dates : 20th March 2005
24th March 2005
Ford’s GT40 will forever be
known as the car that took on Ferrari at Le Mans and finally
beat the Italian stallions at their own game.
Legend has it that Henry Ford the Second made an offer to buy
Ferrari in the early 1960s, and when the great Enzo Ferrari
refused, Ford decided to build his own racing car, as part of
a Total Performance marketing campaign.
Making its debut in 1964, it would take another two seasons
before the Ford GT40 would win Le Mans.
These cars are South African replicas of the famous Ford
racers, known as Bailey Edwards GT40s, and built on the East
Rand by Peter Bailey.
Peter races one of his GT40s, which is so low he needs a
bubble in the roof to clear his helmet!
Mike Nel recently took delivery of his blue and orange car.
This is painted in the famous Gulf colours, with the race
number six of GT40 Chassis Number 1075.
This was the GT40 which won Le Mans twice, in the hands of
Jackie Ickx and Jackie Oliver in 1968 and 1969.
Only a 133 genuine Ford GT40s were built between 1964 and
It’s said that the car was originally titled a Ford GT, and
the full name came from the fact that it was just under forty
The original GT40s used an aluminium monocoque chassis, but
the Bailey replicas are constructed of a steel space frame
clad in aluminum to look like the originals.
All the detail components, ducting, piping, tubing, are in
their correct places, as close to the originals as possible.
Peter Bailey has built four cars so far and is planning an
export programme to the United States.
The term "kit car" does not do any justice to these
machines. Every component is hand-fabricated and machined at
Bailey’s workshop, and the design work of the suspension,
following closely to the original cars, is also his.
There are no scrapyard mix and match parts on this car. It's
designed and created as a thoroughbred racer, just like the
original cars were.
The attention to detail is endless, with items like the
fuel-filler caps and window-latches milled from solid
Famous brand names from a famous era. Mike Nel, owner of the
Team Gulf replica, even went to the trouble of having all the
original racing decals of the 1969 winning car remade for his
A Ford GT40 sounds like no other American V8 thanks to its
unique snake- park exhaust manifold. One of the attractive
aspects of building a Ford GT40 replica is that Ford V8
engines as used in the originals are still available in their
This engine produces about 475 horsepower, or 356 kiloWatts.
The gearbox used is from a Porsche 944, as these cars used
gearboxes mounted at the rear, making it ideal for a mid-engined
A car like Peter Bailey’s or Mike Nel’s cost in the region
of R500 000, which is a lot of money for what is essentially a
club racer. But these cars are street legal, believe it or
not, and when run on the road, the racing slicks are simply
swapped for treaded street tyres.
When you consider a genuine GT40 is worth at least R6-million
today, the Bailey Edwards car seems like a bargain!
Car Torque is