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1968 Ford GT40 - chassis 1079

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1968 Ford GT40 - chassis 1079

CHASSIS NUMBER: 1079

GT40 P/1079 was delivered new by Ford Advanced Vehicles (FAV) to Mr Jean Blaton of Brussels, Belgium. Arriving in full factory lightweight racing spec, 1079 was equipped with a race specification engine, race clutch, lightweight flywheel, lightweight roof structure, carbon filament reinforced lightweight body panels, aluminium ducted spare wheel cover, Stage II ventilated brakes as per the lightweight Gulf/JWA race team cars. a 140 litre fuel tank and considerably improved and stiffened suspension. To reduce weight, the cars had all unnecessary interior items removed, and of course open exhaust pipes.

The original invoice, which comes with the car, shows that Blaton received the completed 1079 on the 20th April 1968 in Ostende, Belgium. Soon after, and resplendent in Belgian racing yellow, 1079 was on its way to the Monza 1000km, entered by the iconic Ecurie Francorchamps. Drivers Willy Mairesse and “Jean Beurlys” (the racing pseudonym of Jean Blaton) qualified the car 6th on the grid, but were forced to curtail their race effort after 89 laps when wheel problems struck. Despite the retirement, they were still placed 7th overall and 2nd in class on their debut.

The next race for 1079 was the 1000km of Spa-Francorchamps, were the car was entered by the Belgian Claude Dubois under the Ecurie Francorchamps banner, still in its Belgium racing colours. Once again driven by Mairesse and ‘Beurlys’, 1079 qualified in third position, beaten only by Jacky Ickx in the Gulf GT40 and Frank Gardner in Alan Mann Racing’s Ford F3L DFV. After a cracking start, frustratingly Ecurie Francorchamps had to retire after 45 laps of hard fought racing when the car was beached following an ‘off’.

June 1968 saw 1079’s debut at the 24 hours of Le Mans - once again entered by Ecurie Claude Dubois. (The original 1968 Le Mans application and entry form are still retained with the car). After overcoming some engine issues in testing, qualifying was more successful with the team a solid 10th place overall. Race day was wet and during Mairesse’s first stint, a combination of the slippery surface and a door swinging open got the better of him. Losing control on the Mulsanne, Mairesse had an impact bad enough to end their race.

After the accident, in 1968, the car was purchased by Franco Sbarro. He subsequently left 1079 untouched until he sold it to Yvan Caillet a short time later. Caillet completed the car using the original tub, and in 1985 sold it to Claude Desmas who carried out a restoration to perfect the car, completed in 1990. That same year, French based investment fund, ‘Société Galaxi’, fronted by Christian Deblaye, bought the car. With Société Galaxie then becoming part of the portfolio of Baron de Rosthchild in the mid-1990s, it found another owner. In 1999 Jean Pierre Lecou subsequently bought the Société Galaxy, and with his purchase of the company became the owner of GT40 P/1079. In 2003 Lecou decided to begin racing 1079, carrying out a restoration and race-prep. After a successful test at Spa in early 2004 and the issuing of FIA Papers, 1079 was soon off to compete in the 2004 Tour Auto. Finally the car was sold to its current owner who has used 1079 with success on the Modena Cento Ore, Tour Auto, Spa Six Hours, Goodwood Revival and Le Mans Classic to name a few.

In recent months, the car has had some detail work carried out to perfect the body lines at the front and rear. At this year’s Goodwood Revival, historic ace Nick Padmore took 1079 to a masterful pole position, having never driven a GT40! In the race, Padmore then slithered his way to a wonderful 2nd place behind Chris Ward’s GT40 and ahead of Mike Whitaker in the Surtees Lola T70. 1079’s speed is a sure sign that it is both user friendly and extremely well sorted.

Interestingly, 1079 can be run as both a 1965 Specification car, or 1968. The uprated Weslake engine, larger brakes and wider body for 1968 specification running are very easily interchangeable with the earlier engine, smaller brakes and slimmer body. The spares package available is comprehensive and offers these two options.
1079 is one of the best documented GT40 race cars today, and comes with a 380 page report by Ronnie Spain. The authenticity of the chassis is confirmed by both Ronnie Spain and also using metallurgy date testing. We are extremely proud to be offering this rare and original racing Ford GT40 - only very seldom do original competition GT40s with period racing pedigree appear on the market, even rarer is one that is race-ready and wanting for nothing.

 

 

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