 12 hours at Reims and at Nassau.
In these events, and after some modifications to the profile and adjustments to the trim of the car after the Le Mans training period, very high speeds were demonstrated and the official Le Mans lap record went to Phil Hill in 3 mts. 49.2 seconds or 131.37 mph, with Ginther a little slower at 3 mts. 51 seconds. Only the 4 litre Ferraris were able to approach these speeds but in the course of 110 laps the leading Ford had secured a 1% margin over its nearest rival and had been timed on the straight at 207 mph.
As in the 1000 km race earlier, the cars were eliminated by transmission failures and the prime effort during the winter months of 1964/64 has been to remedy this weakness.
During 1965 the GT40 won its first race at Daytona, was lying second in the Targa Florio when eliminated by an accident and was lying third in the 1000 km race at Nurburgring when eliminated by an engine mounting failure.
At the 1965 Le Mans training, effort was concentrated on tyre testing in the course of which Attwood lapped the circuit in 3.49.0 without fully extending the car.
THE 1965 COMPETITION CARS
It will be seen from the attached specification that the architecture and general dimensions of the Ford GT cars remained unchanged as between 1964 and 1965.
There have, however, been two considerable changes in that the engine and gearbox are new.
The engine now has a swept volume of 4736 cc with a bore and stroke of 101.6 x 77.9, this being the unit fitted to the 289 V8 - Fairlane 500 model in the USA.
The production form with a compression ratio of 9.3 : 1, and with a maximum torque of 2400 ft.min. with a single double choke carburettor, this engine gives 203 bhp. It gives 271 bhp in conjunction with a 10.9 : 1 compression ratio at 6000 rpm, with a peak torque at 3400 rpm.
As installed in the GT40 model 380 bhp is realised at 6500 rpm with 330 lb.ft torque at 5500 rpm. The compression ratio is 10 : 1 and the main difference is the use of 4 Weber 48 IDA double choke carburettors so that in effect each cylinder is provided with its own choke and jet assembly.
Broadly speaking, the effect of installing the 14% larger, and somewhat heavier, engine has been to raise the maximum power by around 10% at approximately 10% less rpm, and to increase the maximum torque by 20% at the same crankshaft speed.
To meet these demands the Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshaven (ZF) have designed and supplied gearboxes which are an almost miraculous combination of compactness and load carrying capacity. The former must be related to the introduction of 5 synchronized speeds giving ratios of 0.85; 0.96; 1.09; 1.47 and 2.42 to 1 in conjunction with the option of 3.33 or 4.22 to 1 in the final drive, which is also a ZF production.
The gear case is only 21.0 ins long and the complete weight of the transmission, including the transaxle a mere 127 lbs.
This notwithstanding it has endured extreme overload conditions including sustained maximum torque at twice the maximum speed at which this normally will be delivered; that is to say, twice the power that can be expected will be transmitted through the gear case. And this for over 10 hours.
Experiments are continuous with wheels, tyres and shape. In respect of the first, the cars will run at Le Mans with cast spoke alloy wheels but no fixed decision has yet been made about the tyres mounted upon them.
The nose shape of the Ford GT40 is somewhat compromised by the forward mounting of the spare wheel which, at Le Mans, must be removed and replaced during the pit stop. Shape must therefore in same degree be sacrificed to ease the wheel removal, but certain lessons were learned during April training period and an extended "DROOP SNOOT" will be seen on the cars on June 19/20th.
On last year's cars the aerodynamic lift phenomenon relieved the rear tyres of 240 lbs of weight, or around 20% of the load that they would be carrying statically. The introduction of a transverse spoiler has converted this upward thrust into a net load of 140 lbs. which adds about 10% to the present static load and considerably improves high speed stability.
The 4.72 litre engine has a wet sump and for racing purposes on some circuits the oil is circulated through a heat exchanger mounted in the tail. Provision is also made far circulating the gearbox oil from the pump normally fitted through an additional tail mounted heat exchanger.
