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Lot 434: Ford GT40

Quail Lodge Sale, Bonhams (16 August 2012)

* 302-cid V8 * Gurney-Weslake heads with 48IDA Webers * Fully authenticated by Ronnie Spain * Ex-Geneva Auto Show Car * Extensive international race record * Restored by Phil Reilly * Proven vintage race car * Offered from the Tom Armstrong Collection * Impressive spares package Ford GT40 P '1033' was shipped to Geneva, Switzerland, from the Ford Advanced Vehicles Ltd production plant at Slough, Buckinghamshire, England, on January 14th, 1966. The car was shipped unpainted and incomplete, as it was destined for the Graber coachworks, where it was to be completed, trimmed and prepared as a very special road car for Georges Filipinetti, patron of Switzerland's celebrated Scuderia Filipinetti racing team. As entered by FAV on their contemporary Production Car Record Sheet, '1033' was intended as a "Road Car. Sent with std. race engine and transmission to be changed later." Graber's work was completed early in 1967, the car finished in light metallic blue with minimal over-rider-style nose protectors, electric door windows, full leather interior and that most sensible GT40 option, air-conditioning. The car featured on the front cover of the British 'Car' magazine issue of February 1967, and was displayed at the Geneva Salon the following month. Mr Filipinetti immediately offered it for sale through Geneva Ferrari dealer Jean-Jacques Weber, who found an eager buyer in Bolivian tin millionaire Jaime Ortiz-Patino who at that time resided in Geneva. On May 5, 1967, '1033' was Swiss road registered for him as 'GE 136999'. In subsequent correspondence with premier GT40 authority Ronnie Spain, Mr Ortiz-Patino confirmed that he had driven the car quite often in Switzerland and France before having all its special trim removed and the car converted into a pure race car for his godson, Dominique Martin to drive in competition. This aspiring young French racing driver initially gained experience in the GT40 by contesting a series of minor-league national hill-climb events, as at the Col de la Faucille and at Beaujolais in 1968. He qualified for a full competition license and raced the car at Montlhery, outside Paris. Into the new year of 1969 Dominique Martin then entered '1033' for a series of major international endurance races, including the Le Mans 24-Hours. Co-driving the GT40 with the more experienced Frenchman Jean-Pierre Hanrioud, Martin appeared at the Le Mans Test Weekend on March 29-30, 1969, the still pale blue car then wearing prominent 'ZITRO' lettering across its nose, reflecting its Ortiz-Patino family sponsorship. On Italy's Liberation Day  April 25  the Martin/Hanrioud pairing raced '1033' in the Monza 1,000Kms round of that year's FIA World Championship of Makes, and finished 15th overall. Their Le Mans ambitions were foiled by a major engine failure during practice which prevented them taking the start, but on October 12, 1969, Martin and Pierre Maublanc drove the car well in the Montlhery 1,000Kms and finished ninth overall, fourth in their class. The following weekend saw '1033' contest the Hockenheim 300-Miles in Germany, again finishing ninth. Into 1970 Dominique Martin shipped the now well-developed Ford to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the opening round of the new year's World Championship series. In a preliminary 200-mile event at the Buenos Aires Autodrome on January 11, Martin retired due to transmission failure, but on January 18 placed twelfth overall in the Championship-qualifying Buenos Aires 1,000Kms there. Back in France that March, '1033' contested the public road Rallye de l'Ouest, Martin finishing second overall with navigator Chini by his side. Dominique Martin then decided to change sporting direction and the ZITRO Ford GT40  surplus to his requirements - was subsequently repainted in a non-metallic pale blue and was offered for sale via ex-Scuderia Filipinetti mechanic Michel Berney. Unfortunately, on October 26 that year while driving it between his home and garage premises, Michel Berney had the car catch fire. He escaped unscathed, but could only watch the fire take hold. The local fire brigade arrived in time to save the GT40's steel-panelled chassis virtually intact, but almost everything else within the car that would burn had burned. M. Berney subsequently stripped and cleaned the monocoque chassis and photographed it 'for the record'. Most significantly, his photos have survived and would enable Ronnie Spain to identify the surviving monocoque structure absolutely as this individual GT40  '1033'. As Mr Spain writes: "Very importantly...when the chassis was repaired in England several years later, the necessary work as told to me was the fitting of a new floor and outer sills, and a new outer roof skin". He then points out that "...apart from the roof skin, the floor and outer sills are work that has been necessary on quite a few GT40s..."  since these still-skinned monocoque cars have proved notoriously prone to corrosion. A pair of as-original perforations in this GT40's left-front tub structure are amongst other detail features which have proved unique to '1033' as now offered here. These distinctive perforations are clearly visible in M. Berney's 1970 photographs of the fire-damaged tub, and also visible in photography of the cleaned-up and painted structure