You Should Have Bought this $100,000 Ford GT40 Mk IV in 1976

You really missed out, especially if you weren't alive yet.

Le Mans Test Run
Getty ImagesReg Lancaster/Express/Hulton Archive

For many years, the last pages of Road & Track contained classified ads. They're among my favorite pages to read when I'm looking at our old magazines, with an amazing collection of cool, important sports and race cars. I was just thumbing through some issues from 1976 when I think I found the greatest listing of all—a 1967 Ford GT Mk IV.

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Pictured above: Bruce McLaren testing a Ford GT40 Mk IV at Le Mans in April, 1967.

The GT40 was a special car, but the Mk IV was arguably the best version—and one of the rarest, with only 12 built. Designed specifically to win the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Mk IV was much lighter and more aerodynamically efficient than the Mk II that had won the previous year (the Mk III was a street car based on a Mark II). The car was developed and campaigned by Shelby American and won the only two races it entered in 1967—Sebring and Le Mans.

So, you can imagine my shock at seeing a Mk IV listed for sale in the pages of the very publication I work for.

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Chris Perkins

This particular Mk IV is chassis J-3, a development prototype that was possibly never raced. Racing Sports Cars, an excellent archive for historic race car information, lists J-3 as in April, 1967 with Bruce McLaren and Mark Donohue at the wheel. Ford ended up bringing four Mk IVs to Le Mans that year, chassis J-5 through J-8, with Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt taking an all-American victory in J-5.

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The seller, J.L. Rodgers III, said the car was restored by race shop Holman & Moody and featured in the July 1972 issue of Road & Track. Rodgers asked $100,000 for the car, which adjusts to about $440,000 in today's money. A lot, to be sure, but the last Mk IV to be sold publicly . If J-3 were to sell for the same amount now, your return on investment would be 438 percent if you bought it in 1976.

But you don't need to build a time machine to get a Mk IV of your own. Gooding & Company will auction J-10 in Monterey this month, with an estimate of $2.5 to $3 million.

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