1966 Ford GT40 P/1028 Ford PR
1966 Ford GT40 P/1028 Ford PR

First Ford GT40 Road Car in North America

A 1966 Ford GT40 Mark I, chassis number P/1028, will be offered for sale by Mecum Auctions at their 2016 Monterey ‘Daytime Auction’, to be held August 18-20 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel in California during Pebble Beach Classic Car Week.

Built at the Ford Advanced Vehicles factory in Slough, Buckinghamshire, England, P/1028 was the first road car delivered to North America. When P/1028 landed at the Ford Division headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, it was briefly used as a test and evaluation car on Ford’s test track. Shortly after, it served as Ford North America’s official Promotional GT40.

In many ways, these early road cars were production racing coupes slightly converted for the street, but they still carried many of their competition features, including only driver-side seat support, two fuel pressure gauges, battery-mount brackets in passenger foot well, lighter fiberglass, etc. At the same time, they developed P/1028 to be as comfortable and luxurious as possible to show the U.S. market, and it is the only GT40 outfitted this way. Fully optioned and fitted with leather upholstery and trim, padded dash, air conditioning, centered rearview mirror, heated windscreen and luggage boxes. In addition, the build sheet noted “undersealed chassis” and a “High Performance” 289 with a single Holley 4-barrel carburetor and Sunbeam Tiger air cleaner and rated at a healthy 335 HP. Using the same ZF 5-speed gearbox as the race GT40s, the road cars employed special exhaust silencers, softer brake pads and shock absorbers that were 25-percent softer than the race units. Making these road cars much more suitable for the street, still, the road coupes were capable of astounding performance, very similar to the production racing coupes.

Before P/1028 left Ford to go on its promotional tour, a series of photos were taken at Ford’s styling studio dated 3/9/1966 showing just more than 1,000 miles on the odometer. The first stop on the promotional tour was to the 1966 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida. It was paraded around the event all weekend and was parked in the pit lane prior to the race, for spectators to get a closer look. After Sebring, the GT40 traveled through the United States to dealerships, car shows and exhibits. In the July edition of “Playboy” magazine, P/1028 appeared in a four-page spread discussing the car. Its next magazine appearance was in “Mechanix Illustrated,” September 1966, where Tom McCahill tested the GT40 at Ford’s test track in Dearborn.

After six months of traveling around the United States, P/1028 was sent the Comstock Racing in Toronto Canada to continue its promotional outings in Canada. Comstock Racing was Canada’s most successful racing team and had a great relationship with Ford and Shelby. On one occasion, Ken Miles was loaned to Comstock to race the group’s 289 Cobra at Mosport. P/1028 followed around Comstock’s Racing Coupe P/1037, and the rest of the Comstock racing team for the remainder of the 1966 season, traveling to tracks like St. Jovite, Mosport, Westwood, Watkins Glen and more. There is film of Eppie Wietzes driving P/1028 around St. Jovite during the Can-Am weekend, where it was used as the pace car.

After the 1966 season ended in Canada, P/1028 was shipped to Kar-Kraft, painted blue and was used as a Ford VIP car for Ford Executive Fran Hernandez. Sometime in 1967, P/1028 was finally sold to its first owner David Tallaksen a former 12 Hours or Sebring class winner. By 1969, the GT40 made its way to Monterey Historics founder Steve Earl and was featured in “Sports Car Graphic” magazine. After spending time with another California owner, P/1028 was purchased by the Schroeder family of Burbank in 1975. During their stewardship, the car was relatively frequently shared with the public. It was repainted in the famous Blue-and-Orange Gulf livery for a Gulf television ad in 1981 and was then displayed at the Justice Brothers Racing Car Museum in Duarte, California. It was exhibited at the 2003 Monterey Historic Races marking Ford’s Centennial.

