The beautiful GT40 MK1 road car offered here, chassis P/1059 was built November 1966 at the Ford Advanced Vehicles (FAV) facility in Slough, UK. The car was destined, as were many GT40s, to be delivered to the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. Prior to shipping, on the 21st December 1966 a set of photographs were taken in the FAV Works showing the group of road cars which were shortly to be delivered to Dearborn. The images can be found in the car’s history file, and clearly show chassis P/1059 in its gorgeous Opalescent Maroon with black leather interior. The Production Car Record Sheet notes that the car left Slough on the 23rd December 1966 and was finished in Road Car Specification and fitted with the desirable 289 High Performance engine, number SGT/20, fitted with Weber carburettors and ZF transmission number 213. Both the original engine and gearbox are still fitted to chassis GT40 P/1059, an ever increasingly rare combination. Also a great addition to this car was the choice of Borrani 6.5” and 8” wire wheels, which were fitted with Goodyear tyres.
There were six other GT40 road cars shipped to Dearborn on the same day as P/1059, 1057, 1058, 1064, 1065, 1066 and 1067. Interestingly it is also important to note that this car was selected to be one of 19 cars to participate in the GT40 MK1 Promotion programme in a letter dated 16th February 1967. It is unclear what exactly was involved, but chassis P/1059 was one of six cars allocated to Shelby America for a promotional programme through their six field units, the others being 1057, 1064, 1068, 1069 and 1070. It is believed that at this point the cars livery was changed to be white with Ford racing blue stripes to assist with the promotional campaign.
In a letter from the Mark 1 Disposal Programme dated 20th September 1967, chassis P/1059 is listed as having been sold to Stark Hickey Ford Inc. for the sum of $8,500. Stark Hickey was owned by Edward J. Schoenherr who wrote to Watts Hill Jnr, founder of the Ford GT40 Registry, on 20th March 1969 to confirm he owned chassis P/1059 and that it was registered in his companies name in Royal Oak, Michigan. Hill Jnr responded and requested Schoenherr fill out a GT40 Registry form, which he did, even noting that he had bought the car directly from Ford who had used it for promotional purposes at their Shelby dealers. He also remarked that since he had taken ownership, the car had been used for pleasure and promotion at his dealership. Ronnie Spain, author of GT40: An Individual History and Race Record, the seminal volume on GT40’s, noted that during Stark Hickeys ownership the car was reportedly involved in an accident, the result of which required some repairs to the roof section. However once Mr Spain had the opportunity to view the car a few years ago, he noticed that occasional stone chips in the roof section revealed the original opalescent maroon paint underneath, clearly eliminating any possibility of repairs to the roof section and confirming that the car only suffered minor damage to the driver’s side A-pillar.
In September 1973 the car was purchased by Herbert Wetanson of Long Island, New York. As part of the sales process, Schoenherr signed an odometer mileage statement confirming the car to have covered only 2,305 miles, nearly half of the cars current mileage was competed prior to 1973! Wetanson was well known within the GT40 community and would own no less than six examples, however his time with P/1059 was short and soon the car was advertised in Autoweek magazine with the description “2,305 miles; flawless; never raced; complete ground-up restoration; custom pearl white paint by George Busti, with blue stripes and red pinstripes”.
Wetanson only owned the car for a brief period before it was bought by Dr Jack Frost of St. Donatus, Iowa. He bought the car indirectly through Mark Derish, whom he had considerable difficulty in dealing with, as can be seen from the frequent correspondence which is included in the cars substantial history file.
Frost was fascinated by GT40’s, and having tried to buy a second from Wetanson, set about organizing a GT40 register. In July 1975 he contacted Bryan Wingfield who was running the UK GT40 Owners Club, to discuss P/1059. At this time, Frost notes the car as having only 4,000 miles on the odometer, which shows that between 1975 and today, the car has covered less than 800 miles. During Frost’s ownership he took many photographs which are included in the cars history file, it is also interesting to note that at this time the car was fitted with the optional luggage compartments either side of the exhaust system. Frost was keen to improve the safety of his GT40 and replaced the original fuel bladder cells with aluminium tanks along with adding a fire extinguisher. The aluminium tanks were fabricated by John Horsman, the former chief mechanic at FAV and for the John Wyer Gulf Racing team. Frost was very proud of his GT40 and it formed the centre piece of his collection.
During June 1993, still in Frosts ownership, Ronnie Spain made the trip to Iowa to inspect the car, and was very pleased to be able to check that the car was indeed originally finished in maroon, confirmed by sanding away a small section of the paint. Spain and P/1059 would meet again at the 1994 GT40 30th anniversary reunion held at Elkhart Lake in July.
Sadly, after Jack Frosts passing, the car was offered for public sale during 2003 where it was purchased by California-based collector Pat Ryan and would form part of his world-famous Prisma Collection. Spain again visited P/1059 and remarks “All in all, I was very impressed by the originality of GT40 P/1059.”
Ryan kept the car for nine years before selling it to a European collector through auction in 2012. The car has since been the subject of a no-expense spared restoration in Italy and is today presented in its gorgeous original colour combination of opalescent maroon over black leather. A huge amount of time was spent ensuring every section of fibreglass was saved with no panels being replaced during the exhaustive restoration. The mechanical work, including the engine, suspension and brake system rebuilds were completed by University Motors in Genoa. Experts, Cassina and Milesi in Bergamo, completed the interior work with Rodighiero in Vicenza installing a new wiring loom whilst retaining the original gauges and dashboard. Even the five wire wheels where returned to Borrani for a complete rebuild.
About the restoration, Ronnie Spain commented “I cannot stress too strongly how impressed I am with the restoration that the current owner has had carried out, and I am indebted to him for his commitment to seeing this car restored back to how it looked when it was supplied new.”
The fact that this GT40 retains its original engine and transmission, and is displaying less than 4800 miles from new puts it in a very exclusive club, and it is today presented as a peerless example which has never been correctly displayed on the international stage it deserves. This very rare MK1 road car will undoubtedly command the attention of the most passionate sports car collectors, promising its new caretaker a warm reception at many of the world’s leading Concours d’Elegance.
Ford USA, Michigan, USA - December 1966
Edward J. Schoenherr, Michigan, USA - March 1969
Herbert Wetanson, New York, USA - September 1973
Jack Front, Iowa, USA - December 1973
Pat Ryan, California, USA - January 2003
Current Owner, Europe - August 2012