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						Gulf Backdraft Rt4 1
Gulf-Inspired Backdraft RT4 Roadster

Gulf Oil-themed Backdraft RT4

By Dean Larson

Photos: Naples Motorsports

The 1960s and ’70s gave rise to some of the world’s most recognizable racing liveries, like the Alitalia Lancias, Martini Porsches and John Player Specials of Formula 1. But in terms of icon status, there are few liveries that compare to the powder blue and marigold shades of Gulf Oil, made famous on GT40s, Porsche 917s, McLarens and more. Sporting a neo-retro version of this legendary livery, this Backdraft Racing RT4 roadster is a stellar throwback and a rad celebration of Ford and Gulf racing history.

The first GT40 to wear Gulf Oil colors wouldn’t be easily recognizable to you, as it was Gulf Oil Vice President Grady Davis who raced his personal GT40 as a privateer at Daytona and Sebring in 1967. The car was painted standard Gulf Oil colors, which featured a much darker blue. But Ford withdrew from sports car racing in late ’67, leaving representation of the GT40 up to John Wyer’s J.W. Automotive Engineering Ltd with backing from Gulf Oil. The cars would now be referred to as Mirages, and they were refinished in the iconic powder blue and marigold Gulf Oil livery. JWA found early success, winning the 1968 World Sports Car Championship in 1968 with Le Mans victories in 1968 and 1969, even though the aging GTs were outclassed by new designs like the Porsche 917. While JWA would make the switch to Porsche after 1969, the Gulf imagery was ingrained with Ford fans after the 1960s, and the featuring of the Gulf-livery Porsche 917 in Steve McQueens Le Mans film would only increase the mystique. We’ve seen all sorts of Gulf adaptations since then, and even recent heritage-edition GTs from Ford, proving that the Gulf colors have true staying power with Ford fans.

But in addition to all that nostalgia, it turns out that the powder blue and marigold shades make for a really rad combination on a neo-retro Cobra, especially when you combine it with matte black accents, as is the case with this Backdraft RT4 roadster. It’s offered by the folks at Naples Motorsports and boasts a 427 ci engine, likely one of their Iconic brand small-blocks, 8-stack style EFI and a five-speed transmission.

The crew at Naples Motorsports details that the paintwork was inspired by Ford’s 2019 GT heritage edition in Gulf colors, and I’d almost dare to say that those shades look even better on the curvaceous body of the Backdraft roadster than the GT. The theme continues into the interior with loads of orange stitching and unique Classic Instruments gauge faces. Under the hood, you’ll find color-matched valve covers and intake stacks on the 427 ci V8, certainly an engine you’ll want to show off at your local cars and coffee events.

If you eat, breath and sleep Gulf colors, then this is the machine for you. Find it here at Naples Motorsports.

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