Ed Boblitt's wife bought him this car for his 75th birthday! This GT40 Mark II was built by Superformance in South Africa and has an original Carroll Shelby VIN number from 1966. This is the same type car that was featured in the movie, Ford vs. Ferarri. Ed tells us about the race history of the car and how he came to own it. We also take it out on the road for a drive.
Hi folks and welcome to Center Lane, I'm Bruce Hitchen. Today we're in Scottsdale Arizona and we're going to be speaking with Ed Boblitt who owns this gorgeous 1966 Ford GT40 Mark II. Now this is about as close as you can get to one of the original race cars that won against Ferrari in 1966. Now let's talk to Ed.
I enjoyed Carroll Shelby's cars. I've had four GT500s and I had a Viper, I had an AC Cobra. They were all Shelby cars and once I told my wife well I sat in one of these that had been raced and wrecked and repaired, was on tour around the United States had Ford dealers for sale. But it was a car you didn't have a title for, it didn't have a VIN number and you couldn't drive it on the street. So it didn't make much sense to drive a car like that. That's in a museum, I'm sure today and it's a multi-million dollar car but I sat in that and I told my wife the story that I'd sat one of the originals. She had the owner of the race team that I went with track this car down. It was in storage in Nevada someplace, I don't even know where but she found it and it was a total surprise on my 75th birthday. And the best part about it was, I got to pick the engine and the transaxle and the clutch in this car because they're built with no power plant. They're a rolling chassis. It was built in 2011 but the title is 1966 because it is about as close as you can get to the original 1966 car as you can get. It does have Carroll Shelby's autograph on the dash, it has the Carroll Shelby VIN number and it's also in the Shelby Registry as an authentic 1966 GT40 Mark II and the Mark II's are distinguished by the the outside vents on them.
I got Bob Bondurant's autograph on the dash of my car also. So I got Shelby's and Bob Bondurant's. And this car, this type of car finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd in 1966 at Le Mans and that angered Enzo Ferrari so much that he went to the FIA, the sanctioning committee for the Le Mans race and got them to change the size of the engine. So in '67, Ford couldn't run a 427, they had to go to a 302. Ford also beat them in '66 '67 '68 and '69. So I've always had an interest in the car. I went to Le Mans in 2016, 50 years after this car won in Le Mans and 2016 was the year to beat Ferrari again with the little Ford V6 twin-turbo Ecoboost engine. I went to Daytona in January to watch the inaugural race of the new V6 and the third version of this car. There have been three okay. Well Ford did extremely well in 2016 2017 2018 2019, beat Ferrari again.
The company is in South Africa, it's called Hillbank and the subdivision is Superformance that built this car. And they make 10 of these a year for worldwide sales. Only 10 a year and it takes 9 months from the day they start until they roll it out...push it out the door with no engine, no transaxle, no clutch. Same interior, same dash, same instruments. The hood, the bonnets, they both fit on the original race car. The doors fit, the difference is this car has actually been enhanced. It's probably better than the original car in that, this car has new competition Willwood racing brakes on it. Does not have bad brakes from the 60s as you saw in the movie, Ford vs. Ferrari. I got to pick the engine. He gave me a list of probably 50 engines I could have put in here. This thing will take a 289, a 302, 351, 427, Roush or Coyote engine. All of them. I picked the all-aluminum Ford Racing engine which is actually more powerful than the original race car's. They both have 427 cubic inches, I have 650 horses, that's more than the original car. So I got to pick that engine and that transaxle and had to have the clutch made to match between the RBT 5-speed transmission the transaxle and the engine.
They found the the original car did not have this hole in the hood. Supposedly the hood was flat and at about 200 miles an hour on a test track it came off the ground. It wanted to go flying so Ford engineers just cut this hole. Air comes through the radiator system here, forces the hood down, forces the entire front end of the car down.
I have a phenomenal wife. She was in the insurance business and she bought this car, it does over 200 miles an hour, she's trying to kill me for the insurance money. No that's not true but she buys me crazy gifts. She found this car for me on my 75th birthday.
It is street legal because the company in South Africa, Hillbank did put turn signals on it and it has brake lights and that stuff. All the safety features that are mandatory are in this car. It does have a horn. Not many race cars have a horn.
It's fun to drive, you get all kinds of thumbs up. I get honked at all the time, so it's just fun to to be with and sit behind the car at cruises and car shows and let the people enjoy the car and give them a history of what's behind this actual car.
I can hardly wait to be 100, I want to see what I get.