A fast piece of movie history for $10m

When Steve McQueen wanted a really quick camera car for his Le Mans movie, he used this Ford GT40, which goes up for auction next month. Picture /RM Auctions
When Steve McQueen wanted a really quick camera car for his Le Mans movie, he used this Ford GT40, which goes up for auction next month. Picture /RM Auctions

A Ford GT40 Le Mans racer is expected to sell for more than US$8 million ($10 million) at next month's classic-car auctions in California.

The works Gulf/Mirage, finished in trademark powder blue with a marigold stripe, was raced by Jacky Ickx at Daytona and Le Mans trials in 1968.

It was later used as the camera car in Steve McQueen's 1971 film Le Mans, said RM Auctions, which will be offering the Ford in its Monterey sale on August 17-18.

McQueen stipulated that the film would show the cars naturally and not use sped-up film.

To do that, he needed camera cars capable of speeds of up to 150 miles an hour (240km/h) - and that included the GT40.

The GT40 was created by Ford in the early 1960s to beat Ferrari at long-distance sports car races, after the US car giant failed to buy the Italian company in 1963.

"They're fabulous motor cars," said Adrian Hamilton, chairman of Hampshire dealer Duncan Hamilton & Co in Britain, who sold this same Gulf/Mirage works example for about £25,000 ($48,000 today) in 1983.

"The values are vastly different from Ferraris. Italian racers have an extra excitement and flair."

An apple-green 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO made for race driver Stirling Moss sold in a private transaction for a record US$35 million in May.

The Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa in which American driver Phil Hill won the 1958 Le Mans 24-Hour race was sold by French collector Pierre Bardinon for about US$25 million in May, according to anamera.com, a site that tracks classic car transactions.

The RM sale also includes a 1967 GT40 Mk I, one of 31 road cars produced. Lacking a Le Mans history, and a Steve McQueen connection, it is expected to fetch US$2.3 million to US$2.7 million.

- NZ Herald

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