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A Shelby American mechanic fettles the Bruce McLaren/Ken Miles Ford GT40 Mk2 ‘106’ prior to the Le Mans 24 Hours commencement on 20 June 1965…

I always thought the 4.7/5 litre GT40 variants masterpieces of Eric Broadley packaging if a bit beefy given the steel rather than aluminium monocoque mandated by Ford. But the 7 litre Mk2 and Mk4 are altogether less subtle expressions of the genre! Successful ones at that.

You can’t see ‘Henrys’ cast iron blocked, ally headed 427cid pushrod OHV V8 under all the plumbing. The dry sumped 90 degree, 107.2mm X 96.1mm lump was fed by a single, big Holley 4-barrel 780CFM carb developing circa 485bhp@6200rpm and 475lb.ft of torque@3200-3600rpm, plenty for a car weighing 1200Kg. The ‘cross-over’ exhaust sytem is a masterpice of the pipe-benders art. Mufflers interesting and unusual on a racer, maybe to save the drivers ears a tad? You can just see the gulping, big mouth of the monster Holley in front of the exhausts.

To the right near the roof is the water radiator neck, filler and temp sender, to the right are the gold colored fuel pumps, the fuel tank was 159 litres.

You can see the Ford T44 4-speed ‘box, in fact ’twas the failure of this ‘tranny’ which caused chassis #’106′ retirement on lap 45 of the classic. Plenty of lovely ‘Aeroquip’ aircraft braided fittings, well in advance of their adoption in F1, for brake lines and various oil feeds around the transaxle, note the transmission oil-radiator under the mech’s elbow.

See the big, rear grey stove enamelled chassis diaphragm below the exhaust and above the ‘box to support the engine/gearbox and location of the rear suspension, the top of the spring/shock’s clear. There, too, is the brake cooling duct which takes air collected from the body. Big cast magnesium upright, beefy driveshafts and top suspension link and forward facing radius rod and brake calipers for the outboard mounted, ventilated discs also in shot.

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The quick-lift jack and ‘captive frame’ on the car is typical of Shelby’s thoughfulness and endurance racing knowledge…Mind you they had a shocker of a race!

Five cars were entered, two Mark 2’s and three Daytona Cobra Coupes and all failed to finish; the Amon/P Hill Mk2 on lap 89-clutch. The Johnson/Payne Daytona ‘2287’ on lap 158-head gasket, Gurney/Jerry Grant Daytona ‘2286’ on lap 204-engine and Daytona ‘2601’ Schlesser/Allen Grant on lap 111-clutch.

The race was a disaster for Ford, their best placed car the AC Cars Ltd entered Daytona Cobra Coupe driven by Sears/Thomson was 8th, the race won, famously by the Ferrari 250LM of Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt, the latter flogging the thing to within an inch of its life!

It was Ferrari’s last Le Mans win and the first of four on the trot for Ford from 1966-69; wins for the Mk2 and 4 in 1966 and 1967 and 1968/9 for the Mk1 5 litre GT40…

Finally, Shelby American made amends in 1966, taking the first two places in the infamous ‘Ford Form Finish’ ahead of arch rivals, the Holman Moody prepared Ford Mk2’s…

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Le Mans ’65 start. The Amon/Hill GT40 Mk2 on pole, then Surtees/Scarfiotti Ferrari 330P2 , Bondurant/Bucknum GT40 in 3 and McLaren/Miles GT40 Mk2 in grid 4 (unattributed)

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McLaren/Miles Ford GT40 Mk2 early in the race, Le Mans 1965 (unattributed)

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Carroll Shelby beside the Amon/P Hill GT40 Mk2 ‘106’ Le Mans 1965 (unattributed)

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Shelby American Le Mans garage; Daytona Cobra Coupes; #12 Schlesser/J Grant #10 Johnson/Payne #9 Gurney/A Grant. All DNF (unattributed)

Credits…

Rainer Schlegelmilch, teamdan.com

Tailpiece: Filipinetti’s GT40 Mk2, prepped by Shelby American on the way to Europe at LAX, it too failed to finish driven by Ronnie Bucknum and Herbie Muller…

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