in 1972 when it was subsequently owned by fellow Scuderia Filipinetti alumni Franco Sbarro. The same entirely distinctive identifying feature then appears upon photography of the same tub when celebrated Californian preparation specialist Phil Reilly began serious restoration of it  under alternative (and mistaken) chassis identity - in 1983. Meanwhile, from Sbarro the chassis had gone to legendary British racer David Piper in 1974, the Swiss description of the car claiming it to be the Filipinetti team GT40 that had burned out at Monza in 1967 (which was actually 'GT40 P/1040'). David Piper sold the car under that mistaken identity to American Paul Chandler, and the chassis was part-restored during this period by British specialists John Etheridge, Paul Weldon and Reg Chapple. Ronnie Spain observes: "The inner roof panel had sagged slightly during the fire and that minor sag is also still in the car today as further proof of its originality...". The car was then sold to new American owner Bud Romak  still mistakenly identified as '1040' - and it was entrusted to Phil Reilly for full restoration in 1983. Mr Romak subsequently enjoyed vintage racing the car for several years before deciding to sell it in 1988, when he asked Ronnie Spain to verify its true identity. Having established its absolute provenance as the ex-Martin Team ZITRO car, '1033', Mr Romak then sold the car to prominent American connoisseur Tom Armstrong who has retained it ever since. In his hands the car has made multiple appearances at the Monterey Historics and numerous other US vintage races, including Elkhart Lake, Sears Point and Portland International Raceway amongst others. This simply gorgeous Ford GT40 car has long-since become established as one of the most exquisitely well-prepared and most familiar within the American treasury of these now intensely desirable and hugely useable competition/street masterpieces. With the appended internationally accepted confirmation of authenticity to support its self-evident quality as offered here today, 'GT40 P/1033' is a gleaming example of Ford's 'sixties Le Mans-winning legend. This example can be regarded as being instantly acceptable for such world-class circuit racing events as the Goodwood Revival Meeting, or for such European public road rally/races as the French Tour Auto, or for such hugely attractive American events as well as virtually any historic race meeting Stateside. The full wording of respected Ford GT authority Ronnie Spain's statement in regard to '1033' here, verifying its identity absolutely as Ford GT40 serial '1033', is as follows. He writes: "I began researching the GT40 in 1978, and...have been researching the GT40 extensively for over three decades now, have seen 106 of the 134 original GT40s and variants that were ever built, and have amassed an unparalleled amount of documentation, information and detailed photographs of the cars' chassis. All of this has armed me with an unequalled knowledge of each individual car's history, as well as the ability to positively identify an individual car by the absolutely unique details to be found in its chassis. (This) has fortuitously proved possible due to the very nature of the car's construction around a monocoque chassis built of sheet steel. By the very hand-built nature of its construction, each chassis has absolutely unique seam & spot 'weld-patterns' throughout, as good as DNA, where the around 250 individual panels were welded together. On top of this the basic chassis configuration underwent numerous modifications over the six years of GT40 production. All of this, plus the knowledge of factory modifications carried out to convert certain of the chassis to a different road specification, as well as the knowledge of the modifications carried out on all the chassis raced by the different 'works' teams, enables me to absolutely and positively identify the genuine original chassis of any GT40 for which I have unearthed sufficient detail. "My book, 'GT40: An Individual History and Race Record', was published by Osprey in 1986, and has been re-issued three times. I am currently in the final stages of a much larger, much more detailed, and much more thoroughly illustrated new GT40 book. I have been consulted by GT40 owners and buyers, car magazines, police forces, lawyers, the FBI. You name them, I've been consulted by them. "In this capacity, I state here, categorically and absolutely, that the car which is to be auctioned by Bonhams at Quail Lodge on August 12th this year is the one and only genuine 'GT40 P/1033', and has absolute provenance from me as such. More than that, of all original GT40s, GT40 P/1033 comes with one of the top provenances I have ever been able to supply. "By request, this document has been kept to the most basic statement on the authenticity of 'GT40 P/1033'. I have a detailed document which gives the full history of 'GT40 P/1033', including details of the absolute proof of the car's authenticity, which I will be happy to supply to any interested parties." Ladies and gentlemen  we present Ford 'GT40 P/1033'  for your delectation.

Lot Details
Auction Quail Lodge Sale
Bonhams, Carmel, California, USA
Lot Number434
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$2000000
Hammer Price (inc premium)$2205000
Condition rating
Registration number
Chassis numberGT40P/1033
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors