fordgt40_1007





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The GT40 P #1007 left the factory in August 1065 and was the second GT40 to be incorporated into the Ecurie Ford France of Henri Chemin (*). Its first appearance was at the 1965 Paris motor show where it was displayed on the Ford France stand. Then it will be raced during the 1966 and 1967 seasons, totalling about twenty events, starting by the preliminary Le Mans test session in april 1966, where the car took the sixth best lap. For the 1966 Le Mans 24-Hour race (June 18-19), no less than 103 Ford were entered, eight MkIIs which legitimately captivated the attention and five 4.7 liter MkIs, including #1007 in the hands of Guy Ligier and Bob Grossmann (instead of Henri Greder as initially planned). The Franco-American pair was occupying the 12th position when it had to retire in the 16th hour, after 205 laps, with the same engine distributor problems which had alredy eliminated three of the GT40 MarkIs, the last one skidding off the track a few laps later. Again, none of the five GT40 MarkI could finish the race.

Photo : Good start for #1007 at Le Mans.

After its unique victory at the Paris Coupes du Salon with
Ines Ireland, #1007 driven by Jo Schlesser, was severely accidented in the first lap of the Paris 1000 Kilometers in October. It was rebuilt according the 1967 specifications and will accomplish an honourable 1967 season with the French pair Jo Schlesser / Guy Ligier : sixth overall at the Monza 1000 Kilometers, accident at the Targa Florio and 10th overall at the Nurburgring 1000 Kilometers, which wrapped up its racing career.
So, no really outstanding or memorable achiement during those two years, and however #1007 became very well-known throughout the world of car enthusiasts but for another reason : its appearance in the film
“Un homme et une femme” (a Man and a Woman) by Claude Lelouch which was a world wide phenomenon made #1007 a movie star. The film contains a long sequence where Jean-Louis Trintignant, as a race car driver, is testing #1007 (still with its Borrani wired wheels) on the Montlhéry Autodrome, in a fresh and grey morning. The engine sounds terrific, and the Lelouch’s own personal free-form filming style, so specific, made it a vibrant hymn to the GT40 in action. The vision of Trintignant keeping his two hands off the steering wheel while full speeding high up the curved banking was impressive.

In May 1966, when the Cannes Film Festival opened, Claude Lelouch was practically unknown. Realizing that he was awarded the “Palme d’Or” (followed by many other prestigious prizes) for “Un Homme et une Femme” one month before the first Ford victory at Le Mans could not leave all those who like symbols indifferent. In any case, a rather good promotion for Ford.

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(*) The Ecurie Ford France was created by Henri Chemin, the charismatic Public Relations Director of Ford France, in 1962. Members were Maurice Trintignant, Jo Schlesser, Guy Ligier, Henri Greder and Jean Vinatier, among others, driving various Ford cars (Anglia, Cortina, Mustang, GT40) as well as Ford-powered Brabham Juniors. Success was there with seven titles in French championships in 5 years. Henri had a genius for communication and was very successful in promoting the Ford Mustang in France.