Our first monthly meeting of the new year was a well-attended occasion, that thanks to daylight saving and clement conditions, gave members yet another opportunity to venture out in their sporting and classic vehicles. The established protocol at this venue is that parking on the road outside the Clubhouse is reserved for sporting and classic vehicles – there’s only space in this impromptu display area for eight to ten vehicles, so please use the large car park nearby to park your utes, wagons and Camrys.
Taking pride of place inside the Dining Room this month was Mike Whitford’s recently purchased and resurrected Ford GT40 replica. The invitation to purchase this car, which had always been on Mike’s wish-list, came about 12 months ago when the previous owner/importer moved to the Philippines and Mike took up the offer of first refusal.
The story surrounding the development of the GT40 is well-known and has recently been dramatised in the film FORD v FERRARI. The dramatisation has its shortcomings and inaccuracies, but the GT40 did go on to beat Ferrari and win the LeMans 24 Hour race in 1966, ‘67, ‘68 and ‘69. The ’68 and ’69 cars used the 302ci V8 engine which is also the engine used in Mike’s car.
This replica is a 1993 KVA. The company was started by Kenneth Vincent Attwell in 1982. He was a senior production engineer with Ford and was involved with the big body panel moulds and replacement parts for GT40 race cars. Later he received permission from Ford to create moulds from the original GT40s and build replicas. It is because of this access that the KVA is the most accurate of all the replica makes, some of which take their moulds from the KVA cars.
The car was in a pretty poor condition when Mike took delivery. It hadn’t been run for 5 years and parts of the car had been exposed to damaging workshop activity such as welding and angle grinding. The body is fibreglass and the back panels especially, required a lot of work to bring up to the mark. The front nose cone was repaired and repainted at D-Line Panels in Warragul, who also blacked out the headlight recesses and arranged to have the badly corroded wheels refurbished. Wade Brothers from Neerim South were tasked with rebuilding the brakes and the fuel system which includes twin tanks in the sill panels, twin pumps filters, regulators and fuel gauge units. Wades also rebuilt the Holley carburettor and strengthened the underside of the car, including the seat mounts, with stainless steel sheet.
This is one stunning looking car – a design that certainly belies its age. Mike is in the process of obtaining a Club permit and has only driven the car on this debut occasion to the Drouin Golf Club. Mike and his team aren’t even sure whether the Renault Alpine transaxle is a 4 or 5 speeder! Some fettling still needs to be done on the gearshift cables and linkages before the right-hand gearshift is working as it should. But I’m sure that once that’s sorted out, we’ll be seeing this car on the road regularly and perhaps even on the track.