After nearly 40 years of ownership, P/1028 was sold and a complete ground-up restoration was started. After completely disassembling the car, everyone was happy to find an extremely original car, the way an approximate 11,000 original mile car with an undersealed chassis should be. The original metallichrome silver paint was found under the Gulf, and dark blue layers of paint, almost all of the hard-to-find original pieces that came off the car for the Gulf commercial came with the car in boxes, and as Ronnie Spain states, “it is impossible to get a cleaner bill of health than this as far as originality of a GT40 chassis is concerned.”

With the help of Ronnie Spain, Mark Allen, Jay Cushman and Graham Endeacott, Legendary Motorcar was able to finish P/1028 to an extremely high level of detail, sourcing as many original parts, pieces and material as possible. Today, P/1028 looks the same way it rolled down to the pits in Sebring 50 years ago. Between the historical significance, originality and quality of restoration, P/1028 is certainly one of the most important road-going GT40s in existence, and it is publicly for sale for the first time in its life.

This 1966 Ford GT40 is available at the upcoming Mecum Monterey sale, scheduled for August 18-20, 2016 during Monterey Classic Car Week. For more information, visit Mecum.com.

1966 Ford GT40 Mark I – Highlights

  • GT40 no. P/1028
  • First road car delivered to North America
  • Ford test and evaluation car
  • Ford North America Public Relations car
  • Early development road specification GT40
  • Same family owned for nearly 40 years
  • The only GT40 road car delivered from new with air conditioning, leather trim, luggage boxes, undersealed chassis and painted with a special finish
  • 11,000 original miles
  • 289 CI V-8 engine
  • 5-speed manual transmission
  • Comprehensive four-year restoration finished in 2016
  • Correct NOS parts
  • Documented by GT40 historian Ronnie Spain

[Source: Mecum Auctions]

Show Comments (7)

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  1. Atlantan Dave Tallakson once told me of driving his XK-SS home from Sebring and having a gas station attendant look under the car for a leak after pumping 40 gallons. I never knew he had this, though.

  2. I am certain that I saw this GT 40 at the British Motor Show at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal back in the sixties when the car was blue.

  3. As a teenager I also saw that car at the British Car Show at the Queen Elizabeth hotel in Montreal, then much later I remember seeing the car parked, open and unlocked, covered in snow and road grime, very late one winter night at the Place 100 shopping centre in Laval and trying to get the other neighborhood kids not to get in or mess with anything, (the gear lever knob had already been stolen). I thought it was the most beautiful car I’d ever seen and couldn’t imagine why it had been left there.
    I always wondered what happened to it and didn’t know that they were so very rare. It’s nice to know that it is still here and in such good condition.

    1. Hi! I lived in Cartierville just across the river from Laval. If I had known the GT 40 was at Place 100 I would have been on my bike and across the bridge in no time looking for the car. All my friends and I were car crazy and still are. I remember chasing an AC Cobra 289 down the street a few times trying to find where the owner lived. It took a while but we did find it. We did see the Cobra at Le Circuit one summer. I have often wondered where that car is now. I was at the race at Le Circuit shown in the article but I don’t remember seeing the GT 40 parked beside the track. I certainly remember the Comstock GT40. Those were great days. I wonder do teenage boys still chase after sports cars.
      It is funny that you mentioned the gearshift knob. I can’t remember sitting in the Ford at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel but you were allowed to sit in all the other cars, even the Rolls. All of the gear knobs were gone. Whether the dealers removed them or the visitors stole them I do not know. I thought it was in poor taste either way.

      1. Small world, funny, but I was also the kid in the neighborhood that chased down cool cars. Once a gearhead, always a gearhead! I never saw that GT 40 again, but tracked down a very cool Iso, a pretty SL 190, and a number of 427 Vettes and various Hemi powered Chryslers, mostly in and around Havre des Isle, and Laval sur la Lac.
        With regards to the missing gear knobs at the auto show, sad to say but that was and still is common practice for car shows…..they get ripped off.