One lucky collector smashed the all-time auction record for an American car at Pebble Beach this weekend when he dropped $11 million on a legendary 1968 Ford GT40. This specific model, which hit the block at an opening price of $9 million, has an incredible story to go along with its jaw-dropping price tag.
The powder-blue monster, with an orange stripe and "40" written on the driver and passenger side doors, originally called the racetrack home. Driver Jacky Ickx was behind the wheel of this very model at Daytona and Le Mans trials in 1968 before the car got a starring role alongside Steve McQueen in his classic "Le Mans."
For the movie, the crew had to cut the GT40's roof off in order to make it the production's lead camera-car. The car then became the second 68 Ford to share screen-time with the Hollywood legend, as McQueen famously turned the Mustang into the must-have pony-car in the film "Bullitt."
Ford developed the GT40 in response to a failed attempt to takeover the Italian nameplate Ferrari. Henry Ford II, the brands head brass, had always wanted to send a car to race at Le Mans, and with the GT40, his dreams were realized.
In 1964, the model debuted at the Nurburgring and Le Mans with disappointing results, not only failing to secure a victory, but not even getting to the finish line of either race. However, the tide soon turned, and the GT40 would go on to win more titles than any other car in the history of road-racing, including four consecutive victories at the 24 hours of LeMans from 1966 to 1969.
All of the records set by this model, including its title and its price at auction, arguably make it one of the greatest machines ever produced stateside.
The Auction was held as part of the Concours d'Elegance, an annual event held in Pebble Beach that brings together the wealthiest collectors around. The previous record for an American car was for a 1931 Duesenberg Model J Long-Wheelbase Coupe, which sold for $10.34 million.
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