Unique pre-production model likely to set new Ford GT record

The Ford GT name may have gained new meaning with the introduction of the second-generation, V-6 powered supercar for the 2017 model year, but enthusiasts will never forget the Le Mans-winning GT40 of the 1960s and the first-gen GT, the car that basically revived the legend between 2004 and 2006. Ford is among those who haven’t forgotten about the previous GT sports car and brings the V-8-powered coupe back into the spotlight by announcing that the first functional prototype, a unique car with exclusive components, will be auctioned in January 2017.

Completed in 2003, a few months before production of the first-gen GT began, the prototype seen here was named CP-1 (for Confirmation Prototype 1) and was the first fully functional GT. Assigned VIN 004, it was also the first GT to be equipped with a drivetrain and full interior, in contrast to the red, white, and blue Ford Centennial prototypes which were non-runners and for exhibition purposes only.

Different from other prototypes, the CP-1 also has a few extra features compared to the production model. It comes with air bags from the fourth-generation Mustang, a steering column from a Ford Windsor van, and various items that were axed before production. Specifically, it includes the silver trim rings on the seats (just like the original GT40), the all-aluminum headliner, and a note on the center console that instructs drivers to "push red button to start" the V-8 engine.

Other goodies include quick-release valves for the fuel tank on the right quarter panel, a set of experimental exhaust pipes, and a carbon-fiber rear clamshell. The later was replaced by an aluminum unit in order to save costs. Unlike the production model, the prototype features a black supercharger and valve cover. However, the V-8 engine features a chip that limits top speed to only five mph for display use only. Finally, the body is adorned by the autographs of 13 members of the original Ford GT development team, including Bill Ford, Camillo Pardo, and Carroll Shelby.

In 2008, CP-1 was purchased from Ford by “GT Joey” Limongelli, a famous GT collector and author of “Ford GT 2005-2006: The Complete Owners Experience,” considered the ultimate Ford GT book. The black-painted supercar will go under the hammer at the 17th annual Scottsdale auction in Arizona, which takes place between January 18 and 22, 2017. There’s no word as to how much it’s expected to fetch, but it should change owners for at least $1 million.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

The first-generation GT might not be as iconic as the original GT40, but it’s definitely one of the most important sports car developed in the U.S. and the quickest road-going Ford until the mid-2000s. As a result, it’s a highly coveted vehicle, with enthusiasts paying big bucks for well-maintained, low-mileage examples. The Heritage Edition cars are usually the most expensive at public auctions, but the CP-1 will likely set a new record for the nameplate.

Press Release

First shown in 2002 to celebrate Ford Motor Company’s upcoming centennial, the Ford GT40 concept car was designed by Camilo Pardo, the head of Ford’s “Living Legends” studio under the direction of Ford design chief J. Mays. Clearly inspired by the GT40s that beat Ferrari at Le Mans in 1966 and dominated there through 1969, the new-generation Ford GT was soon prepared, refined, and tested for production.

A true piece of automotive history, Ford GT prototype CP-1, short for Confirmation Prototype 1, was the first fully-functional Ford GT prototype built in 2003 as part of the all-new GT’s development phase. Assigned VIN 004, it was the first Ford GT prototype to be equipped with an engine, drivetrain, and full interior, in contrast to the red, white, and blue Ford Centennial prototypes which were non-runners for exhibition purposes only and currently reside in the Ford Museum. In 2008, CP-1 was purchased from Ford Motor Company by “GT Joey” Limongelli, the respected GT collector and author of “Ford GT 2005-2006: The Complete Owners Experience,” considered the definitive book on the reborn Ford GT.

First Functional Ford GT Prototype to be Auctioned in January High Resolution Exterior
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In addition to its early provenance, the originality of CP-1 is perhaps what makes the car so tantalizing to hard-core Ford enthusiasts. Its body and engine compartment feature an array of non-standard components and many design features that are exclusive to this prototype, including the air bags, which are in fact Mustang components, and the steering column that was sourced from a Ford Windstar van. The silver trim rings on the seats were eliminated on production cars, the striking Camillo Pardo-designed all-aluminum headliner was replaced in production by a more traditional padded item, and a note scrawled in marker on the center console instructs test drivers to “push red button to start” the mid-mounted V-8 engine, which is mated to a 6-speed transaxle. Outside, the right quarter-panel features two quick-release valves connected to the fuel tank that allow quick changes of fuel grades. Extending beyond the rear bumper, a set of experimental exhaust pipes incorporate a “sniffer pipe” that allowed the engineers to determine engine emissions during testing.

Of further interest, the engine of CP-1 resides beneath a lightweight carbon-fiber rear clamshell. However, when Ford executives learned the projected cost of this item was projected to cost approximately $45,000 to produce, a more traditional and far less-costly aluminum unit replaced it. The engine of CP-1 is fitted with a black supercharger and valve covers, which were replaced in production by a silver blower and traditional Ford Blue valve covers. While CP-1 has a fully functional powertrain and the car has a 17-digit VIN, prior to the sale in 2008 Ford engineers installed a chip in the engine limiting its top speed to 5 mph for display use only. As offered, CP-1 is accompanied by factory Build Sheet documentation, and it retains the test connections and monitoring equipment used during the Ford GT’s road and emissions certification testing.

First Functional Ford GT Prototype to be Auctioned in January High Resolution Exterior
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The vehicle is adorned by the autographs of 13 members of the original Ford GT design and development team including Bill Ford, GT Chief Designer Camillo Pardo, GT Chief Design Engineer Fred Goodnow, and even Carroll Shelby, who played a major role in the Ford GT testing and development program. A true motorsports and design landmark in every respect and an essential part of the Ford GT development and testing process, CP-1/VIN 004 stands as an incredible link bridging the original GT40 of the 1960s to the current Ford GT that took on the world’s best and won at the 2016 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Truly historic as the first powered and fully functional Ford GT prototype, CP-1/VIN 004 offers an incredible opportunity at auction.

Experience all the high energy excitement of Russo and Steele in Scottsdale for yourself! Bidder registration is just $200 and includes admission for all 5 days of “Auction in the Round” action for the bidder and one lucky guest. Stay tuned for further updates on our 17th annual Scottsdale auction and event schedule and join us January 18-22 live from Salt River Fields at Talking Stick!

First Functional Ford GT Prototype to be Auctioned in January High Resolution Interior
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For Enthusiasts by Enthusiasts. ™ At Russo and Steele Collector Automobile Auctions, it’s far more than a tagline – it’s our lifestyle! To obtain further supporting documentation, high-resolution images, or more information about Russo and Steele and our upcoming Scottsdale, Arizona auction, please contact Darin Roberge at darin@russoandsteele.com.

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