1966 Ford GT MARK II
The Reborn Legacy: How intrepid Ford engineers returned the Indy
By Todd Lassa | Photos By Wesley Allison | February 01, 2013 |
A.J. Fairbairn mashes the 1966 Ford GT Mark II's throttle, unleashing the brapp of its NASCAR V-8 as it echoes off the safety walls of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The GT40, to use its nickname, feels at home here, even if it has no racing history at the 2.5-mile oval.
The wry New Zealander piloting this Le Mans icon around the central Indiana circuit has a little more history with this car, chassis number 1032. In the 1980s he was a wrench for race teams in Europe, and now, as a restorer for the IMS Museum's sprawling, 400-car collection, Fairbairn is giving taxi rides in the British-bodied, big-bore Yank winner of the Greatest Spectacle in French Racing to the men who restored it. And to me. But my rides are just a warm-up: Soon, I'm going to drive 1032 around Indy myself.
As I take notes, one of those restorers, Mose Nowland, reluc-tantly accepts a ride. He wants others to get a chance, because he's been in the car before -- in 1966, as a Ford engineer working on the Le Mans-Ferrari assault. The car roars off for another series of laps.
Famed NASCAR engine builder and race team Holman Moody ran 1032 in the '66 Le Mans enduro with two other Mark IIs. John Holman sprayed on Number Four's DayGlo green mustache and driver-side rear intake scallop before the race to identify it at night, under Le Mans' iodized vapor lights.
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