Shelby GT40 anniversary | Showpiece of the Week


Don't panic - this piece won't insult your intelligence with yet another regaling of the GT40 story. You know the history, the reason for being, the outstanding success and the enviable legacy. You'll know that's been harnessed by Ford in the 21st century with two sensational supercars, and you'll also know the GT40 is perhaps one of the most replica'd vehicles in the entire world - with some a lot better done than others.

This car is not a GT40. Rather it's a Shelby GT40 Le Mans Edition, one of 20 cars built by Shelby in America three years ago to mark 50 years since the first GT40 victory at La Sarthe. That Shelby bit is of course crucially important, meaning this car could use a continuation chassis, built on the original GT40's steel monocoque. Beyond some welcome concessions to modernity - Bilstein dampers, H&R springs, Wilwood brakes and air conditioning - this is an exact recreation of Bruce McLaren's 1966 car. Which is pretty cool. Handily for buyers based in the UK, that even extends to this being right-hand drive, with that evocative shifter nestled between seat and door.


For those unwilling to carry their 'Shelby American Issued Manufacturer's Statement of Origin for 1966', there are clues that this GT40 isn't just any recreation. There are Shelby 50th Anniversary badges, plaques and sill covers, with an unerringly faithful interior evocation - see the Moto Lita wheel, Smiths' dials and the riveted seats.

Short of paying many millions of pounds for an original, then, this Shelby car is as close as you'll get to an authentic GT40 experience in 2019. Indeed, it could well be better to drive than an original with those hardware upgrades. Let's not forget, either, that this is a 7.0-litre, V8, mind-engined, rear-wheel drive manual sports car - this is surely going to deliver the sort of visceral thrills, overwhelming excitement and, to be frank, bullish intimidation that just won't be found in anything much newer. You'll be let off for not going full Kenny Brack on a track day, although total sensory overload is all but guaranteed.


And it's a GT40, built by Carroll Shelby's company. Probably the most famous Ford ever produced (there's a discussion for another day), one of the best known Le Mans winners in history and a car whose popularity shows no signs of waning - there really is nothing like a GT40. It was desirable 10 years ago, it'll be desirable 10 years in the future and for as long as cars are allowed; there are precious few other things on four wheels with the timeless appeal, unique motorsport status and instant recognisability of a GT40.

That this car will deliver that experience with some considerable authenticity, for a price a fraction of an original, makes it an immensely intriguing prospect. Amazing it remains on delivery mileage, so it's effectively still a brand new one of the 20 produced (it's number four, in case you were wondering). On track, on road or - dare it be said - in a collection, the Shelby GT40 would fit and reward just superbly. And while £600k is hardly some bargain basement replica price, there's a legitimacy to a Shelby car that no others will have - and which is very rare to come across. Don't forget, either, that £550k is what a 911 GT3 RS could cost - no contest, really, is there?

See the full advert here.







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Comments (14) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Nerdherder 27 May 2019

    DAYUMN. Quite a lot of want going on here.

    P.s; “replica’d“?

  • swisstoni 27 May 2019

    Someone’s on a percentage.

  • griffchris 27 May 2019

    This is a Superformance GT40 with some Shelby plaques glued on. You can buy a new one, UK registered and IVA'd, for around £160k (with a 12 month wait admittedly) so that's quite some mark-up.

  • Augustus Windsock 27 May 2019

    griffchris said:
    This is a Superformance GT40 with some Shelby plaques glued on. You can buy a new one, UK registered and IVA'd, for around £160k (with a 12 month wait admittedly) so that's quite some mark-up.
    I’m sorry, where does the article say it’s a Superformance car?
    The article and advert clearly say it’s a Shelby.
    If it were the Superformance version then yes it would be £150k or whatever but unless I’ve read it incorrectly, it isn’t.
    I’m sure that in the real world there would be little difference between them (and don’t Superformance trumpet the fact that “more than 85% of all the component parts are interchangeable with the original cars', including the entire ' monocoque' ...”?) but THE difference is that this is a Shelby continuation, which means a lot to certain people.
    Me? I’d be more than happy with the Superformance car (in fact there’s a white Daytona Coupe somewhere near me, which I see sporadically but have never got to talk to the owner)

  • bloomen 27 May 2019

    Augustus Windsock said:
    I’m sorry, where does the article say it’s a Superformance car?
    The article and advert clearly say it’s a Shelby.
    https://www.topgear.com/car-news/shelby-and-superformances-replica-gt40-and-you-need-it-now#1

    https://www.topspeed.com/cars/ford/2016-superforma...

    "We’re very excited to release this special edition GT40 celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Le Mans victory," said Superformance CEO, Lance Stander. "Having known Carroll Shelby personally, we know how proud he was of this victory and can’t think of a better way to commemorate it."

    There ya go. Just saved you £450,000.

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