"Le Mans" Car Heads to Auction, Aston Martin Commemorates Shelby

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In the aftermath of the tragic passing of racing legend Carroll Shelby and the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans race, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Le Mans--and its history--have reached fever pitch this week. And it has: not only is it the 45th anniversary of an American Le Mans milestone, Carroll Shelby's 1959 Aston Martin DBR1 will be on display at the Circuit de la Sarthe this weekend, and two GT40s--including a Le Mans racer--will go on sale in August.

The GT40s hitting the auction block later this summer in Monterey, California as part of the RM Auctions are a customer car and a racing car.The first lot is a 1968 GT40/Mirage Lightweight Racing Car in the classic Gulf livery, which won the 1000km of Spa-Francorchamps in 1967 (then as the Mirage M1), but had success in other races once it was converted to a GT40. But its most famous turn was as a camera car for Steve McQueen's "Le Mans." McQueen and his Solar Productions company famously chopped the roof off the car and mounted a camera rig, then raced it down the Mulsanne straight at speeds around 150 mph to capture some of the movie's greatest shots. It was later rebuilt and restored. Because it's both a competition car and one with a celebrity twist, this car's expected to go for quite a bit of money-- RM won't even release a price estimate.

As for the other car, the 1967 Ford GT40 MkI road car, there is a price estimate, and it's between $2.3 and $2.7 million. That's a lot of money, but the GT40 does have a good reason to be worth all that: it's likely the lowest mileage road car in the world. The GT40 was built in 1967 as one of just 31 production cars, and was one of six that was signed over to Shelby American for its field managers to use. As of last October the car had just 4749 miles, probably putting it at the top of the pack of least driven GT40 models.

If you're into appreciating milestones more than owning them, however, we've got some news: it's been 45 years since Ford made Le Mans history by winning the endurance race with an American car, American drivers, an American engine, and an American team. The Mark IV Ford GT40, which featured an American 7.0-liter V-8 engine and drivers A.J. Foyt and Dan Gurney, was campaigned by--who else--Shelby American, under the tutelage of the late Carroll Shelby.

Shelby himself was no stranger to Le Mans, having won there in 1959 behind the wheel of an Aston Martin DBR1. As a tribute to both Shelby, co-driver Roy Salvadori, and chief engineer Ted Cutting (all of whom have passed away this year), Aston Martin will pull the iconic DBR1 out of storage and put it on display outside Aston Martin's hospitality suite. Aston also cobbled together footage from the actual 1959 race, creating a YouTube video tribute to the trio.

Source: RM Auctions

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