1966 Ford GT40
Historic Race Car
Ford GT 40 Mark 1 Chassis # GT40P/1043
On March 9th, 1966, 30-year old Mr. David Heerensperger of Spokane, Wa. placed his order with Shelby American for a very special road going GT40. It bears mention that Heerensperger is indeed the famous Unlimited Hydroplane boat racer/team owner, Thoroughbred race horse owner, and founder of giant retail chains "Pay N Pak," "Eagle Home and Garden," and "World Lighting." Not long after ordering his GT40, chassis P/1043 left the factory on May 6th, 1966 headed for LAX on a TWA Boeing 707, Flight 581 to be exact, arriving in California on May 9th, 1966. P/1043 is a factory Road Coupe, one of just 31 cars to be built to such specifications. The car was fitted at the factory with unique options that would make the thoroughbred GT40 - a car capable of 200 miles per hour at Le Mans - civilized enough to live with on public roads. For this car, a special high performance engine serial #SGT/6 was noted on the factory build sheet as "High Performance with Weber Carburetors," a black leather interior a body finished in primer and relatively narrow Borrani wire wheels wearing Goodyear tires completed the package. The price for all this? A whopping $18,250, roughly the cost of almost 5 new 1966 Corvette Roadsters! Mr. Heeresperger also requested air conditioning be fitted, for an additional $750.00, bringing the total price for 1043 to $19,000. After a quick coat of paint, 1043 was ready for delivery. Like any of us would have done in 1966 after shelling out 19 big ones for the best supercar in the world, Heeresperger hopped in 1043 and drove it 1200+ miles from Shelby American to his home in Spokane. It is reported that between Seattle and Spokanne, Wa., that 1043 received two "driving awards" in the form of speeding tickets during that drive.
Please note that the featured photo on this page is of Carroll Shelby presenting the keys to #1043 at Shelby American in June, 1966 to its original owner Mr. David Heeresperger. Talk about history!
By late 1968 the car had covered a mere few thousand miles and was sold to Ralph "Butch" Bockmier of Spokane, Washington, who painted it a era-correct goldish/brown candy apple metalflake color at a cost of $1500. Bockmier drove 1043 with vigor, recently recounting to me many spirited drives and his reputation for 140 MPH commutes to work in 1043. Butch sold the car in 1972 to friend Larry Peterson, with approximately 6,000 miles on it. Peterson later sold 1043 to Long Island, NY car dealer and burger/chicken/BBQ restaurant magnate Herb Wetson in about 1974. Wetson also owned P/1056 at the time. Wetson replaced the fragile Borrani wires with factory magnesium Halibrand GT40 mags at this time, putting the Borranis on 1056. In October 1976, Wetson sold the car to Mr. Les Lindley of Anaheim, California. When Mr. Lindley took delivery, 1043 had only covered 14,000 miles from new and was still in its road-going trim, painted Guardsman Blue but now with a single broad white stripe down the center of the car.
Mr. Lindley, an avid GT40 enthusiast and when he purchased 1043 he had already acquired a most impressive stable of GT40s that included chassis J-5, a Mk. IV car that placed 4th at the 1967 Le Mans, chassis number 1015, the 2nd place finisher at the 1966 Le Mans and chassis number J-3, the 1967 Le Mans trials Mk. IV. Upon receiving his newest GT40, Mr. Lindley planned on racing it in the growing number of vintage races throughout California. He painted it in white with a single red centre stripe, complementing rocker panel stripes, and upgraded the car to race specifications. 1043's next owner was Ferrari dealer Tom Shelton of Fort Lauderdale, Fl, who sold it to Bryan Mimaki of Oxnard, Ca. in 1989. Mike Davis of Huntington Beach, Ca. was the next caretaker of 1043 beginning in 2003, and he then sold it to John Brice of Ridgefield, Ct. in January, 2005. I then purchased 1043 from Brice in early 2006. As you can see, GT40 P/1043 is one of the very few 40's that possesses an air-tight history with absolutely no gaps or missing owners.
