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We Whooped the Axis Powers in WW2, and Again When it Counted, 1966

In spite of my barbs thrown out at all things Ford, and maybe just needling a committed Ford man, Mike, just a bit, there is the GT40, one of the great cars and programs of all time.

As a committed Chevy/GM man, I did not like Fords, with one exception. Even in my youth I despised the european ways, and Henry Ford took on the Italians that had dominated LeMans. In 1966 the GT40 would finish 1,2, and 3, vanquishing the cars from Maranello. Ford’s gambit was an international effort featuring the great British Sports Car engineer/driver Ken Miles. Of the three Shelby Ford entries that year, there were driver greats Denny Hulme paired with Miles, Americans Dan Gurney and Jerry Grant in another car, and Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon in the 3rd Shelby entry. There were five more non factory GT40’s in the race.

The GT40 would follow up the ’66 race with wins in ’67, ’68, and 1969. The great Ken Miles lost his life testing just a couple months after the 1966 123 race where he was far ahead of the other two, but because Ford played with the finish to have them all finish the same time at the line, and with the Miles car having started further forward, Miles didn’t get the credit for the win.

I just ran across a new to me website and one of the category’s is the GT40, always worth a review.



6 thoughts on “We Whooped the Axis Powers in WW2, and Again When it Counted, 1966

  1. “…and maybe just needling a committed Ford man, Mike, just a bit…”

    Not a problem at all, Barry. In fact, I’ve long lamented that the long, slow death of the American car culture has robbed us of many things that were worth holding onto, one of those being the good-natured rivalry between devotees of the American Big Three marques: Ford, Chevy, and Chrysler/Dodge. Those machines were distinctive in their visual styling, their design and construction, and the overall philosophy behind them regarding what the best way to go about things might be. In those days, you paid your money and you made your choice, and we could argue among ourselves down at the local drive-in restaurant, drag strip, or repair garage as to which was better and why. It was all in good fun, and I for one enjoyed it tremendously.

    Now, with the rise of the nondescript, anonymous plastic eggmobile, what’s there to choose between the grey Toyota, the silver Kia, or the charcoal Hyundai? Damned little, it seems to me. Bright, vivid colors are gone, as are the big chrome bumpers and grill teeth, the stainless-steel trim pieces and medallions of yore. Wing mirrors to direct the flow of fresh outside air into the front-seat passengers faces? Sayonara, suckers. Baby Moon or Fiesta hubcaps? Nope.

    Tech marches ever on whether we like it or not, and brings us many fine things, no doubt. But there’s always something lost along the way too, very often a wonderful something that can never be brought back no matter how many reboots and remakes the car companies issue. Nowadays, the idea of someone being “a Ford man” or “a Chevy man” seems almost absurd.

    Oh yeah, that Carroll Shelby was really something else, wasn’t he? A true genius, that man. Another whose like we shan’t see again.

    1. Well said, Mike.

      I’m not going to say that the youth of my generation that were not car fanatics were degenerate losers or anything, but they never had as much fun as we did. 🙂

      I’m just going to be thankful that I grew up in one of the greatest periods in history, when a handful of dedicated individuals could utilize their God given talent and education to create without having to answer to the bosses in the corporate structure or the boardroom. A time when failure was seen to be a learning experience, and the expectation was that next time it would work.

      Technology improves things, but we’ve lost something special in the process. From the first time I tried to figure out how to beat the governor on the lawn mower engine powered mini bike (easy peasy), hopping up the first motorcycle engine (big bore and headwork), and on until by age 20 I’m building the first complete formula race car and engine. Very few places on earth allowed for that, just the US and a handful of other western countries. We were pushed to experiment and learn, and that’s why a handful with a nice budget flew all the way to the Moon and pranced around upon the surface.

      It all flows from freedom and liberty. And “they” are doing everything in “their” power to take it away. They really do hate to see you having fun, to pursue happiness.

      1. “Few” being the operative term 🙂 Although, Penske did manage to make a decent TransAm car of them.

        I think most of the AMC fans that I knew were also a fan of another marque, whereas a lot of Ford/Chevy fans were diehards.

    1. I fixed it after about three try’s….

      For Mike to add to his long list 🙂
      The image button would not provide the pic. It all went fine but when you would update it was gone. I finally added it as an attachment and it worked.

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