Le Mans Race-Winning GT40s Humble and Rumble at Pebble Beach.
PEBBLE BEACH, CA – The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is widely regarded as the world’s most significant car show, famous for putting together special collections of historic cars that are in one way or another related to each other. For example, there are only six original, built-in-period Bugatti Type 41 Royales. One year Pebble Beach worked tirelessly to get all six of them together on the grass at the same time. Similarly there are only three of the historic Alfa Romeo B. A. T. concept cars (built over a period of years in the 1950s), and again Pebble has had them all together twice in the show’s history. Without question, the best cars in the world on any given day will meet up together at Pebble Beach.
For 2016, in honor of Ford’s historic 1-2-3 victorious finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Pebble Beach’s organizers endeavored to gather every significant race-winning Ford GT40 and Ford GT Mk IV. We cannot attest if every single GT40 that ever won an important sports car or endurance race was there, but there were dozens on hand; they were lined up door-to-door along the water line of the Pacific Ocean that is the Pebble Beach show field’s western border. And we’re not talking fakes, kit cars, or any other sort of “tribute” or re-creation – but the actual, real-deal race-winning Ford GT40s.
The show’s quinella had to be having all three of those 1966 Le Mans first-, second-, and third-place winning cars together on Pebble Beach’s famed 18th Fairway, likely for the first time since they all crossed the finish line that record-setting day in France now 50 years ago.
An equally breathtaking accomplishment was to have the GT Mk IV that AJ Foyt and Dan Gurney drove to victory at Le Mans in 1967. And finally, similarly important and resplendent among them was the presence of Ford GT Chassis #1075, the very same car driven to victory both in 1968 and 1969. So, given that Ford won Le Mans four times overall and in a row, all of those cars were together at Pebble Beach. And handing out the class trophies were none other than Edsel Ford II and Henry Ford III; quite the moment, honoring Henry Ford II’s personal and unrelenting drive to win Le Mans, and his being on hand to start the race and also enjoy the champagne those 50 years ago.
Besides those big Le Mans winners, there were countless other significant Ford GT40s on hand, including the screaming yellow GT40 Mk IV that Mario Andretti and Bruce McLaren drove to victory at Sebring in ’67. Plus early roadsters and an uber-handsome pair of the rare street-model GT40 Mk III. All of this further punctuated the significance of the new Ford GT’s class win at the 2016 Le Mans race. Besides the Ford family luminaries on hand, Ford’s executive vice president, Product Development, and chief technical officer (CTO) Raj Nair, and Ford’s Advanced Design Studio chief Freeman Thomas, helped hand out some hardware, and 1968-69 winner Jacky Ickx drove his winning mount across Pebble’s vaunted presentation ramp. The All American Racer, 1967 co-winner Dan Gurney, was also on hand.
Pebble Beach’s immaculately groomed 18th fairway is a usually quiet and reserved place, occasionally punctuated by the hum of a Rolls-Royce, Delage, Marmon, or Duesenberg engine. But this time, the Monterey Peninsula jungle rumbled to the tune of thumping big Ford V-8s. And of course, the crowd loved it with so many Ford GT40s, and the occasional Cobra, on hand and on display. If you love and worship Ford GTs, Pebble Beach was the place to be on Sunday, August 21, 2016 – truly a magical year for Ford at the world’s most important car show.
FORD PERFORMANCE PHOTOS COURTESY MATT STONE / INSPIRED COMMUNICATIONS
For the actural link : http://performance.ford.com/enthusiasts/newsroom/2016/08/le-mans-race-winning-ford-gt40s-humble-and-rumble-at-pebble-beac.html