The GT40 Originally developed in England by Ford Advanced Vehicles Ltd under the direction of Aston Martin’s former team manager, John Wyer, the GT40 failed at Le Mans in ’64 & ’65, as Ferrari finished 1-2-3 both years. With failure no longer an option for anyone who wished to remain employed by Ford, Carroll Shelby was tapped to give the GT40 the necessary bite to beat the Italians. The Shelby-American Inc, Cobra Daytona, faired better than Ford’s original GT40 Mark I, winning the GT class and finishing 4th (after Ferrari’s 1-2-3) at the 1964 24 hours of Le Mans. Just six of these stunning specimens of American muscle were made between ’64-’65 as Shelby had turned his attention towards the GT40 project. Shelby’s success at Le Mans in his own Cobras, and again with the GT40, was not about technology, but by being crafty. He replaced the 289 c.i. GT40 engine with the same powerful, big block 427 c.i. V-8 that powered his Cobras. The lower revving, larger displacement V-8’s were more able to take the stress of long endurance races than the higher-revving, small displacement engines used by Ferrari.
Shelby not only ended Ferrari’s racing dominance, he exacted sweet revenge for Enzo’s snub– and garnered Ford a remarkable four-year winning streak from 1966 – 69: In 1966 Ford GT's finished first, second and third at Daytona, first and second at Sebring, first, second and third at Le Mans and won for Ford the world Constructors championship for prototypes. Victory at Le Mans and Sebring was repeated in 1967 while in 1968 the Ford GT40 completed a hat trick of Le Mans victories for Ford. This together with first place in the BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch, the 1000 km at Monza, the 1000 km at Spa and the Endurance Race at Watkins Glen, won Ford the World Sports Car Manufacturers' Championship for the second time in three years.
In 1969 the Ford GT took first place at Sebring and Le Mans.
A Ford GT40 Mk I competing in the 1969 Nurburgring 1000km race
The Mk I was the original Ford GT40. Early prototypes were powered by 4.2 litre (255 cu.in) alloy V8 engines and production models were powered by 4.7 litre (289 cu.in) engines as used in the Ford Mustang. Five prototype models were built with roadster bodywork, including the Ford X-1.
The Mk.I was again modified and run by John Wyer in 1968 and 1969, winning Le Mans in both those years and Sebring in 1969. The Mk.II and IV were both obsolete after the FIA had changed the rules to ban unlimited capacity engines (restricted to 5 litres); but the Mk.I, with its smaller engine, was legally able to race.
The X-1 was a roadster built to contest the Fall 1965 North American Pro Series, a forerunner of Can-Am, entered by the Bruce McLaren team and driven by Chris Amon. The car had an aluminum chassis built at Abbey Panels and was originally powered by a 4.7 liter (289ci) engine. The real purpose of this car was to test several improvements originating from Kar Kraft, Shelby and McLaren. Several gearboxes were used: a Hewland LG500 and at least one automatic gearbox. It was later upgraded to Mk II specifications with a 7.0 liter (427ci) engine and a standard four ratio Kar Kraft (subsidiary of Ford) gearbox, however the car kept specific features such as its open roof and lightweight aluminum chassis. The car went on to win the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1966. The X-1 was a one-off and was later ordered to be destroyed by customs officials.
Ford GT40 Mk II rear
The Mk.II was very similar in appearance to the Mk.I, but it actually was a bit different from its predecessor. It used the 7.0 litre FE (427ci) engine from the Ford Galaxie, which was an engine used in NASCAR at the time- but the engine was modified for road course use. The car's chassis was more or less the same as the British-built Mk.I chassis, but it and other parts of the car had to be re-designed and modified by Carroll Shelby's organization in order to accommodate the larger and heavier 427 engine. A new Kar Kraft-built 4 speed gearbox (same as the one described above) was built to handle the more powerful engine, replacing the ZF 5-speed used in the Mk.I. This car is sometimes referred to as the Ford Mk.II.
In 1966, the Mk.II began dominating the world famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France. In 1966 the Mk.II took Europe by surprise and beat Ferrari to finish 1-2-3 in the standings. Ford GT40's went on to win the race for four consecutive years (1966-1969).
For 1967, the Mk.II's were upgraded to "B" spec; they had re-designed bodywork and twin carburettors for an additional 15 hp. A batch of wrongly heat treated input shafts in the transaxles sidelined virtually every Ford in the race, however, and Ferrari won 1-2-3. The Mk.IIB's were also used for Sebring and Le Mans that year, and also it won the Reims 12 Hours in France. For the Daytona 24 Hours, two Mk II models (chassis 1016 and 1047) had their engines re-badged as Mercury engines. Mercury was a Ford Motor Company division at that time, and Mercury's 427 was exactly the same engine as Ford's with different logos. Ford saw a good opportunity to advertise that division of the company.
