Ford GT40 Prototype Racing Roadster
GT/108 1965 Ford GT40
The first of only four roadsters ever to be built, GT/108 would feature the steel chassis and Ford’s 289 cubic-inch V8, the same specified for the Cobra.
There would be some subtle differences that would mark the roadster from other GT40 prototypes. From its redesigned nose to its slightly-higher intakes at the rear, it was clear the roadster was to cross the line between the track and the road. However, finished in an overall white with wide blue striping, GT/108 was by no means dull. Completed in March of 1965 and then tested at Silverstone, some very talented drivers would line up to take a turn behind the wheel of this car.
Besides being tested by Dickie Attwood and John Whitmore, the car would end up being tested around circuits in the UK and the United States by none other than Ken Miles and Carroll Shelby. Ken Miles would actually perform demonstrations with Ford’s board members on the tarmac at Los Angeles’ International Airport. Shelby, however, would chauffeur Henry Ford II. The car would even take part as a pace car for an A-C Production race. Driven by Lew Spencer, the pace car would prove as big, or bigger, a hit and would be nearly as fast as the cars it was escorting around.
By October of 1965, GT/108 had made a number of appearances at events throughout the country. It would end up at Watkins Glen at the time of the United States Grand Prix and would actually be driven on some very quick laps by the World Champion, the great Jim Clark. Legend has it it was the only time Clark ever drove a GT40 at any time.
Following this brush with greatness GT/108 would return to Michigan as a development car for Ford. Ultimately, this car would be instrumental in helping Ford to make some necessary advancements that led to victory in 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969 at Le Mans. However, GT/108 would not remain around for long. It wasn’t too long after coming to Kar Kraft in Michigan that it would be mothballed. At this time a good deal of controversy surrounded the car. U.S. Customs had a problem with the importation costs and value of the car. It seemed headed toward the same fate as GT/110 which was destroyed because of owed Customs’ duties. The car would be saved however and would remain in storage with Ford until July of 1969 when it would be sold to a Kar Kraft employee, George Sawyer.
In addition to being the very first GT40 Roadster Prototype, GT/108 remains highly original inside and out.