Ford shared some of the earliest sketches of what would become the famed racing car.
Ferrari finally met its match at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 when the legendary Ford GT40 arrived on the scene. And while the GT40's famous victory - and many more to follow - remains its crowning achievement, the racer's aerodynamic design is a big part of the reason for its successes. It all culminated in the modern-day GT, Ford's current halo car.
But where did it all start? Well, Ford Performance shared some of the oldest design sketches of the GT40 yet via its social media platforms, which were said to be drawn 57 years ago today! These are the sketches that eventually produced the GT40 shape we are all so familiar with.
The early sketches reveal an even sleeker, smoother design than the finished product. The sharp nose features pop-up headlights and there is an exaggerated wraparound windshield, with the A-pillar pushed well back. Some commenters likened the shape to the Lamborghini Miura, not a great surprise since the Italian sports car was introduced around about the same time.
One of the images reveals a cross-section of the suspension components, also showing off a complex roof mechanism that opens forwards, and which is connected to the shallow doors. The battery and spare tire are positioned under the front hood, no doubt to help balance the weight of the engine positioned behind the seats.
The angled slope of the rear fascia made it on to the GT40, as did the centrally-mounted tailpipes. One week after the red sketches were drawn up, the very first clay model was introduced in grey. More prominent on this clay model are the 'cheese grater' side intakes, a design feature that became closely associated with Ferrari following the launch of the 1980s Ferrari Testarossa. The wheels have a passing resemblance to the Fuchs rims used on many Porsches throughout the years.
But despite sharing design cues with several other sports cars of the time, the GT40 still emerged with its own identity. Today, the iconic Ford continues to inspire a number of gorgeous replicas and the few originals that remain continue to fetch sky-high prices. It's incredible that a couple of old sketches inspired generations of fans.