Remember how Ford has to call its new supercar "GT", because someone else owns the rights to the "GT40" name of the awesome original 1960's sports cars? That someone is Safir GT40 Spares, a Cincinnati company which has cut a deal with replica car manufacturer Superformance and Shelby American to produce a limited-edition run of 20 GT40 Mark II cars commemorating the 50th anniversary of the GT40's 1-2-3 finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
In June, 1966, Ford's Shelby-run team of GT40s swept the top three finishing positions in the world's most famous sports car race, and Superformance is offering replicas of each of those three machines. The red car commemorates the one driven by Dan Gurney, the blue and orange one is Ken Miles' car and the black car was piloted by Bruce McLaren.
These are no VW-based kit cars. Instead, they are "continuation" cars, built to exactly duplicate the original designs and bearing the imprimatur of Shelby, making them authentic new GT40s.
The chassis is identical to that of the original, but some add-on bits such as modern Wilwood brakes, Bilstein shock absorbers and an air conditioner provide updates. In total, 90 percent of the new cars' parts are interchangeable with those of the 1966 originals.
Power is provided by a Shelby-built version of the Ford 427 racing engine used by the winning cars in 1966. A Florida dealer lists similar cars for $134,000, though they aren't the anniversary editions.
The special 50th-anniversary cars will be auctioned Jan. 27 at the Barrett-Jackson classic car auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.