Ford GT40 Mk III
The Mk III was a road-car only, of which 7 were built. The car had four headlamps, the rear part of the body was expanded to make room for luggage, the 4.7 litre engine was detuned to 335 bhp (250 kW), the shocks were softened, the shift lever was moved to the center and the car was available with the steering wheel on the left side of the car. As the Mk III looked significantly different from the racing models many customers interested in buying a GT40 for road use chose to buy a Mk I (homologation car) that was available from Wyer Ltd. See Series Production below.
1967 Ford GT40 Mk IV, which was developed from the J-car. This particular car, J-4, won the 1967 12 Hours of Sebring.
In an effort to develop a car with better aerodynamics and lighter weight, it was decided to retain the 7 litre engine, but redesign the rest of the car and ditch the Mk.I/Mk.II chassis. In order to bring the car more "in house" and lessening partnership with English firms, Ford Advanced Vehicles was sold to John Wyer and the new car was designed by Ford's studios and produced by Ford's subsidiary Kar Kraft under Ed Hull. There was also a partnership with the Brunswick Aircraft Corporation for expertise on the novel use of honeycomb aluminium panels bonded together to form a lightweight but rigid "tub". The car was designated as the J-car, as it was constructed to meet the new Appendix J regulations  which were introduced by the FIA in 1966.
The first J-car was completed in March, 1966 and set the fastest time at the Le Mans trials that year. The tub weighed only 86 lb (39 kg), and the entire car weighed only 2,660 lb (1,210 kg), 300 lb (140 kg) less than the Mk II. It was decided to run the MkIIs due to their proven reliability, however, and little or no development was done on the J-car for the rest of the season. Following Le Mans, the development program for the J-car was resumed, and a second car was built. During a test session at Riverside International Raceway in August 1966, with Ken Miles driving, the car suddenly went out of control at the end of Riverside's high-speed, 1-mile-long back straight. The honeycomb chassis did not live up to its design goal, shattering upon impact, bursting into flames and killing Miles. It was determined that the unique, flat-topped "bread van" aerodynamics of the car, lacking any sort of spoiler, were implicated in generating excess lift. Therefore a more conventional but significantly more aerodynamic body was designed for the subsequent development of the J-car which was officially known as the GT40 Mk IV. A total of nine cars were constructed with J-car chassis numbers although six were designated as Mk IVs and one as the G7A.
Ford GT40 Mk IV
The Mk IV was built around a reinforced J chassis powered by the same 7.0 L engine as the Mk II. Excluding the engine, gearbox, some suspension parts and the brakes from the Mk.II, the Mk.IV was totally different from other GT40s, using a specific chassis and specific bodywork. It was undoubtedly the most radical and American variant of all the GT40's over the years. As a direct result of the Miles accident, the team installed a NASCAR-style steel-tube roll cage in the Mk.IV, which made it much safer, but the roll cage was so heavy that it negated most of the weight saving of the then-highly advanced, radically innovative honeycomb-panel construction. A 2-speed automatic gearbox was tried, but during the extensive testing of the J-car in 1966 and 1967, it was decided that the 4-speed from the Mk.II would be retained. Dan Gurney often complained about the weight of the Mk.IV, since the car was 600 pounds (270 kg) heavier than the Ferrari 330 P4's. During practice at Le Mans in 1967, in an effort to preserve the highly stressed brakes, Gurney developed a strategy (also adopted by co-driver A.J. Foyt) of backing completely off the throttle several hundred yards before the approach to the Mulsanne hairpin and virtually coasting into the braking area. This technique saved the brakes, but the resulting increase in the car's recorded lap times during practice led to speculation within the Ford team that Gurney and Foyt, in an effort to compromise on chassis settings, had hopelessly "dialed out" their car.
The Mk. IV ran in only two races, the 1967 12 Hours of Sebring and the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans and won both events. Only one Mk.IV was completed for Sebring; the pressure from Ford had been amped up considerably after Ford's humiliation at Daytona 2 months earlier. Mario Andretti and Bruce McLaren won Sebring, Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt won Le Mans (Gurney and Foyt's car was the Mk.IV that was apparently least likely to win), where the Ford-representing Shelby-American and Holman & Moody teams showed up to Le Mans with 2 Mk.IV's each. The installation of the roll cage was ultimately credited by many with saving the life of Andretti, who crashed violently at the Esses during the 1967 Le Mans 24 Hours, but escaped with minor injuries. Unlike the earlier Mk.I - III cars, which were built in England, the Mk.IVs were built in America by Kar Kraft. Le Mans 1967 remains the only truly all-American victory in Le Mans history - American drivers, team, chassis, engine and tires. A total of 6 Mk IVs were constructed. One of the Mk IVs was rebuilt to the Ford G7 in 1968, and used in the Can-Am series for 1969 and 1970, but with no success.
