The GT40 is one of the most recognisable shapes in the car world, but it could have ended up looking very different indeed. In stark contrast to the low, aggressive mid-engined sports car as we know it, these early design sketches reveal a daintier, more graceful direction.
Stumbled upon by Ford‘s archivists this month, the 57-year-old drawings are some of the earliest design sketches for the GT40 thought to exist. Despite the more demure look for the exterior, it was intended to share the same potent mid-mounted V8 layout of the eventual production car, as revealed in the fourth image.
This picture also reveals the intention for the car to have a fighter jet-like canopy instead of doors, with the windscreen, windows and a large chunk of the roof opening as one piece. Factor in the pop-up headlights and you have one exceptionally cool design.
A week on from the completion of the sketches, a clay model was produced, by which point the car had evolved into something lower and beefier. Closer to the eventual GT40 production car, but still a distant relative.
And yes, a full 21 years before the Ferrari Testarossa arrived, this model was rocking the 80s supercar’s beloved vaned side intakes. Judging by the shut lines, the model retained the canopy concept seen in the earlier GT40 drawings.
What do you think of this proposed look for the GT40?