You never know where you’ll find a rare or valuable vehicle. But there are certain areas of the country where there is a higher density of collectible classics, either forgotten or fully-restored. Southern California is one of them, being the center of the entertainment industry, as well as having a legendary car enthusiast culture dating back to before World War II. These two factors combined make for some fertile grounds for barn finds. Mustangs & Fords found this find on the site The Gentleman Racer.
This rare Ford GT40 Mk I chassis was found in a suburban Los Angeles garage, surrounded by various garage junk, and with a wooden frame seemingly built around it. The car was last driven in 1977, when an engine failure sidelined the car, and an injury kept the owner off the track for decades. At a recent meeting of the Friends of Steve McQueen car show, the car was dug out of its garage.
Based on the photos on The Gentleman Racer Web site, it appears most of the critical components are present and accounted for, including an extra set of tires, the engine (in need of rebuilding) and a set of headers.
A close look at the car shows the name “Salt Walther” on the door. Walther was a well-known racer in the 1970s, and was involved in a serious accident at the 1973 Indianapolis 500. Walther suffered severe burns on 40 percent of his body, but returned to compete in the 1974 Indy 500, where he finished in 17th place.
Photos Courtesy of John Shaughnessy, and The Gentleman Racer