FORD ADVANCED VEHICLE PERSONALITIES
In the first half of this century the only British car to achieve GP success was Sunbeam, and it was in the racing division of this concern that John Wyer served a large part of his time. He later worked with Solex Ltd. and Monaco Engineering Ltd, but from 1955 to 1963 he was in the employ of Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd, being firstly their Competition Manager and subsequently General Manager and Technical Director.
Roy Lunn was in the Design Office of Aston Martin in 1949.50, after which he became Chief Engineer at Jowett, and then joined Ford at Dagenham from where he transferred to Dearborn in the Research Division, His present position is Manager of Advanced Concepts, and in this capacity he worked with Ford Advanced Vehicles at Slough from August 1963/64, supervising the development of the cars up to the completion of the first prototype, and the modifications made for them in the early part of the 1964 racing season.
Those presently concerned under John Wyer for the development and production of the vehicle include:
P. Murphy - Works Manager
Apprentice toolmaker at Seimens Bros of Woolwich. 2 years in the R.A.F. Tool designer at Cape Asbestos and S Smith & Sons. Chief designer at John A Smith of London and Wolverhampton, Design Consultants, Chief Tool Designer and Methods Engineer at Marconi, Director of Ascott-Murphy, Hainault, Design and Production Engineering Consultants.
L. Bailey -Chief Engineer
Engineering apprentice at Austin Motor Co. Development Engineer in E R A, Engine Designer at Daimler and Rover. Engine and Chassis designer at Austin. Chassis designer at Ford of Canada. Engine and Chassis designer at American Motors. Chassis designer at Ford of USA.
A Stafford -Supply Engineer
Trainee Dunlop Rubber Co and later Technical Service Engineer in South Africa and New Zealand, Partner in Rootes and Chrysler dealership in New Zealand.
J. Horsman - Executive Assistant to Managing Director
M.A. (Cantab). Pupil apprentice David Brown & Sons. Development Engineer and Assistant to General Manager, Aston Martin Lagonda.
Wheelbase 95in. 2413mm
Track Front 55in. 1397mm
Rear 55in. 1397mm
Length 168in. 4265mm
Width 70in 1778mm
Height 40.5in 1028.7mm
Base of Windscreen 28.25in 717mm
Top of Windscreen 39.2in 970.3mm
Top of Steering Wheel 31.35in 796.3mm
Minimum Ground Clearance 4in 101.6mm
Weight (Oil and water, no fuel)
Front 920 lbs 414kg.
Rear 1080 lbs 486kg.
Total 2000 lbs 900kg.
The Ford GT40 employs a semi-monocoque construction of 0.024 in. (0.61 mm) steel. Hinged front and rear panel sections and doors are of reinforced fibre glass.
Later spec. following 4.2 litre original engine
Cylinders Number 8
Bore 4in 101.6mm
Stroke 2.87in 72.9mm
Displacement 289 cu in 4736 cc
Compression Ratio 10 : 1
Power and Torque
Maximum BHP [@ r.p.m.] [email protected]
Maximum Torque [@ r.p.m.] 330 lbs. ft. @ 5500
45.6 m/kg @ 5500
Carburettors 4 Weber 48 IDA
Lubrication System Capacity 8 qt [imp] - 10 qt [US] 9.1 litres
Type ZF 5 DS-25 Transaxle
Ratios Final Drive 4.22 : 1
(Optional) 3.33 : 1
Gearbox First 2.42 : 1
Second 1.47 : 1
Third 1.09 : 1
Fourth 0.96 : 1
Fifth 0.85 : 1
Reverse 3.75 : 1
Type Borg & Beck 3-Plate
Plate Diameter 7.25in 184.15mm
Front Type Girling CR
Disc diameter 11.5in 292.1mm
Rear Type Girling BR
Disc diameter 11.5in 292.1mm
Type Rack and Pinion
Ratios (Overall) 14 : 1
Turns (Lock to lock) 2.8
Turning circle diameter 37ft. 11.27m
Steering wheel diameter 15in. 381mm
Steering wheel adjustment 2in. 50.8mm
WHEELS AND TYRES
Wheels Borrani wire-spoke, light alloy
Front 6.5 x 15in.
