In the first of two articles, Tim Dunlop takes a look around last month’s Concours of Elegance held at Hampton Court Palace.
Having attended this event last year I knew that walking through the East Front gates of Hampton Court and into the resplendent gardens would leave me with an issue, do I look left or right first?
Well, this year the decision was quite easy given the display directly in front of me.
The organisers had entitled the group of cars ‘Ford vs Ferrari’, 5 glorious historically significant automobiles from the stables of two prideful men involved in one of the greatest rivalries in motor sport. While this rivalry has been well documented in many documentaries, books, and even big-budget Hollywood feature films this display was quite simple in its execution, and to be honest it didn’t need to be any more complicated.
The first car in this selection was a Ford GT40. Chassis 1007 was one of ten cars built during the 1965 season, it was the second car allocated to Ford of France and was finished in their livery of white with a blue centre stripe and red pinstripes. Following its display at the Monza Racing Car Show and an appearance in the highly-rated Claude Le Louch film ‘Un Homme et Une Femme’, 1007 began its racing career in May 1966 at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Although retired from the big race after 15 hours was perhaps not the start the team wanted, a sixth-place finish at the Monza 1000km and a class win at the Targa Florio began to make up for the disappointment at La Sarthe. An accident in late 1966 while competing saw the car sent back to Ford Advanced Vehicles for a new engine and lighter bodywork before the car returned to competition in 1967 for three rounds of the Worlds Sportscar Championship.
The car would only compete once more at the ‘67 Nurburgring 1000km although in latter years it has been entered in many historic competitions, including the French Tour Auto and Coupes de Printemps.
Next to the Ford stood two Ferrari race cars. Unusual in their un-Ferrari Yellow paint the first car was not one I was instantly familiar with, my knowledge of early prototype racing cars being a little sketchy. A little more research showed this car to be a 365P, although that’s not how it started its life.
Chassis 0828 emerged from Scuderia Ferrari in Italy as a 275P around the same time as the GT40 next to it had left Ford in Slough. Hot on the heels of the Le Mans winning 250P which took victory in 1963, the 275P saw a larger displacement engine and slightly modified bodywork. This car would first see track action at Le Mans test day in April 65 where it would be piloted by John Surtees who gelled with the car almost from the off taking the car to a second-place at the Monza 1000km only a few weeks later.