An incredible list of drivers contributes to this GT40’s incredible racing pedigree, but the results don’t quite match. It’s estimated to fetch millions at auction
This may not be the most famous of the scores of Fords that carried the GT40 moniker. It’s not even the most famous MkIV. But J-10, heading to auction next month in Gooding and Co’s Pebble Beach sale, has a fascinating history nonetheless.
Its tale takes some digging out, too, and it certainly didn’t look then as it does today.
Today, J-10 is carrying the colours of AJ Foyt and Dan Gurney’s 1967 Le Mans-winning red and white, but in 1969 it was white with blue stripes. There was no roof, either. Towering high above its tail was once a moveable dihedral wing, operated by a hand lever.
This was to be Ford’s second attempt at turning the GT40 into something for the big bruising world of Can-Am. The X-1 had tried and failed. The J-10 was supposed to fix that, and it would do so known as the Kar Kraft-developed G7A, or ‘Calliope’ because of its experimental V8 engine.
It was then sold for $1, along with J-9, to Charlie and Kerry Agapiou, who can take much of the credit of trying to take it racing. J-9 would be the development mule, J-10 would chase the glory.
Though trying was the operative word, and none other than Peter Revson, George Follmer, Jack Brabham, David Hobbs, Vic Elford and LeeRoy Yarbrough would do so.
Despite the names, results weren’t forthcoming. In fact, neither were finishes.
Overweight, it struggled to retain its oil…
Revson never actually drove it in anger, retiring at Mosport and St Jovite as early as practice. He managed a total of one lap of Mosport, when Mario Andretti was also listed to drive the car. Follmer’s luck wasn’t much better, failing to make the grid at Mid-Ohio, before retiring two laps into the race at Elkhart Lake.
Brabham, making his first start in Can-Am, shed a wheel at Michigan, having also struck a deal with Bruce McLaren to drive their spare M8B if G7A failed to make the start… Instead, it went for an unprecedented 47 laps before coming to its three-wheeled stop. Using four-stud wheels instead of the usual six was believed to be the cause.
Only John Cannon, who had trounced the big names at Laguna Seca in a McLaren in 1968 and later made a fleeting appearance in Formula 1 with BRM, ever saw the flag in a race with G7A/J10 – in second place, no less.
Can-Am’s annual Japanese jaunt saw a gaggle of North America’s (mainly midfield) pack fly off all-expenses-paid to Fuji, with Lothar Motschenbacher in a (non-works) McLaren, Jackie Oliver in the Autocoast Ti22, Revson in a Lola, Chuck Parsons in a Carl Haas Lola and Tony Dean in a Porsche 908/2 making the trip.
Minoru Kawai won in Toyota’s 7, and Cannon came through from fifth on the grid to claim second place after a full 75 laps.
By this point, the 427 block had been swapped out for a steel 429, and within a year G7A/J10 would be no more. It was struck a mortal blow at Riverside, almost exactly 12 months after its big day in the Rising Sun, in the November of 1970.
Peter Gregg in a Lola T165 was nudged from behind by Jim Adams in a Ferrari 612, Dick Smith spun his McLaren M12 in avoidance and collected Cannon and G7A.
It wasn’t all lost, for according to Adrian Streather’s Ford GT: Then, and Now, J-10 contested more races than the rest of the J-cars combined. Not finish, of course.
The now-unrecognisable car will go under the hammer at Pebble Beach on August 24/25, having been owned by the Agapious until 1989, when it was bought by Martin Yacoobian. Restoration began, to MkIV specifications, but not finished. The job was resumed in 2013, using moulds from chassis J-6, and finalised with a genuine 427 V8 and Kar Kraft T-44 transaxle. It was presented for the first time at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in March this year.
Chassis J-12, with no racing pedigree, sold earlier this year for $1.9million. J-10 is expected to go for more. It’s estimated to fetch between $2,500,000 and $3,000,000.