An extremely rare Ford GT Roadster could fetch as much as $USD10 million ($AUD14.5 million) when it goes up for auction in the US next month.
This 1965 Ford GT Competition Prototype Roadster was one of 12 pre-production GT40s made, of which five were Roadsters, and only three Roadsters are known to have survived. This car – chassis GT/109 – is the only Ford GT Roadster to have raced at Le Mans.
It was originally built by Ford Advanced Vehicles in England for the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Ford France entering the car and Carrol Shelby managing the team. The vehicle broke down on the eleventh lap with a gearbox failure.
GT/109, as it's known, was sent back to the Shelby American workshop in California where it was rebuilt. The car became a test-bed for both road and race components over the next three years, including being fitted with a 4-cam Indianapolis engine.
In 1968 the car was spotted in a Ford warehouse in Detroit by Hollywood stuntman Dean Jeffries, who then purchased it. Known in the Southern California customisers scene of the era, Jeffries is credited as having painted 'Little Bastard' on James Dean's Porsche 550 Spyder.
Jeffries owned the Ford GT Roadster until his death in 2013. The founder of Mecum Auctions, Dana Mecum, purchased the car from Jeffries' son in the same year and commissioned a concours restoration.
Chassis numbers GT/108 and GT/111 both survive, with the latter vehicle having been driven at the Phillip Island Classic in 2017.
The Ford GT Roadster, GT/109, will be auctioned by Mecum in the US on 11 July 2020, with the auction house estimating the car will attract between $USD7,500,000 and $USD10,000,000.