In addition to road use, 1043 has also been raced quite successfully by its owners. It has raced and won multiple podium finishes at venues such as SAAC 18,19,22,27,30,and 31; the Monterey Historics; the Rolex Vintage Festival at Lime Rock; the Brian Redman International Challenge at Road America; the GT40 30th Anniversary Reunion; the HSR Daytona Continental Historic Races; and many more. 1043 won the HSR Championship of Makes series in 2005, no small accomplishment and proof of its racing prowess.
Many concours wins are also a part of 1043's resume, including winning the "World Sports Car" class at prestigious Greenwich Concours d'Elegance in 2005.
Never restored but rather sympathetically maintained through the years, 1043 retains its original, never damaged and unrestored body tub and chassis, a very rare occurrence among GT40's. With just 20,400 original miles, P/1043 is in fully sorted, "on the button" race or extremely fast road use ready condition, a true dual-purpose world beating car as originally intended. It has been meticulously prepared with a no expense spared mentality that is immediately apparent from the moment one thumbs the starter button and brings 1043 to life. It has been fitted with the finest components including desirable original Gurney Eagle Westlake era-correct heads and 52mm Weber induction. The original wet-sump lubrication system of GT40's has always been known to be inadequate in competition, so 1043 has been converted to a sophisticated yet easily reversible dry-sump setup by noted Ford engine guru Dave Dralle. The original ZF Type O transaxle, serial #NR 106 is complete with its original sequential shift drum and has been prepared to literally bulletproof specs by ZF authority Lloyd Buttfloy. In the interest of safety at the incredible speeds 1043 can achieve, the original brakes have been upgraded to vintage legal Alcon Type B calipers with full-floating and ventilated AP brake rotors. Original brake hardware is neatly boxed and inventoried and is included with the car. Another important safety item are the fuel tanks- the original dual saddle tanks were converted to fuel cells by Fuel Safe, and fill through the original factory fillers. Complete safety harnesses for both driver and passenger are fitted, holding 1043's occupants safely in its original seats. One further concession to safety is the nearly invisible integration of a complete fire system, the main bottle hidden behind the radiator.
The incredible sound of a race prepared GT40 is one of the most scintillating sounds to ever be produced by a modern sports car. In recent years Cobra Automotive of Wallingford, Connecticut has maintained 1043, keeping it in top mechanical and cosmetic condition. In 2006, I had the honor of racing this car at the Shelby American Automobile Club's national convention (SAAC 31) with co-driver Tom Yaeger, one of the great Shelby American factory team drivers. When asked how he thought it performed after his first on track practice, Mr. Yaeger commented that 1043 was "just like I remember, only a whole hell of a lot faster!" In 2008, 1043 was returned to its original Guardsman Blue road car livery, which compliments its original black interior nicely. In spite of 1043's incredible track performances, it remains an impressively enjoyable road car, and as such has all of its original road specification equipment present and fully operational from the lights to the windshield wiper. From city traffic to many multiples of the highest legal speeds in this country 1043 does not disappoint.
To see and hear 1043 in action follow the link below to a short video on YouTube-don't forget to turn up the volume!
A true automotive legend, this impressive and original GT40 is a prime candidate to campaign the premiere American vintage races or long distance road rallies as well as a number of wonderful European events such as Frances Tour Auto and the Tour de Espana where its impeccable condition and excellent preparation will make it an ideal entry. P/1043's history is well documented and unbroken, and is listed in the Shelby American World Registry, Ronnie Spain's definitive work "GT40: An Individual History and Race Record", and Trevor Legate's magnificent book Ford GT40. Collectors prize GT40s for their significant contribution to international motor sport in the 1960s, proving time and time again to be premiere American sports car of the era.
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For more information on this car, or to arrange a showing, please email Colin Comer at email@example.com or call Colin's Classic Auto at 414.964.3747.