The Man behind the Pony and the GT40?- Phil Clark
© Holly Clark , Wolfgang Kohrn - 2005, Last update January, 15th. 2011


We  let  'them' speak:
Hot Rod
"The Ford GT ist actually an extension of the concept used in the original Mustang.."

"Ford engineers went to work on the project and by early June 1963, the initial design study work had been completed."

"Unveiled in 1962, this concept (Mustang I) started development of what became the four-time Le Mans winning Ford GT40"
Quote from Ford's own website

From this view you can see the similarities of the headlamps. There should be little doubt, what was the base for the GT40 nose design. Phil Clark designed the Mustang I and he worked partially together with Roy Lunn on body designs that lead to the GT40. (Photo courtesy R.Leffingwell)

Here shown is Roy Lunn in Watkins Glen 1962 with the Mustang I prototype. (Picture archive Holly Clark)
Roy Lunn as the Chassis expert and Phil Clark as the Ford stylist worked very close together on  the Mustang I.

Franco Varani (historian)  
..offered us an insight into the current knowledge on the GT40 and Mustang I separate projects:
Total Performance program was implemented at the start of 1963 to run for 4 years until the end of 1966. After the collapse of the Ferrari talks in May'63, the Total Performance program was revised and the budget also revised to include a new GT program (separate from the sportscar Mustang budget). 

The GT was the responsibility of a new department, the Special Vehicles Activity. The
revised proposals and budget were presented on July 12th '63, rubber stamped between the 15th & 17th, and implemented on the 19th. This also included the contract with Lola.
Ford SVA was set up at Lola Cars in Bromley. Because Ford SVA did not have a corporate identity in
Britain, everything was handled through Lola Cars Ltd whose bank account handled the finances (paid
by Ford of course).

Ford purchased two Lola Mk6GT cars, (complete cars and not chassis). The original Mk6GT Prototype, and the first production car GT/1. GT/2 had been sold to Mecom. Only GT/1 was tested, at Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Goodwood and finally at Monza. The only changes to the car was the fitting of a new engine, and a simulation of Ford's computer designed suspension. Everything else was as Lola built it.

After the Monza tests, Lola Cars moved to new premises at Slough in late August '63. As before, the lease was in the name of Lola and the same arrangements were made for the use of the Lola bank account.
After Le Mans in June '64, Broadley (Lola), was released from his contract. He moved next door, and that was when Ford formed Ford Advanced Vehicles, a wholly owned subsidary of Ford of Britain but financed by Ford Division (USA).
The first five Ford GT chassis, GT/101 to GT/105, were built when Lola was involved. After that the cars are FAV built. 

The Mustang I - There was the full size clay model, the glassfibre showcar, and the running prototype. The clay model has a flattened front lip across the front. When they built the push around glassfibre show car, this flattened edge was retained. The running prototype bodied by T&B did not have this. The prototype also had a retractable swivel number plate holder under the nose. The showcar doesn't. The little lights under the nose are slightly different on both cars. The showcar doesn't have them completely recessed, while on the prototype they are.

Most of the publicity shots of the Mustang are the showcar. The Roy Lunn white paper and the gift pack Ford handed out also depicts the showcar. The picture of the two cars together are the running prototype and the glassfibre show car, (not the nyloc covered clay model). In actuality, the clay model would have been destroyed in the process of making the buck, or plug, for the glassfibre showcar. The same plug was strengthened for shaping the alloy body of the prototype.
The showcar always had the rear number plate "00-00-00", which I have yet to see on
the running prototype, which always seems to have a road legal plate. The pictures on this website which show the car at T&B are the alloy bodied car, not the glass-fibre car. The front on picture shows the scallop for the swiveling front number plate. 
other picture shows the alloy spaceframe inside the car. The showcar never had a chassis, only a simple platform to mount the body, the glassfibre interior and dashboard. It had no suspension, engine or drivetrain, and only a simple steering mechanism so it could be pushed around. At one point it was pictured on the banking at Dearborn complete with
"test" driver.
The glassfibre car may not have been at T&B, only the plug and moulds made from the clay model to make the glassfibre car were sent to T&B. The pictures of the clay model GT road car were taken on 20th Feb '64. Two days previously, a revised Special Vehicles Activity budget estimate calls the car a GT46. 
The Total Perfomance presentation of July 12th '63 suggests the car be called the Thunderbird GT. The GT road car never got any further, the budget for '65 lists the car as discontinued.

