The ex-Alan Mann 1966 Ford GT40 Mk I that earned the most wins of any privateer GT40 will be sold at the Mecum Spring Classic Auction, held May 13-17, 2009 in Indianapolis.
The most successful private partnership in GT40 history was that of London-based Australian Paul Hawkins and the ex-Alan Mann lightweight GT40, chassis number AMGT40/2. One of five lightweight versions made for Mann by Abbey Panels, it was built on an Mk I chassis with a unique aluminum body and roof. The lower sill panels were left uncovered, exposing the reinforcing ribs underneath, the roof was narrower than earlier versions and the GT40′s attractive faired-in side intakes were replaced with scoops riveted onto slab-sided bodywork.
The car was first raced in its original Monaco Red with Gold stripes, driven to a DNF at Sebring in March 1966 by BRM Grand Prix teammates Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart, and at the April Le Mans time trials by Hill, Stewart and Paul Hawkins.
Banking on the potential of its new 427-powered Mk II for the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, Ford ordered Mann Racing to abandon the lightweights and enter Mk IIs in the French classic. The lightweights were put up for sale and AM GT40/2 was purchased in December 1966 by Paul Hawkins.
To qualify the car for Group 4, Hawkins replaced the doors and bodywork (which reappeared in England in late 2003) with conventional Mk I fiberglass pieces and grafted thin sheet steel onto the roof to blend its contours into the new panels and, more importantly, to hide the lightweight aluminum structure still in place underneath. The car began its Hawkins racing career painted in Blue with a wide White center stripe bordered in Red with matching sill stripes. It spent a brief period finished in red primer before finally receiving its well-known Red and Gold livery.
The pair immediately proved themselves a formidable team, winning races in England, France, Austria, West Germany and Holland and finishing on the podium in many more. All told, Paul Hawkins won more races in this GT40 than any other privateer in the history of the marque, always setting the pace through constant modifications that included engine displacements from 289 to 351 cubic inches.
The car saw race and road duty with subsequent owners, and spent a brief time in T.A. “Bob” Roberts’ famous Midland Motor Museum. In June 1982 it was sold via Adrian Hamilton to George Stauffer who, after repainting the car its present Blue with White center stripe, raced it in several historical events including a homecoming to Sebring in 1983. It was then purchased by Jack Launtz of Kane, Pennsylvania in 1985 and made subsequent appearances at SAAC 11 in Dearborn 1986, the 25th Anniversary GT40 Reunion at Watkins Glen in 1989 and the 30th Anniversary GT40 Reunion at Road America in 1994. It was featured in 1990 in Fabulous Mustangs and Exotic Fords and appears in “50 Years of Classic Cars” by Jonathan Wood.
AM GT40/2 also won first in class in the Popular Vote at the SAAC 25th Anniversary Convention, Lime Rock 2000, and was displayed at the October, 2001 Ford Racing Centennial held in Dearborn.
The most successful and famous privately raced GT40 of all, AM GT40/2 is powered by a 289 fitted with four Weber 2-barrel downdraft carburetors and backed with a ZF 5-speed gearbox. It remains one of the most historically significant GT40 race cars ever to carry the checkered flag.
Alan Mann Ford GT40 Mk I Highlights:
- The famous Paul Hawkins GT40 Mk. I
- The most wins of any privateer GT40 in racing history
- Second of five special lightweight GT40s built for Alan Mann Racing
- Displayed in the Midland Motor Museum
- Several SAAC appearances and awards
- Once part of the Stauffer Collection
- Popular historic race participant
[Source: Mecum Auction]