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Ford France GT40 redux


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#1 rvec

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 09:03 AM

Many years ago, I purchased, what is now, a rare GT40 kit. It was a Fujimi replica of the #130 car that ran at Targa Florio in 1967 entered by Ford France and driven by the Greder/Giorgi team. I built the kit, planned to run it atop a Scholer chassis and use it as my mainstay in our True Scale Gran Sport class (see images below). Most others in our club are running the 68 or 69 LeMans winner kits with the familiar Gulf Color schemes.
 

GT40_Rich1.JPG
 
FordFranceOld3.jpg
 
FordFranceOld2.jpg
 
 


After building the kit, I noticed that it had a much narrower rear track than my 68 GT40 Gulf replica. Because our True Scale classes run production chassis and sealed motors; racing is ultra-close. The slight disadvantage of the Ford France kit made it much harder to podium. So, after a race or two, the Targa Florio replica was permanently relegated to the shelf.

With time on my hands, I decided to take another crack at a Ford France replica. This time, I started with the 68/69 GT40 kit that I had painted red and adorned with a fantasy livery. The car ran with some success on a Scholer chassis but I never liked the paint and color combination. So I stripped off the old paint, primed and painted the car white. I used Pactra striping tape and Ron was kind enough to make the roundels and numbers. The car is a replica of the Ford France LeMans entry in 66 driven by Guy Ligier and Bob Grossmann.

Below are images of the finished body both cars illustrating the differences in rear track and images of the new finished body.
 

Old_New.jpg
 
FordFranceNew1.jpg
 
FordFranceNew2.jpg
 
FordFranceNew3.jpg

 






For this build I decided to use a Northwest Chassis commissioned by Zack Morgan. It is essentially a Scholer clone but, in my opinion better because it uses steel rather than aluminum for the axle hangers. Note side pans come with kit but I made my own with a ledge. I also cut a custom front pan (not included in the kit)
 
Below are images of the chassis and finished car
 

C_1.jpg

C_2.jpg

C_3.jpg

FF_1.jpg

FF_2.jpg

FF_3.jpg


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#2 Alchemist

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 04:28 PM

Hi Rich,

 

That is an excellent car and project!

 

Would this be considered a "Mirage"?

 

I ask because I read somewhere that the difference between the GT40 as opposed to the GT40 Mirage was that the rear wheel wells were flared.

 

Now, if someone would replica this style body (with the pronounced fender flares) into lexan - that would make my dream come true!  LOL

 

Presuming this is a 1/24 scale kit (I can't see the scale size on the box),  If I may, I would like to inquire as to the length and width of the body please?

 

Looking forward to your progress pictures.

 

Thanks for sharing!

 

Ernie


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#3 rvec

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 06:16 PM

The car is not a mirage.  It is a GT40 MK I.  The rules were changed for the 68 season which prohibited prototype motors to be more than 3 liters. That banned the GT40 MK II and GT40 MKIVs both of which were powered by 7 liter motors.  The GT40 MK I would also have been banned because it was powered by a 5 liter motor, but the sanctioning body ruled that cars that  were homologated into group 4 could be run (max displacement of 5 liters).  The GT40 MK I met the homologation criteria because there were more than 100 produced and they met the other requirements. The sanctioning body allowed for a bit wider fender wells to accommodate wider rear tires. The 68 rules prevented the Mirages from running because there were only a few produced.

 

Below is an image of the Mirage.  They used a lightweight chassis but you can see that the cockpit is quite different from the GT40

 

Chris-Shipton-Ford-GT40-Mirage.jpg

 

The model is 1/24 scale made by Fujimi. Two are still available (the 68 and 69 cars). These are exactly the same except for the decals.

 

The model is 7in long and about 3 1/8 wide (at the rear fender wells)

 

Some time ago I wrote a blog on the GT40. See the link The Ford GT40 story - you can't beat cubic dollars - Electron's roving reporter - Slotblog

 

If you are interested you might want to read the two books mentioned in the blog.


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#4 ravajack

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 06:31 PM

If the #130 car is a Fujimi kit, what make is the relivered #15 car?

It seems the #15 car is not only wider in the rear, but also different in the front vents area.

Are both period correct for the 1967 Targa Florio race?

 

Mirage2.jpg

 


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#5 rvec

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 06:47 PM

If the #130 car is a Fujimi kit, what make is the relivered #15 car?

It seems the #15 car is not only wider in the rear, but also different in the front vents area.

Are both period correct for the 1967 Targa Florio race?

