Photo Credit: Superformance.com

Everyone here knows the hollowed story of Ford in the 1960's and their victories at Le Mans. What some people might not know perhaps is that the original MkI was designed not by American engineers but English. Under John Wyer the ex head of Aston Martin racing they created the original Ford GT40.

That being said under John Wyer the GT40 program was also somewhat of a laughing stock. They were unable to finish at two of the most important races of the year Le Mans and the 1000km of Nurburgring. Henery Ford II was so upset with the results that he relinquished control from Wyer and sent the Gt40s directly to Carroll Shelby. They left Europe so fast that Wyer didn't even have time to clean the cars after their final race.

Once they arrived at Carroll's shop in Venice in 1964 the team got to work on designing the cars for the 1965 season. Right out of the gate the Gt40's with new and improved engines under Shelby's guidance won the 12 hours of Sebring. It wasn't until the 1966 season that the Gt40s truly became a dominate force. Finishing 1-2-3 and Le Mans in the 7.0 MkII. The consecutive year again under the guidance of Shelby the MkIV won Le Mans (The only all American built effort to ever win.) In 1968 and 1969 the Ford GT40 would take first places at Le Mans under the guidance of John Wyer in the MkI.

Advertisement

The question becomes was the GT40 really one of America's greatest cars or are Americans being unfair and selfish and not giving the English enough credit in the final design? Is the car English? Or should the two countries auto enthusiast stop bickering about it and just accept it was an excellent group effort that achieved greatness? Not to sway opinion but my personal belief was that if it wasn't for American involvement the GT40 would have just been a laughing stock and a small blip in racing history. Maybe you can sway my opinion.