In vintage racing, there are two prevailing factions. The less sanguine group is made up of older men who are getting in touch with their adolescence and savoring all the details of the vintage machinery, now having the means to buy the cars they aspired to drive as teenagers. The other group is made up of people who could care less what the price tag comes to or the history of the car, and they simply want to drive the tires off it. For them, the fact the car is a rolling piece of motorsport means little.
Though the two get along, they probably can’t quite understand why the other group insists on driving the way they do. Fortunately, Superformance has designed a car to please both groups. Their GT40 replicas are as close as well-heeled enthusiasts can get to Le Mans 1966 without spending a few million on a genuine Ford.
Plus, the GT40 MkII from Superformance is roughly ⅔ the same as the original ‘66 car. However, it is updated slightly to handle track work. Though Superformance builds the chassis, they call in several specialists for the brakes, engine, suspension, and so on. The dampers come from Bilstein, Wilwood supplies the big brake kit, H&R provides the springs, and Roush builds a 427 to sit betwixt the rear wheels, though a big block is available for those who want to respect the original car as much as possible.
A lightweight chassis tips the scales at just 2,200 pounds, and the 7.0-liter motor makes 550 horsepower and 525 lb/ft of torque—which ought to fire it down the road faster than some modern supercars. What’s more, the motor builds and builds towards its redline. It’s not all torque; the top-end requires some bravery to access, but will reward anyone who has the sand to brush the redline. That on-cam feeling is something that, no matter the engine response and low-end torque modern cars offer, can never fully match in thrills.
The savage delivery of the motor and the yesteryear design means it’s not a car that suffers fools. Jethro Bovingdon notes, “you can just—just about—play with this car on the edge, but you do not do so lightly.” Even though it’s raw-edged, the GT40 replica is communicative, poised, and graceful, and as Drivetribe’s editor-at-large remarks, “it’s reassuring; it stays with you.” Being able to balance savagery with some control is why this car makes skydiving seem like an afternoon at the putt-putt course.
While the original car was occasionally referred to as “the world’s fastest sauna,” the Superformance MkII neatly hides its air conditioning system to try at look as factory as possible. Seeing as a good number of these cars will be sold to men in their forties and fifties, it’s probably a good way to ensure their buyers won’t suffer heat stroke while behind the wheel.
At $180,000, it will only be available to a small number of folks with a strong attachment to vintage racing. However, seeing as it looks as good as the original and costs one-hundredth the price of some, it almost seems like a bargain.