 

attachicon.gifMirage2.jpg

 

It is a fujimi kit as well of the 68/69 Gulf car with the typical Gulf colors. As mentioned in the post, the roundels and numbers were made by my friend Ron and the stripes are tape. below is an image of kit. BTW, some of the early MKIs had that split hood including the #15 car so, you are correct. It is not totally period correct.  I built the model as a Ford France replica so that mine wouldn't look like all the other racers

Attached Images

  • 68 winner.jpg

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#6 ravajack

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 07:15 PM

OK, thanks.

It seems Fujimi was/is very thorough im kit details, w. different tool versions for very similar models.


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#7 rvec

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 07:22 PM

OK, thanks.

It seems Fujimi was/is very thorough im kit details, w. different tool versions for very similar models.

 

They are, and over the years I have built several MK Is and MK IIs.  (BTW the MK II is not as wide as the 68/69 MK I and that is why our club racers have not selected it either).  I believe that the 68/69 kits are the only ones readily available.  Others can be purchased on E bay but may be spendy.


Rich Vecchio


#8 Half Fast

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 07:45 PM

Could you post a picture of the chassis without the body?

 

Cheers


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#9 Alchemist

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 09:00 PM

Thank you for the info Rich - it's appreciated!

 

Ernie


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#10 rvec

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Posted 06 January 2021 - 09:39 PM

Could you post a picture of the chassis without the body?

 

Cheers

 

I will post after I finish the new chassis.  The old one is now under a MKIV


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#11 rvec

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Posted 07 January 2021 - 09:27 AM

The story of the GT40 and its offshoots (Mirage and F3L) is fascinating.  I actually wrote a 170 page treatise about the subject. There are so many stories to be told about the GT40 and the great rivalry it had with Ferrari that it would take volumes to describe them all. Anyway someone asked about the Mirage. Here is a bit of context about the events leading to its production and ultimately its demise.

 

After Ford’s offer to buy Ferrari was rejected, Ford vowed to beat Ferrari on its own turf and the most important sports car race in the world (LeMans of course)

 

Henry Ford asked Carroll Shelby, Roy Lunn (prominent Ford Engineer) and Ray Geddes (Ford Corporate Lawyer) to go to LeMans in 63 and determine a direction for the Company’s efforts

 

The group hired Eric Broadly (principal at Lola) as a consultant and with that deal came two Lola Mk VI cars.  That car became the template for the GT40.  The MK VI was a Ford powered V8, mid-engine car with a monocoque chassis.

 

Ford created Ford Advanced Vehicles (FAV) which was charged with building and developing Ford’s design. FAV was headed up by John Wyer

 

The first GT40 was completed within 10 months and was unveiled at the beginning of April of 64. In testing the car suffered from extreme rear end lift and the two test cars were both crashed.  A rear lip spoiler was added to address this problem.

 

First race was Nurburgring in 64. GT40 was a DNF due to suspension failure. In fact not one GT40 finished a race in 64. Problems included cracked welds, Colloti gearbox, and engine failures.

 

Ford became more disillusioned with the program and was growing impatient with John Wyer’s development effort.  Ford believed that what was needed was a big block version of the GT40. Wyer strenuously disagreed. He thought that a big block version would be too heavy and subject the chassis to much higher stresses and cause real problems with braking. Wyer’s vision was a light weight GT40 small block.

 

At the end of the 64 season, Ford gave the development effort to Shelby American.  Wyer and FAV would continue to develop the specification for the production version of the GT40 and build these cars.

 

In the meantime, Kar Kraft (a Ford subsidiary) was tasked to develop a big block version of the GT40.

Shelby’s development effort was somewhat successful as small block GT40s won Daytona and Sebring in 65 but failed to finish at LeMans in that year.

 

The big block MKIIs became the envy of the competition in 66 and had a great season winning the manufacturer’s championship and finished 1,2,3 at LeMans.

 

After LeMans in 66, Ford sold FAV to John Wyer. FAV would continue as a GT40 parts supplier and production company but became an independent entity. Wyer was now free to pursue his own vision of the GT40.  He commissioned the building of what would be called the Mirage. This car utilized a light weight GT40 chassis with a lighter and more aerodynamic body with smaller cockpit. The power came from a small block Ford engine. The project was funded by Gulf Oil. Wyer had sold a GT40 to CEO Grady Davis who became good friends with Wyer and the benefactor of the Mirage and subsequent GT40 effort in 68 and 69. The very same small block GT40 won LeMans in both 68 and 69 without any support from Ford

 

The Mirage never really took off. It was overshadowed by its big block brethren. It did manage to win Spa in 67. This to the credit of Ickx who drove brilliantly in a rain soaked contest.

 

67 was again a banner year with the GT40 MK IV winning LeMans. At that point Ford pulled out of international sports car racing.

