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						Gurney Grant Gt40 3
Gurney-Grant Mk II GT40

Shelby GT40 celebrates Gurney and Grant's ’66 Le Mans ride

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, eBay

Beyond the fact that it’s just a stunning color combination, white stripes and roundels over red paint and gold wheels have certain significance on a MkII GT40. Students of Ford and Shelby history will instantly recognize this scheme as the 1966 Ford GT40 as piloted by Dan Gurney and Jerry Grant in the 1966 24 Hours of Lemans. While Grant and Gurney would retire in the 18th hour with cooling system troubles, their performance, and the ace drivers themselves, are fitting for tribute in the form of this breathtaking GT40 re-creation.

Chassis No. GT40P/1047 was delivered brand new to France for the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans to be piloted by the legendary Dan Gurney and fellow American Gerald Wayne “Jerry” Grant. Beloved public figure and extremely successful driver across multiple disciplines, Dan Gurney was already an American icon by 1966 — Car and Driver having started a somewhat viral movement for Gurney to run for president in 1964.

By contrast Gurney’s co-driver Jerry Grant was quite possibly best known for his poor luck, despite being the first driver to break 200 mph in an Indy-style car. He may not have had any major victories to his credit, but Grant had already established himself as Gurney’s right hand man by 1966, and they'd go on to work together for many years.

“He was always a threat,” Gurney remarked after Grant’s death in 2012. “It didn’t seem to matter what sort of car he was in, he was going to be able to manhandle it.”

Standing 6 feet 2 inches himself, Grant and Gurney were a perfect pair and raced together for years. They nearly had the win in the ’66 12 Hours of Sebring when they experienced an engine failure, leading Gurney to push the GT40 across the finish line. The race organizers deemed Gurney and Grant disqualified, Americans deemed them legendary.

But of course it's Le Mans that’s the Mac Daddy of them all, and the moment Gurney, Grant and P/1047 came together. Gurney set the fastest qualifying lap in 1047 at 3:30.6, and indeed had taken the lead by the third lap on race day. P/1047 led through the first hour and was battling with Richie Ginther’s Ferrari for the lead by nightfall. As the morning arrived, it was Gurney and Grant’s car battling with Miles and Hulme’s GT40 for the lead. All of which was against strict orders from Ford, ordering the cars to back down to 4 minute miles to hold onto Ford's decisive victory over Ferrari. Having taken the lead, Grant and Gurney were unfortunately forced to retire from the race by 9:00 am with a head gasket failure after 257 laps.

While it’s not painted light blue, black or gold, GT40P/1047 (as piloted by Gurney and Grant in ’66) deserves to be remembered for the role it played in establishing Ford’s dominance at Le Mans that year. The car would go on to race at Le Mans again in 1967, but was badly damaged and retired. The car was sold and widely confused with chassis 1031 for some time, only to have its true identity revealed during its restoration in the early 2000s. Currently displayed in gold with the No. 5 roundel, the car resides with its current owners in Japan.

A two-time Le Mans competitor and driven by some of the best in the business, GT40P/1047 deserves to be remembered, and is a fitting choice for a MkII in its ’66 Le Mans livery. This Shelby-licensed re-creation boasts period-correct construction and a 650 hp, 427 ci Windsor stroker from Carroll Shelby Engine Company. It’s offered here on eBay by our friends at DenBeste Motorsports in Windsor, California.

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Drivers GT40 Le Mans Shelby