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GT40 makes comeback as Ford GT interest rises

South African company builds new GT40, 85% compliant with original

Published: May 30, 2016, 10:30 PM
Updated: June 8, 2016, 2:56 PM

Superformance GT40

When you crunch the numbers, there are going to be a lot of potential Ford GT buyers that are going to go away disappointed … and empty handed. When you have over 6,500 people vying for one of 500 cars, it’s easy to see that 83% of wannabe-buyers are not going to get one.

And, since Ford’s new supercar was green-lighted for production, interest in the original also piqued, resulting in a considerable upswing in prices for classic GT40s. However, if you’re more interested in looking at and driving the car, rather than how much of a profit you can make when you flip it, then a South African company has a solution … the Superformance GT40.

Superformance GT40 rear

Hi-Tech Automotive builds replica GT40s at its 270,000 sq-ft factory in Port Elizabeth and exports them to all parts of the world (mostly England and America). The cars are sold with the Superformance brand, a subsidiary of Hi-Tech until it was sold to Hillbank Motor Corporation of Irvine, California in 2005. Hillbank also distributes replica AC and Shelby Cobras, Corvettes and Lotus 7s.

“Interest in the GT40 has grown steadily since the model’s 50th anniversary celebration two years ago, and has inevitably been further heightened by the launch of the new GT and Ford’s exciting decision to give it its Le Mans debut exactly 50 years after first beating Ferrari there,” said Nigel Hulme, Managing Director of Le Mans Coupes, which imports the Superformance GT40 into the UK.

The Superformance GT40 is hand-built in South Africa using parts that are mostly compliant with the Ford GT40 originals (85% of current parts are interchangeable with the originals). There are a variety of choices to be made when ordering — MkI or MkII bodystyles, left- or right-hand drive, 430-hp 5.6-litre V-8 or 560-hp 7.0-litre V-8 engine, and the location of the 5-speed manual shifter on the centre console or the door sill for the right-hand drive versions (for people who can’t get used to shifting left-handed).

Superformance GT40 Gurney Bubble

They’ll even add in the famous Gurney Bubble (so called because it was a modification to the Le Mans winning car’s roof to create space for Dan Gurney’s helmet) in the roof portion of the driver’s side door for taller drivers.

Unlike other GT40 replicas, the Superformance all-steel version is classified as a “continuation” because it’s built using an exact replica of the original monocoque chassis (and actually continues the chassis numbering of the original), and features only some components not found on the original — air-conditioning, modern braking system and the availability of left-hand drive.

The cost of the replica starts at just over $90,000 US (about $117,000 Canadian) and can go upwards of $180,000 US (roughly $235,000 Canadian) by the time you start adding in personal upgrades and materials.

Superformance also makes replica AC Cobra roadsters, Corvette Grand Sport coupes, and Shelby Daytona Cobra coupes.