 

The rules changed for the 68 season banning prototypes of more than three liters. This did in the MKII, MKIV and even the Mirage.  The rules allowed 5 liter “production cars” (more than 100 produced to compete).  This gave the small block GT40 new life. It went on to win LeMans in 68 and 69  


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#12 MG Brown

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Posted 07 January 2021 - 01:00 PM

Fujimi Ford GT kits can usually be found at Japanese online retailers and are re-issued from time to time in Japan. They are not always imported to North America- or at least not all versions. Postage is not that bad and in normal times takes about a week.

 

The kits usually have a tree or two of parts included that are unique to that version. Clever engineering has allowed them to offer many variations of what was somewhat of a basic kit. An example is the 1968 and 1969 LeMans winner kits which have different accessory trees in each version to replicate small detail differences in the real cars.

 

One thing to look out for is the presence or absence of the "Gurney bump" on the body. I assume that they use some sort of an insert in the tooling to produce the "bump". Select the kit that has the correct body included for what you are building.


That's thirty minutes away. I'll be there in ten.
 

 


#13 Horsepower

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Posted 07 January 2021 - 02:35 PM

Hi Rich! Can you tell me what you use to join all the body pieces together? All the joints are so smooth it doesn't look like there are any!


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#14 rvec

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Posted 07 January 2021 - 03:03 PM

Hi Rich! Can you tell me what you use to join all the body pieces together? All the joints are so smooth it doesn't look like there are any!

 

I use Devcon Plastic welder. (may be hard to find but it works great and really holds). Also great for repairs

Attached Images

  • Plastic welder.jpeg

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#15 rvec

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 08:49 AM

Hi Rich,

 

......Now, if someone would replica this style body (with the pronounced fender flares) into lexan - that would make my dream come true!  LOL...

 

Ernie

 

I am not a lexan type of guy but there is a lexan GT40 in the post Jan. 7 C.A.R.S. Photos - C.A.R.S. Forum - Slotblog 

 

It looks like Pattos place had these 

  • 68 Fd GT40 Flared Rear -LM winner 68-69
  • 67 FD GT40 MK2 (80mm)
  • 67 FD GT40 MIRAGE
  • 67 FD MK 4

There is also a Gallery section of pattos showing rides with his decals. These appear to the pattos place bodies, but I am not certain. They could be other brands with just pattos decals

Attached Images

  • LexanGT40 Wide Bodu.jpg
  • lexan Mirage2.jpg

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#16 rvec

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 05:43 PM

I have edited the original post to show several images of the chassis and finished car below are one image of each
 

C_1.jpg
 
FF_2.jpg


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#17 Mbloes

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 09:34 AM

Are your front wheels independent?


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#18 rvec

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 10:03 AM

Are your front wheels independent?

If you are asking  if there is a front suspension, the answer is no. The wheels do not move up and down independently.  We do set up the axle so that wheels rotate independently. Hope this answers your question


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#19 Mbloes

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 10:12 AM

Yes, that's it.  Independent rotation.  Thanks


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#20 Eddie Fleming

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 11:36 AM

Where can we get those chassis?


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#21 rvec

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 12:01 PM

Zack Morgan is the guy to talk to.  He orders in batches.  I think he has several in stock. His email is 

zack@preracing.com

 

BTW if you do purchase let us know how it works out for you. 

 

Also, check out this link The fully adjustable 1/24 chassis I have built for our club. - HRW (hrwforum.com)

It shows the chassis in more detail. Watch the video on assembly


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#22 Alchemist

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 06:42 PM

Hi Rich,

 

Thanks for that info regarding the lexan GT40 bodies.

 

I appreciate it.

 

Ernie


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#23 Horsepower

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 11:07 PM

 

I use Devcon Plastic welder. (may be hard to find but it works great and really holds). Also great for repairs

 

Thanks Rich! Guess what? I have some in my "glues" box in the dungeon. Never thought to use it for models since I bought it to hold a refrigerator door handle on. Thanks for rattling my empty cranium!  :crazy:  :laugh2:


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#24 rvec

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Posted 11 January 2021 - 08:40 AM

 

Thanks Rich! Guess what? I have some in my "glues" box in the dungeon. Never thought to use it for models since I bought it to hold a refrigerator door handle on. Thanks for rattling my empty cranium!  :crazy:  :laugh2:

 

Please try it out before using it for "real". If the glue is quite old it may have dried out and will not bond or even dry.  I tape the body parts together with masking tape on the top side. I then rough up all joints from the inside. Then apply the plastic welder from the inside covering the joint. This stuff is so strong that the plastic will shatter before the bond breaks


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#25 Horsepower

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Posted 11 January 2021 - 06:51 PM

Will do, Rich. Thanks!   :D  :good:


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