Steve McQueen provenance helps this storied GT40 to a record price.
In the mid-Sixties, sportscar racing was all about the battle between Ford with the GT40 and Ferrari with the P series of prototypes. In some ways that battle has now been reignited, not on the race track but under the auctioneer's hammer at the annual auctions held in Monterey.
Traditionally it's been the classic Ferraris that top the bill at Monterey, but this year it was Ford GT40 chassis 1074 that achieved top price last night for Canadian auction house RM, with a huge hammer price of $10,000,000!
1074 was not just any GT40, though. Originally built for John Wyer's famous Gulf Oil-liveried team as a Lightweight Mirage M1 in 1967, in that year it won a very wet Spa 1000km in the hands of a young Jacky Ickx. It repeated the feat in 1968 but with the change of rules it was converted to the more traditional GT40 configuration.
After its career as a race car had finished in 1970, it was purchased by Steve McQueen's Solar Productions and converted to a camera car for the now iconic (but financially disastrous) movie Le Mans. This conversion included removing the roof and a lot of the bodywork to allow a camera to be mounted while leaving room for a driver and operator.
Subsequent to the film the car was returned to GT40 specification and this is how the car was offered at auction, although the original bodywork necessary to convert the car back to its Mirage configuration was included as well.
Below is the video RM made to support the catalogue entry for the car.
The RM auction didn't produce the top price on the night, though; arch rivals Gooding & Co achieved a huge $11,275,000 for a rare alloy-bodied Long Wheelbase Ferrari 250 GT California.
Gooding have further offerings tonight which include the Ferrari 250 California prototype and a Mercedes 540K Roadster, and there is the strong possibility that the prices already achieved will not be the highest recorded on the Monterey peninsula this week.