Rear 8.00 x 15in.
Tyres (Dunlop) Front (Size) 5.5 x 15in.
Front (loaded radius) 13.00in.
Rear (Size) 7.25 x 15in.
Rear (loaded radius) 13.4in.
Tyres (Goodyear) Front (Size) 5.5 x 15in.
Front (loaded radius) 12.4in.
Rear (Size) 7.00 x 15in.
Rear (loaded radius) 13.4in.
Type of tank Goodyear Fuel Cells
Capacity of tanks 30.5 gals (imp)
37 gals (US)
Fuel pumps 2 Stewart Warner 240A
Type of radiator Marston light alloy
Total area 318.75 sq.in. 2056 cm2
Depth 3 in. 76.2mm
Type of Oil Cooler Serck light alloy
Total area 53.2 sq. in. 343 cm2
Depth 2 in. 50.8mm
Type Tuned cross over
Pipe diameter 1.5 in 38.1mm
Battery Capacity 57 A.H.
From the Ford Archives: The present purpose of Ford Advanced Vehicles is to explore within relatively limited means the problems peculiar to high-speed motoring.
To do this on a base which will have some statistical significance it was decided, once the design had reached the stage when it could be offered with complete confidence, to set up a production line for the manufacture of 50 cars.
The line is now in being at Slough where final assembly takes place of components derived from international sources.
In brief, the main steel body pressing comes as a hull from Abbey Panels Ltd of Coventry. The nose, tail and door sections are derived from Fibre Glass Engineering Ltd of Farnham, and when they have been brought together to form a complete shell the whole car is upholstered, trimmed and painted by the well known coach builders Harold Radford, who also fit up the Marchal lights imported from France.
It is received in this form at Slough for the attachment of the running gear, that is to say front and rear suspension elements, Girling disc brakes and steering mechanism. At the same time the engine from Dearborn is coupled to the transmission from the Bodensee and the whole assembly then mounted on Borrani wire wheels imported from Italy.
The cars presently being made are specifically intended for competition and a large part of the sanction has already been sold at £5,200 each. It is probable that during the year a road version with a variety of owner amenities, will be introduced to supplement the existing design.
THE 1965 to 69 Mk. III
When the GT40 went into production in 1965, Ford anticipated that some Wealthy enthusiasts would buy these spectacular cars for highway touring. A road version announced in January 1966, called "the most expensive Ford ever". Normally it was fitted with a detuned version of the Ford 289 cubic inch V8, which gave it a maximum speed of 164 mph.
From the outside the road version of the GT was identical to the racing model. The interior was much more civilised, with a speedometer, tinted door and rear glass, deep door pockets and improved seats. Flanking the transmission at the rear, under the deck lid, were two boxes for luggage. Priced at £5,900 plus purchase tax.
ALTERATION TO THE SPECIFICATION WHEN MODIFIED FOR ROAD USE
Displacement 289 cu in 4736 cc (same)
Compression Ratio 9.0 : 1>
Power and Torque
Maximum BHP @ rpm [email protected]
Type Borg and Beck 2-plate
Plate diameter 8.5 in 215.9mm
The final road version of the Ford GT40 was completed by JW Automotive Engineering at Slough, Buckinghamshire, in May 1969. It was one of seven Mk.3. road cars.
Finished in dark red with black upholstery the car was delivered to Sir Max Aitken, Chairman and Joint Managing Director of Beaverbrook Newspapers.
However the homologated Group 4 racing GT40 was available until the end of the 1969 season.
Only 7 Mk. 3’s were produced along with 31 road versions of the Ford GT40 Mk.1 homologation specials were built (some of which were converted back to race car use). Twenty-six of these were sold overseas, mainly in the United States, earning over £l00,000 in foreign currency.
GT40 Replicas, Continuation and Kit Cars
The production life of the original Ford GT40’s was less than seven years, yet in that short span it established itself as one of the immortals of motor-sport. In 1969 production of the GT40 finished. Exact production figures are difficult to determine. It seems that 111 - Mk.1 and Mk.3 GT40's were produced plus 12 - 7-litre cars - J cars and Mk.4. - though there were another ten 7-litre cars, which had been converted to Mk.2’s from existing GT40's and MK I's. That brings the total to just 123 original GT40’s produced with 38 of these built for the road.
