The Ultimate American Used Car: 1967 Ford GT40

1967 Ford GT40

America’s first real supercar.

One of America’s favorite big-screen auto-racing heroes.

The most expensive American car ever sold.

Thanks to some history with the one and only Steve McQueen, a 1967 Ford GT40 has sold for $11 million, making it the most expensive car ever built here in the land of recliners and football.

At the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, RM auctioneers got rid of the ultra-rare Ford GT40 for such a high price thanks to bidders pushing the sales price in the final minutes in their attempts to own the car used in the filming of Steve McQueen’s movie “Le Mans.”

1967 Ford GT40, rearTypically, cars sold for such high amounts are lovingly cared-for originals or perfectly restored one-of-a-kinds. Not so with this GT40. Check out what Top Gear said about the car and its preparations for the movie:

McQueen wanted scenes to be filmed at actual race speeds, y’see. So he bought himself the fastest car known to America, lopped off the roof, then stuck a camera out of the top, mounting it in the spare tyre well.

The producers made several runs up and down the pit lanes prior to the race to check everything was secure, then rolled the gyroscopically-stabilized, compressed air-powered, 180 degree rotating Arriflex camera, which was remotely-controlled by a dashboard-mounted TV screen.

An additional 35mm manually-rotated camera was mounted above the hacked-down passenger side door, but to work it required betesticled cameraman, Alex Barbey, to crouch alongside it in a small rotating seat. At race speed.

The scenes captured for the movie are legendary, but the car paid a heavy price. A subsequent owner put on a new roof, gave it new doors and added various other parts before the car finally ended up on the RM auction block last weekend.

Usually a used-car listing that advertises a new roof and replaced doors would hardly generate a response, but this GT40 isn’t a normal used car. In addition to the celebrity factor, the model is one of the only two surviving Ford GT40 units that is powered by a 440-hp V8 mated to a 5-speed manual transmission.

It’s exclusive and famous, which in this case translated to a cool $11 million.

If you had the money, would you invest in collectible rare cars or spend the money on something more driveable?


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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the story about this interesting car. I heard a quick news clip about the auction but didn’t realize the history.

    Yeah, if I was loaded (with cash, not booze as is normal) I’d be an enthusiastic collector. I’m always sad to see great old cars chopped up into hot rods by the local hillbillies, and much prefer seeing lovingly restored cars.

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