The GT40
- Launched as the "GT" it was shown to the British Press on the morning of the April 2nd at Heathrow Airport Hotel. It was flown overnight to JFK New York leaving at 03.00am and arriving at 07.00am. It was shown to the American Press at the Essex House Hotel at South Central Park on April 3rd. After the presentation it went straight back to JFK leaving for London at 03.00am on the April 4th and arriving back in London at 10.00pm the same day.
The pictures you have in your website showing GT/101 being unloaded was when the car arrived at 07.00am. Ford did not arrange a press conference as such at JFK. The car was pushed to the back of the airport where nothing else could get in the shot and pictured by as yet an unknown photgrapher, probably arranged by whoever was charged with picking the car up. It was then loaded on to a trailer and taken to Central Park. Many reports say the car was shown at the New York show. This was a mistake as the show was on at the same time. When the car returned to JFK, it was at night and pitch black.

Thanks to Franco Varani for his status of research 2008.

Important quotes:
Walter Hayes, Director of Ford Advanced Vehicles
"The Mustang I was also the inspiration for the GT40. Freed from the shackles of organised conformity, Ford decided that Total Performance meant conquering all the high peaks of the performance world. An Indianapolis programme was initiated with Colin Chapman and the companys mighty engine division, and Ford's Advanced Vehicle Studio in Dearborn produced a prototype - carrying over some hints of the Mustang I - intended fo Daytona and Le Mans.

Soon a talented, optionated and voluble transatlantic team was formed. John Wyer - then General Manager of Aston martin - was prevailed upon to direct the project - which we called Ford Advanced Vehicles Ltd. - from a small, rented factory on the Slough trading estate. Eric Broadley became involved, when Ford bought two of his Lola GTs to use as mechanical prototypes during the development phase and one of these was soon running at Goodwood. 

The GT40 was proudly unveiled at the Essex House Hotel in New York on April 3rd, 1964, the opening day of the New York Auto Show and two weeks before the Mustang went on sale. 

When John Wyer saw the first full-size clay model of the car in the Dearborn studio he told me he thought it "the most functionally beautiful car I have ever seen".  That opinion was shared by everybody at the unveiling - although by then John was not pleased. Ford wanted to show the GT40 - taking the car out of the Slough workshop for only a few days - but John had just two months to go before Le Mans and was conscious that there was much testing and development to do. . (Walter Hayes, 1997)

The engine of the GT40 Mark 1, the 4,2 litre based on a 289cui. (photo Ford)

The facts of the GT40 development:
"Through the 1962 Mustang concept, Ford had already developed a relationship with Roy Lunn, an Englishman who started his career at Ford of
Britain but came to the United States in 1958. 

Because Lunn and his team would ultimately develop the GT40, one can think of Mustang I, a mid-engined sportscar that spawned the classic production vehicle, as a precursor to GT40 in a philosophical rather than technical sense. Aluminum-bodied and lightweight, the two-seater was equipped with a 1.7-liter V-4 and some running gear from period Ford Cortinas. Aside from the mid-engined layout, it bore little resemblance to the Le Mans racers that would soon make Ford proud, but Mustang I was still essential to the GT40 program; it proved to Ford management that an international collection of engineers could form a successful product development team.

After working on the Mustang I, Roy Lunn, along with Ray Geddes and Donald Frey, turned toward the racing effort. They found that the "Grand Touring" car Ford conceived to win at Le Mans had much in common with the new Lola GT, a low-slung coupe developed by Eric Broadley in Slough, England, not the least of which was the American V-8 mounted amidships a rarity for European cars of the time.

Displayed in January 1963, at the London Racing Car Show, the Lola GT was hardly complete, but it formed an excellent foundation for the development of the Ford GT40. Essential elements like the monocoque center section, the broad side sills (they doubled
as fuel tanks) and the aerodynamic profile, made their way to the GT40, and Broadley, short on funds, was eager to join the Ford team."

Doing Homework
An excellent website of the GT40 History:




Staged April 2nd, 1964 at the NY airport for "approval by Ford Execs". Ford Media site pic and quote.







After being transferred in February 1965 to the Essex Ford Design facility (things moved to UK in Dec. 1964) Phil worked later as well on the MK3 design - at least occasionally. 
But Phil also travelled a lot between the US and UK in the period before his move. Roy Haynes (who is actually mentioned above in the letter) and John Fallis got him finally over to the UK. 


