There was life after Le Mans for the GT Mk IV in the hands of the Agapiou brothers – but it was far from invincible
The Mk IV was all dressed up with no place to go when the FIA banned engines larger than 5 litres from endurance racing immediately after it won Le Mans in 1967. So Ford transformed two coupés into roadsters designated G7As and developed an all-aluminium three-valveper-cylinder 7-litre engine nicknamed the Calliope for the Can-Am series.
Unfortunately, the Calliope turned out to be a catastrophic triple threat – overweight, underpowered and unreliable. So in 1968, Ford sold two chassis – J-9 and J-10, which had been built but never raced – to Charlie Agapiou and his brother Kerry for $1 apiece.
Mario Andretti tested J-10 a week before winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1969. The chassis was excellent. The engine, not so much. Over the next two years, Agapiou would go through pretty much the entire Ford race inventory – 427s, a 429, even a 494 – without finding a durable motor. “At one point,” Charlie says, “we thought about running a Chevy!”
Thanks to a long association with Shelby American, Agapiou was able to entice a Who’s Who of road racers to drive the car – Peter Revson, David Hobbs, John Cannon, Jack Brabham, George Follmer, Vic Elford and even NASCAR ace LeeRoy Yarbrough. But the G7A failed to finish any of the 15 Can-Am races it entered in 1969 and 1970. In fact, it went the race distance only once, at the Fuji 200 in 1969.
The honeycomb-aluminum tub was badly damaged in a fiery wreck at Riverside in the final Can-Am race of the 1970 season. The car passed through several hands before being restored to Mk IV specifications. Now painted in red Le Mans livery, it’s being offered for sale for £1.35 million by F40 Motorsports in the US.