For the last handful of years, there arguably hasn’t been a more well-informed, charismatic automotive journalist than Jason Cammisa. Rising to prominence in the mid-2000s for his work with Automobile Magazine, he would go on to contribute to the Motor Trend Group, Road & Track, and more recently, Hagerty; the world’s largest provider of classic car insurance.
Since arriving at Hagerty nearly two years ago, he has introduced a handful of series that delve into the world of automotive culture. None more insightful than, “Revelations”. As Jason put it, the show is “a series of untold stories about automotive legends.” On its 22nd episode, Jason regales us with the turbulent timeline of how the Ford GT came to be, 37 years after the GT40 shocked the world at LeMans.
We all know the story of how Ford dethroned Ferrari in 1966 with a 1-2-3 finish, but what we didn’t know is the controversy surrounding the win. After all, Ford was claiming an American victory, when in reality besides the Ford badging, it truly was a British automobile.
What people forget is the original GT40 was not built by Ford, but was a race car commissioned by Ford, yet built by British engineers that had no relation to Ford, whatsoever. Virtually a Lola T70 with Mustang concept car styling, Ford planned on returning the following year with an all-American car — and they did.
Returning to Le Mans in 1967 with the MKIV GT40, Ford revealed not only was the car built in American, by American Engineers, but it would feature two American drivers: Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt, to remove all doubt this would be an American victory.
And remove all doubt they would, with the MKIV finishing thirty-two miles ahead of the Ferrari. With Ford’s success the ensuing two years, introducing a GT40 road car was ripe for the picking. But over the next 37 years, Ford would continue to drop the ball on building a mid-engine, halo car as a result of economic factors, or bad overall planning.