The GT40 Mark I at the Nuerburgring 1964 with Bruce McLaren and Phil Hill

Pictures courtesy Archive H. Clark/W. Kohrn and Ford except where indicated

The Connection between the Mustang I and the GT40. 
Some historians - like Karl Ludvigsen and Gary Witzenburg  - plus a few well-known journalists  from big 60ies magazines have documented the obvious link of the Mustang I prototype and the first GT40 body design. 

We put a focus on the timeframe of late May 1962 after the Mustang I roadster project was started early April 64, when the first GT40 was presented to the press and we'll have a look at the body design only.
Finally we will add some interesting information to this research from the personal diarys of somebody who was a key player in the Ford design studios from the beginning - Phil Clark. 
Unfortunately he was totally forgotten and not recorded in the history books - because he died already in 1968. Some seem to have overwritten history records in fact to get him deleted. But there are some former colleagues who dared to confirm our doubts in the records, but cannot speak out for obvious reasons.  

If you are interested in the common opinions about the well known Lola GT link, the popular "PR gig heritage" etc., first read The Autosport Forums Nostalgia
thread from 2000-2008 (5 pages)  

You can actually feel the heat, such a discussion quickly takes. 

We are researching the obvious grey zone where Ford was with its design, when the project was transferred to Lola.

In a Motorsport magazine 2008, Eric Broadley himself says: 
"When the initial deal was made, I was going to control the design and the engineering, but Roy Lunn politiced it away from me. Lunn decided he wanted a steel monocoque, whereas the MK6 was aluminium. ... Then they designed a body for the car with no discussion with me, just sent it over to us. High nose, low tail, hopeless. ... The aerodynamic problems finally got through to them and they did something about it, but it wasted so much valuable time."

We're still having a closer look at it to align notebooks with "official" time schedules. The results will end up in Hollys book No. 2 - written as a scrap book however - just as she finds the hints in her Dads books.

Now lets bring up some interesting bits of information. 
We've put  well-researched material from GT40-historian Franco Varani (researching for Ronny Spain) in the left column further down for your complete picture, since we don't want to overlook details we did not have back then. Still we are interested in the body design process only that came initially from Ford USA..

Have a look at these pics of the Ford GT40 prototype body dated 23.Oct. 1963 at the NVSAAC webpage 

You'll find those pics at the bottom ot that page..

Two bodies most probably done as well by  Troutman and Barnes (but we will check that again) went to Lola/UK to be fitted to the 2 Lola prototypes, bought by Ford.

Now you might be even more interested to dive with us into the  Ford Design studios 1962 - 1964 and ready to listen  to Holly Clark and her findings about her Dad's role in Ford design. Those will be mainly part of her second book, but
we will follow along with some sneak previews.

In addition we'll have a first look at  the Mustang I designer Phil Clarks relation to Roy Lunn and the GT40 body development. Both of them worked on the Mustang I project and continued to work together later. 

In a first contact
Roy Lunn remembered Phil Clark as one of the young men working with him

Roy Lunn himself writing about the Mustang I
"Ford will have a new sports car in less than one year" and "...the Mustang meets all F.I.A. and S.C.C.A regulations.."

Picture courtesy Gary L. Witzenburg

The concept of a Mustang I coupe (1962) is shown above. 
Note the rear fender sweeping lines of the GT40 blended with the Mustang I lines. Work on a Mustang coupe based on the Mustang I prototype started in May 1962 already and continued through 1962 and 1963.

The Lola MK6, of which Ford bought 2 cars to use their chassis, was first shown by Eric Broadley in January 1963 at a racing  car show.

Ex Aston Martin's
Roy Lunn worked already as the Project coordinator with chassis engineer Bob Negstad and Designer Phil Clark on the Mustang I in Dearborn. Together with Phil Remington and a small team - and for the first time in history designing chassis elements with Fortran computer aid operated by Chuck Carrig  - he was assigned of making the already designed Mustang I a running vehicle and not only that. They were studying actual racing cars already from May 1962 as this picture prooves. 

Read more from the with important quotes on the sports car development.

For the GT40 development Roy Lunn went back to the UK in 1963 to work on this project with Ray Geddes and John Wyer at Ford Advanced Vehicles/Slough. 