As the price, rarity, and interest of the Ford GT40 have increased, so has the demand for more cost-effective replications. As a result, several kit cars and replicas inspired by the Ford GT40 have come and gone over the years. Clones such as these are of varying quality and are generally intended for assembly by the enthusiast in a home workshop or garage. There are three alternatives to the kit car approach, namely Continuation car| models (exact and licensed replicas true to the original GT40), Modernizations (replicas with upgraded components, ergonomics & trim for improved usability, drivability and performance), and Tribute cars (look alike cars that are styled after the original but aren’t exact replicas).
*Fiberfab, Aztec: The first original 1964 Ford GT prototypes were lovely but lethal. The body had no tail spoiler and the nose was bereft of a spoiler or special shaping that could have produced needed down force. However, photos of the upcoming challenger had been flooding automotive magazines ever since the first mock-up was completed, so every car enthusiast knew what it would look like. Fiberfab was a fledgling kit car manufacturer, based in California, that launched a small sports car based on VW running gear, and they figured the new Ford GT had styling that enthusiasts would crave. The Fiberfab Aztec came out in 1964 and, although not an exact replica, it mimicked the lines of the first Ford GT. The Aztec was a huge success by kit car standards, with hundreds, perhaps thousands, sold. They are seldom thought of as Ford GT replicas, since few today remember the first Ford GT prototypes that well.
*Fiberfab Aztec II: When the Aztec began to fade in popularity, Fiberfab replaced it with an upgraded version, the Aztec II. This looked a little more Ford GT-like, with a tail spoiler and a longer nose. A gentleman by the name of Noel Johnson, who was an early employee of Fiberfab and the last General Manager (and part owner) of it's manufacturing facility,said that Fiberfab began in 1964. There was a two seat fiberglas sportscar known as the Devin, a neat little car, but one which required considerable work to make it "seamless with it's chassis. The car was not made by Fiberab, but Fiberfabs founder, Mr. Goodwin, liked the concept and some of it's features. The Fiberfab Aztec and Aztec II, was the direct ancestor of the Valkyrie and the Avenger (which appeared shortly after the Valkyrie model was introduced).
*Fiberfab Avenger GT: The Avenger GT was a kit-car designed and manufactured in the USA, starting in 1966. The car was manufactured by Fiberfab, a company founded by Warren “Bud” Goodwin and was the successor to the Aztec. The car was styled to resemble the Ford GT of racing fame; however, it wasn't a Ford GT40 replica, instead was heavily influenced by the MkI and MkIII styling. They utilized quad headlamps and a longer tail similar to the MkIII to cover the rear engine. The Avenger GT came in two models, the Avenger GT-12, and the Avenger GT-15. The GT-12 was designed to be assembled by the owner, using parts salvaged from other cars, most often, a VW Beetle. The GT-15 was similar, but utilized a tube frame chassis, designed to accept suspension and drivetrain components for a Chevrolet Corvair. The GT-12 is the most common. Originally, one could take a VW Beetle, and a $700 GT-12 body kit, and with quite a bit of work and some money spent on hardware, custom exhaust, gauges etc, and end up with a great looking sports car. The GT-12 weighed about 500 pounds less than the Beetle. The lowered weight and improved aerodynamics boosted the fuel mileage and performance. The weight reduction was equivalent to adding approximately 30% more power. Of course the lower weight and center of gravity, meant it would out corner and out stop the Beetle as well. As a result, thousands of Fiberfab Avengers were sold in the 1960s and 1970s. All models had a later version designated with an X, e.g. Avenger GT-12X. The X models had minor body differences, usually with a chin spoiler. Rear glass is from a 1965, 66 Ford Mustang 2+2 Fastback. The Windshield is from a 1965-69 Chevy Corvair Monza or Corsa. Side windows are custom made. Some use Plexiglass or Lexan (polycarbonate - impact resistant). Originally there were two other choices. One was a single piece side window which Fiberfab supplied, it was custom glass but the original molds are lost. The other way is a window/wind-wing combo, using a wind-wing from a 65 Mustang in combination with a 1966 Ford LTD door glass and a regulator from a VW Karman Ghia. This is the type that the original Fiberfab manuals, gave instructions for.
There are long door cars, and short door cars. The long door reaches all the way to the bottom of the car body and is a bit wider. The short door (early) car, has a rocker panel below the door. Rear taillights are custom; however, some used early Mustang or Maverick taillight units.
