A 1968 Ford GT40 race car sold for $11 million on Friday at the RM Auction in Monterey, California. That's a new record for the highest auction price ever for an American-made car.
The 1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Lightweight Racing Car was expected to bring in a hefty sum even before it hit the auction block. The Gulf-liveried car was extremely successful in races ranging from Daytona to Le Mans, but in 1970 the GT40 was withdrawn from race duty for another purpose. Solar Productions purchased the 1968 Ford and removed the roof, using it as a camera car to film key scenes in the acclaimed Steve McQueen film Le Mans. In one scene, the 1968 Ford GT40 was driven down the Mulsanne straight on the Le Mans circuit at over 150 mph, all while filming for the movie. The car has since been fully restored.
RM Auctions says that the race car started a feverish bidding war, and that the crowd erupted in applause and a standing ovation when the final bidding price of $11 million was reached. The GT40 was so desirable that RM didn't even release a price estimate ahead of Friday's auction.
On Saturday, another GT40 was sold at auction. The 1967 Ford GT40 Mark I was one of just 31 production cars ever built, and was handed over to Shelby American as a field test car. The GT40 reportedly has fewer than 5000 miles on the odometer, and garnered a winning bid of $2.86 million.
Other cars that passed through the RM Auction block this weekend include a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder, sold for $8.58 million; a 1955 Ferrari 410 S, which sold for $8.25 million; a1956 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta ‘Tour de France’, which went for $6.71 million; a 1938 Horch 853A Special Roadster that went for $5.17 million; and a 1955 Aston Martin DB3S that reached $3.69 million.
Auction house Goodings also reported strong results: a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster sold for $11.8 million over the weekend, and a 1960 Ferrari "competition" 250 GT California Spyder went for $11.3 million. A 1935 Dusenberg once owned by Hollywood icon Clark Gable, however, was listed at $9 million but failed to sell.
Sources: RM Auctions, Bloomberg