Whatever Happened to the Ford That Beat Ferrari at Le Mans?

Tracking down the 1966 GT40 Mk II on the eve of "Ford v Ferrari"

Ford GT40 Mk II Le Mans 1966
The Ford GT40 Mk II No. 2 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.
Bernard Cahier/Getty
By Alex Lauer / November 13, 2019 6:05 am

We all know the story of Ford shocking the world and beating Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. Well, even if you don’t, you’re about to learn courtesy of the new film Ford v Ferrari, starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon. But when you leave the movie theater, you may just wonder, whatever happened to the winning car?

While Ford GT40 Mk IIs did claim first, second and third place in that historic race (sorry, spoiler alert!), the one that led the pack was No. 2, driven by Chris Amon and Bruce McLaren. But now, it’s owned (and occasionally driven) by 56-year-old Rob Kauffman of Charlotte, N.C. 

The Wall Street Journal visited the owner of collector car shop RK Motors, and collector himself, to get a look at No. 2 and hear how it came into his possession, rather than being locked up in a Ford office or museum. Here’s what he had to say: 

“I found it by coincidence. A restorer in New Hampshire named Mark Allin was working on another of my cars and he told me that this Ford GT40 Mk II, as it was called (because it stands 40 inches high), might be for sale. I asked which one and he said chassis No. P/1046. I said, if that’s true, I’m interested. A few phone calls and plane rides later, I bought the car and did a 5,000-hour plus restoration in attempt to get it looking exactly as it did on the starting line at Le Mans in 1966.”

Reader: He succeeded. And not only does it look like it did at Le Mans, it runs like it did, too. Kaufmann goes on to note that he brought the car back to the French racetrack in 2018 and drove the circuit. 

He isn’t keeping the car all to himself, though. At the Ford v Ferrari premiere in L.A., No. 2 was there on the red carpet right alongside Bale and Damon (or should we say Ken Miles and Carroll Shelby).

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