*Fiberfab Valkyrie: Early issues of Dune Buggies and Hot VWs Magazine, had articles on the Valkyrie, made by Fiberfab in 1966. Here was a tubular space frame chassis, carrying the 427 Chevy big-block engine, mated to a 5 speed ZF Transaxle, and wrapped with the Avenger body except that it had a shorter tail more similar the the Mk1; since, it was a mid-engine car and did not need to cover a rear engine layout. The car had Hurst-Airheart disc brakes at all four corners, augmented by a drag chute "for primary braking at speed in excess of 140 M.P.H. Valkyries were made as both kits and turnkey complete cars. Most Valkyries made use of Corvair transmission and differential (transaxle) and either a Ford or Chevy V8s, some have ZFG 5 speed transaxles.
*Kellison GT40K: Kellison built the first semi-accurate clone of the Ford GT in the mid-1960s. Called the GT40K, it wasn't an exact replica but looked fairly close. Most were built to go on VW floor pans, but a few came with tube frames mounting V-8s bolted to Corvair transaxles. In the early 1990s, the old Kellison GT40K body design was used on kits built by LA Exotics. These used small-block Fords with Porsche 914 transaxles and Thunderbird rear suspension pieces. And in the late 1990s T-3, a kit car company in Colorado, introduced a similar budget kit. Neither is still in production.
Great Britain launched the current crop of more accurate Ford GT clones. One of the first high-quality English replicas was the GT40 Mk V, sold by Safir Engineering beginning in the early 1980s.
*Safir GT Mk I: Safir obtained the rights to build Ford GT Mk I replicas from John Wyer's partner John Willment and fabricated steel monocoque chassis similar to the original. Safir was licensed to continue using chassis numbers in the same sequence as the original Ford GTs. Five Mk II versions were also constructed with Ford big-blocks, plus one aluminium-chassis roadster. Due to their high price, only 40 Safirs were built.
*KVA GT40: KVA came out with its GT40 kit in 1982. The first true replica of the Ford GT40 in England was made by the Ford engineer Ken Vincent Atwell, who took a mould from a road going original GT40 Mk3 when he worked for Ford of England, installing an XR3 four cylinder engine & gearbox and then later marketed as the KVA GT40 Mk 3 and which was later produced in the preferred Mk.1 format. Ken was the director of Ford Motorsport and his KVA GT40 was manufactured with Ford's approval at Ford Motorsport Division (Ford Swansea), utilizing many GT40 parts, including GRP bodywork.
Ford had asked Ken to help with the restoration of their-own Mk. 3 car that had been involved in a filming accident. As there was no budget for the restoration, Ken agreed to their request, doing the work in his home workshop with the proviso that he was allowed to take moulds off the body panels, which he would use to construct his own car (replica). He designed a space frame/semi ladder type chassis which turned out to exceed the required torsional strength and by late 1982 his first, blood red KVA ‘Mk 3’ GT40 ‘replica’ was complete and was displayed by Ford in the reception area of their Swansea plant. This car used Ford based suspension, a Ford CVH 1.6 litre engine and VW Variant transaxle.
Larger engines like the Ford 2.8 litre V6 or 289 CID V8 with ZF or Renault 30 transaxles were used. KVA was sold to a US firm and is now produced as a ready to go car by American GT. They made replicas of the popular Mk I and the only Mk III replica ever sold. Most GT replicas that followed were taken off of KVA bodies. The first KVA kits were very basic, consisting of a body, a frame, and a list of parts to find on your own. Ken’s KVA GT40 Mk3 appeared in 1982.
Atwell was perfectly placed as he was employed by the Ford Motor Company and was given permission to take a mould off the genuine Mk 3 that Ford stored at Swansea. After a while people got to hear about it and before long Ken was persuaded to offer kits. He used a tubular steel spaceframe that was designed to accept humble Ford Cortina mechanicals, a Beetle gearbox and the option of engines from Ford CVH right up to Rover V8. Atwell soon discovered though that enthusiasts didn't want the long-tail Mk3, what they wanted was the Le Mans legend Mk1 and by 1984 he was selling this option too.
