Before Ford made history by winning four consecutive overall victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1966 to 1969, they sent a GT Competition Prototype Roadster GT/109 to the same race in 1965. That prototype became the forerunner for Ford’s winning cars, and was the sole open-cockpit GT to ever compete in the Le Mans.
The story behind the prototype is one of aggravation. Henry Ford II, also known as “The Deuce,” had led Ford to a dominant position in NASCAR, drag racing, and sports-car racing, thanks to the Ford-powered Shelby Cobras. Deuce decided to expand into European racing, but had never done any racing in Europe and had never built a sports car. With no facility to do so, Ford decided to purchase Ferrari. However, Enzo Ferrari, who had a reputation for enraging business partners (he had so angered long-time customer Ferruccio Lamborghini that Lamborghini decided to start his own company), aggravated Deuce to the point that he declared, “If I can’t buy Ferrari, I’m going to beat Ferrari.”
Deuce’s passion to “win at all costs” led to the GT Competition Prototype Roadster. The prototype debuted in April 1964. After its racing career, the car went through a series of private owners, including Hollywood stuntman and California automotive customizer Dean Jeffries. Mecum Auctions has the prototype on the block for those interested in a piece of Ford and automotive history.