Sick of Ferrari dominating the sports racing scene and upset at the rejection by Enzo Ferrari of a deal to acquire Ferrari, Henry Ford decided to go all out and build a car to beat Ferrari at the Le Mans 24 hours. The result was the legendary Ford GT40.
Original GT40 cars are extremely rare and valuable. Prices start around $6,000,000, the 1966 Le Mans winning car is worth in excess of $20,000,000. No fear, building a very accurate replica is very achievable for most people with reasonable hands on ability.
As kit cars go, the GT40 is one of the only cars you can build that's also a good investment. Typically you'll spend around £22,000 - £30,000 building it, and resale prices are £50,000+ and even 25+ year old examples requiring work will sell for £35,000+.
GT Forte was established to help make building a GT40 more accessible for anyone who wanted to build a decent replica without having to have budgets in excess of the average person.
Original I considered using cheap donor parts like the Rover V8 engine, but, on further research I realised these were no cheaper to buy and rebuild than a genuine Ford 302 small block motor, and yet the resale value of the car is considerably more with the Ford V8. For example certain old GT40 replicas were £15,000 more with a Ford than a Rover, and yet the build cost difference is negligible.
So after discussing with many GT40 builders what issues they had an what features of the original cars were important to them, I designed the GTs40 replica kit we offer for sale today.
How do you start building your own?
There are several options on how to start the project. The car has been designed to make it accessible and to allow people to make as much or little of a project as they feel comfortable with.
We offer the chassis as a flat packed laser cut tube kit. This is currently proving very popular. Essentially it's like a giant puzzle, the tubes are all accurately cut on a special laser cutting machine with an accuracy of +/- 0.1mm and each tube has locating features similar to puzzle pieces so that they slot together with neighbouring tubes. The tubes require tack welding to hold them in place, and then fully welding when the complete chassis structure is all together. We've sold around 25 such kits, and to all types of people with a range of experiences with welding. Even first time welders are succeeding in doing a good job of constructing the chassis.
Starting at this point not only allows you to start for a low initial outlay, it also makes more of the project, you really are constructing the car yourself. For those with a modest budget you can buy parts each month to suit your pocket and keep the project rolling on. The only really big 1 off outlay would be the bodywork, but that can come towards the end of the project if need be.
Another popular way to start the build, is to buy our deluxe starter kit. This kit is essentially everything you need to build a rolling chassis with a body on. You will need the donor car parts or to buy the bespoke new replacement donor parts that we offer. In this kit the chassis is already welded together and powder coated, so you are starting the assembly straight away.
The laser cut flat packed chassis is £950 and the deluxe starter kit as described above is £8,000. www.gtforte.co.uk
What do you need to build a GT40?
You'll need somewhere to build it obviously, but, a lot of builders make do with a single garage, a larger workspace if possible is ideal if you happen to have it. You'll need tools, but, a typical DIY tool set of spanner, screw drivers, pliers and sockets etc will cover most of what you'll need. When cladding the chassis in aluminium sheet you'll need a riveter, a pneumatic one ideally as your hands will soon hurt if using a traditional hand riveter. However items like this can easily be borrowed or hired when needed.
In terms of skills, you'll learn most of what you need as you go along. The great thing with any kit car is there are plenty or skilled and knowledgeable people around to give you advice and lend a hand. If you put up shelves at home, do DIY or service your own car you'll find the project is within your ability.
We have an active Facebook page, Drivetribe account and there's a massive GT40s forum and owners club with regional meets that you can visit and get help and advice from. All our customers get access to a shared online Dropbox folder, where you'll find the build manual and I post useful documents and drawings in response to customer questions. Customers are encouraged to do the same with things they find out, and do to their cars in order to help others in the community of builders.
Drivetribe - GT40 Builders - www.drivetribe.com
Twitter - @gt_forte - www.twitter.com