Howard Walker of “Motor Magazine” test drove the car and wrote a very complementary article in the October 1983 issue. The front page spread and photographs created a lot of interest. With Ford’s blessing, Ken formed a small company, KVA, and started marketing kits that could be built up as replicas. Ken continued his full time work as Senior Engineer at Ford and as this proved quite stressful, his wife Margaret stepped in run the business. Margaret proved a very capable manager for the KVA business and continued until she retired in 1994 after selling the business to Jules Hoffman of Integrity Motors in Florida USA. The kit was continually improved.
It wasn't long before KVA agents GTD were also selling their own developed KVA shell as a GTD40, and if Ken Atwell was the father of the GT40 replica it was Ray Christopher and team who picked up the baton and carried it towards a commercial path. KVA-licensed kits were built and sold in the U.S. by Integrity Coach Works and Sabre Automotive in the 1990s. Most had Porsche 911 transaxles. In the late 1980s, the English Dax kit car company had also sold GT kits based on KVA bodies.
Through a phase of using Jaguar suspension in a “B” type chassis, to the use of wishbone suspension both front and rear in the “C” type chassis, the kit produced a car which, to a large extent, replicated the original suspension design. Customers included Ford Motor Co at Dagenham, Lord Trotman, chief of Ford worldwide, GTD, Hightech Welding, Thomas Hermson in Germany, RML Racing, Dee Type in the UK, ERA in the US, Dax kit cars and Ray Mallock as well as original Ford GT40 owners who purchased body parts.
Over 400 of these kits were sold during the twelve-year operation of KVA. Jigs and moulds were also supplied to other countries including South Africa where GT40 replication continues to this day. During the period from the mid eighties till 1994, many rivals started building GT40 cars, in many cases copying Ken’s design.
Ken Atwell is therefore considered the ‘father’ of GT40 replication.
*GTD40 MkI and MkII: Ford GT kits were sold by GT Developments, who built both Mk I and Mk II versions in the early 1990s. These used Ford, Chevy, or Rover V-8 engines and Renault transaxles. This kit was also sold as the GTR40 by GT Reproductions in Canada.
*Tornado Sports Cars TS40:Another Brit kit was built by Tornado Sports Cars, which sold its TS40 kits through an American division in the late 1990s. It used a steel tube space frame with Ford, Chevy, or Rover engines and Renault transaxles. The most recent British kit to be imported is built by MDA in Mk I and Mk II form*Sbarro GT40: From Switzerland came the most contentious GT clones, built by eccentric stylist Franco Sbarro. These look quite convincing and some had a number of original Ford GT parts. This has lead to much confusion concerning the percentage of these cars.
*Concept GT: Awesome Imports offered the Concept GT from New Zealand. Imported to the U.S. in the early 1990s, it had a semi-monocoque steel chassis with Ford V-8s and ZF transaxles. It was followed in the early 2000s by the Roaring Forties kit, featuring an Mk I body and a space-frame chassis. Early ones had Audi transaxles.
*C.A.V. GT: California Advanced Vehicles (C.A.V.) sold a GT in the early 2000s based on the English GTD40 kit, but built in South Africa. They were sold in turnkey-minus form. Recently, South African-based Superformance has introduced extremely accurate SPFGT Mk I and II replicas that are also sold in turnkey-minus form.
Renewed Interest in America
Ford GT kit fever hit the American kit car industry in the late 1980s. One of the first kits was from ERA.
*ERA GT40 MkI and MkII: ERA built visually exacting replicas of Mk Is (including the flared-wheel versions run by the Wyer team) and later added clones of the Ford GT Mk II as well. The ERA replicas have monocoque chassis, ZF transaxles, and are still in production.
*Lone Star LS40: Lone Star Classics built a single prototype of a V-8 Ford GT replica in 1997. The LS-40 had a strong tubular chassis, a Ford 302, and a Porsche transaxle. It was longer and wider than original to increase interior room, but the project was cancelled due to cost. Lone Star has recently been experimenting with a new, shorter LS-40 kit based on Ford Focus running gear.
*Fiero GT40: Pontiac Fiero-based GT replicas have a small following. North American Fiberglass developed one of the first in the 1990s. These were built on standard-length Fiero chassis with normal-looking GT noses and tails, but the abbreviated center section keeps them from fooling experts. Auto Sport Performance Products (ASPP) in Arizona later inherited the NAF kits. A similar kit, the GT4T, is now offered by V-8 Archie.
*Fiberfab US Valkyrie: A new company has recently been formed. This company began producing new Valkyries for the 2004 Model year. It is not affiliated with the Fiberfab management of the past. The Valkyrie is being reproduced under the new Fiberfab US name.