In May 1963 Ford was turned down by Ferrari. In Le Mans 1963 Ford watched the Lola MK6 and decided to cooperate with Eric Broadley. 
Picture of Lola MK6 at the Nurburgring

Phil Clark initially travelled back and forth between the US and UK acc. to his records in 1963/64. In December 64 finally the Clarks moved their stuff to the Essex Design centre and Phil started work there on other projects like the Capri and Cortina in early 1965.

We would like to differ between the chassis design and the body design and will have a closer look at both after reviewing relevant publications and talking to existing contacts plus checking Hollys files. 
In fact Karl Ludvigsens Book "The fastest Fords" from 1971 already shows the direct link and  has pictures, drawings and construction sketches of the Mustang I coupe that led to the GT40. There is little doubt after paging through that book alone.

(Note: after a few requests from book writers/journalists for additional, Hollys book has still priority in the publication of course. Unfortunately Holly has suffered some injuries and health issues during the past years up to 2011, that delay the publication.).

The MK1s technical development by FAV managed by John Wyer/John Wilment and based on the Lola GT car from Eric Broadley is certainly a well-known fact, we are focussing first on the link of the Mustang I prototype, the ongoings in the Ford studios and the original Mustang I team working on sports cars styling suggestions in the Ford studios including  Phil Clark. 

Meanwhile read  for further info about the role of Phil in the Advanced design studios.

A closer to the final body design scale model in the Ford design studios. Note that the original Mustang I side scoop is now missing, while the nose is still maintained.  

Roy Lunn:
"We worked 1 year on the GT40 in the US, then one year in the UK, 
then we brought it back to the US" 

Is this body dated Oct. 23, 1963 really that different from the Mustang I coupe concept drawing above? You'll be the judge.

"A string of successes has greeted their appearance. The one illustrated here is the first Ford GT, designed by the Styling Center in Dearborn and built in England in 1963/64. At its second appearance it became the holder of the lap record at the Le Mans 24 Hour race, won first overall at Daytona Continental and first in class at Sebrig. 

The GT Mark 1, a two-seaster competition Gran Turismo, was born from a remarkable operation of style, engineering and aerodynamics in which neither men nor means were spared. The result is an extraordinary coupe, only 40 1/2 inches high, equipped with a Cobra V-8 engine, whose performance in the first round is wiping out European supremacy. Cars like this have flown in competition at over 200mph and the oustanding win at le Mans also proves its exceptional strength and absolutely perfect functioning. 

Functional aerodynamic form is the basis of the body shape: low front of slim section and very reduced drag coefficient; uniform side and cut-off tail incorporating, blended in a single unit, roll bar, rear bumper and curve of the roof. This semi-monocoque structure is in steel utilizing the roof skin section as a stressed member; the seats are fixed and form an integral part of the chassis." 

(Quote: G.Bellia on Ford Styling Center at Dearborn)

Ford had more in mind, when picking Clarks idea about the 2-seater sports car - this advertisement points already to the GT40
Picture courtesy Mark S. Gustavson Archive

Henry Ford himself did not want the GT40 name on the stripe, thus it carries only the Ford. This is one of the two first chassis at the NY airport 2. or 3rd. April 1963
Picture courtesy Ford

One of the GT40 (#101) with its new Ford designed body went back to the US to be "approved by some Ford Execs" as Ford puts it on his Motorsport History Media site. Here is it's appearance at the New York airport April 2nd 1964, to be displayed at the Essex Hotel in New York.

After the approval (Ford Media site quote) it was immediately returned to UK to be prepared for Le Mans 1964. Ford dates the start of the Le Mans testing on the 16th. April 1964., Ronny Spain fixes it in his famous GT40 register for the 18th/19th. April.

The GT40 still with its original nose in Le Mans 1964 for testing. Obviously the airstream of the front was a problem, which lead to several changes during development. Later the nose was changed more radical. The car wasn't stable at all and got airborn and both cars crashed. A rear spoiler was added after repair for improved stability and solved the issue.

Still we really wonder wether Ford would continue to use this nose so long for just a PR gig, as the saying is. We have to assume as of now  they did not know better and had to learn it on the Mulsanne straight... that Le Mans racing is different than Sebring.

Both GTs #101 and #102 at Le Mans 1964 during testing.#102 was first used at the Nuerburging 1964.

The changed nose during inspection at the Nuerburgring 1964 (Bruce McLaren/Phil Hill car #102)

The GT46  road car study that was soon listed as "discontinued"

A unique clay model design that never went into production

Let's hope Holly can finally finish her Scrap book of what she found one day soon.

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