1967 Sebring Poster

Hi Bill
Sorry for the delayed reply. Busy weekend. Either Gary or Gazza is OK. I am called many other things by my 'friends' but we wont go into that!
The original X-1 car was stripped of all parts after sitting at SAI after its Sebring 66 win. The final skeletal remains of the tub had no use to anyone so they were cut up into quarters then loaded into a truck and tipped into a local landfill site before having a housing construction built over it. Mr Spain has already correctly stated the full situation and the SAI person who did the bad/sad deed (we have also re-veried directly with him).
Our research has confirme that those chassis remains were riddled with stress fractures which seem to have been due to poor process controls by Abbey panels who supplied McLaren with the part built lower tub in the first place, together with Abbey's wrong choice of alloy material in certain critical structural areas. The engineer who was sent over from Mclaren UK to the US with the car in 65 was explaining how he had to drill dozens of small holes at the ends of the stress fractures priort to Sebring 66 race to try and stop the cracks spreading.
So, even if you were a tunneling expert with hi-tech metal detectors, still nothing would be left from those remains after 45 years+ of underground corrosion, so any remains of any excavated panels would be totally unusable.

Yes, we are constructing a perfect recreation of X-1 but are incorprating original authentic 1964/65 GT40 parts from the original car itself wherever possible and/or from other specific GT40 MkII's, using the exact original construction methods even down to the same rivetting patterns on the alloy panels and the same but improved rivetting/welding tricks for the steel to alloy sections. We are incorprating origiinal 1960's aviation grade alloy panels/rivets wherever structural safety permits us to do so and correct grade/gauge of modern steel panels where appropriate.
BUT we will be using the correct annealing methods for these aviation grade alloys as well as improved production & bonding processes as well as strengthening in the critical load areas, all of which which will be fully sanctioned by the original build team to ensure the original Abbey Panels flaws are not repeated. Plus we have had additional recent supporting advice direct from Mr Eric Broadley himself.
Once the rest of the project physically arrives in NZ we have a local race car & aviation construction expert lined up (already known personally by some of the ex-McLaren engineers) who will be overseeing the manufacturing processes to ensure structural integrity is maintained.

I hope you can see and apreciate that this is an extremely complex project compared to a 'standard GT40', so everything to do with the tub construction will need to be taken very slowly and carefully.

We have only recently emailed detailed information on the project to Mr Ronnie Spain so it will naturally take him a while to decipher and verify it all. This is on the assumption that he wishes to get involved in this project in the first place, but if so then he may well need to do fresh direct research to verify some of our more in-depth information by speaking to the various McLaren people again first hand. I would imagine that he will respond at some point further down the line if & when he is comfortable about getting involved, and once he has the time but we do not wish to pressurise the poor man as he must have enough on his plate with the launch of his new book and I definitely dont want to be the blame for any delays otherwise I can see there will be a few dozen Contracts out on my head!

Hi Ian
I hope the above has also answereed some of your own questions. As far as FAV/JWA were concerned This car was know as 'GT110' as Mr Ronnie Spain has alreadycorrectly reported, but from McLaren's perspective the X-1 car was actually a direct contract job between Ford US and McLaren whereby McLaren were commissioned to build a lightweight GT40 roadster 'Can Am' car for this up & coming race series, but no VIN number was actually applied to the car by FAV or McLaren other than the adopted project name of 'X-1'. Please refer to all the US race magazine literature at the time. Then SAI re-fit then took place in early 66 to take the car to 'X1- GT Mk11' spec as per the winning red 'No.1' car.
Are you saying you live only 2 miles from the old Bruce McLaren Racing Ltd's premises itself? If that is the case than it would be fascinating if you can find out the current situation there and post photos of the site as it looks today.

I will dig out another couple of original pics for you in a moment.

As Gary has already alluded to in an earlier post, there are a few pics appearing in relation to this car from the McLaren factory on the Kiwi website. The Roaring Season - The Roaring Season , I have them saved, but as they are not mine probably should not post here, includes one really good one of the Hewland being fitted.
Hello Jac Mac,
If you can wait a couple of weeks then I will hopefully have received the original prints (and hopefully negatives) coming over from the US, at which point we can upload some higher resolution versions of these.
Sorry - back to the original thread...!

Paul Zimmerman from outside Chicago ([email protected]) had one available asking $350 a few weeks ago on 27th April when I contacted him but I then found one locally in the UK from Historic Car Art ([email protected]).
Still a scary price but a nice piece of history.
Actually, it's supposed to be delivered to me tomorrow if all goes to plan!

Looking for the main March 66 Sebring 12 Hrs poster if anyone knows of a decent original one floating around at a decent price????
Hi all,

I wanted to wait and let Gary have the opportunity to set the record straight by answering the queries of the forum members following the confusion his previous posts seemed to have caused before I commented on this. Glad to see he has done so. So I am now happy to comment.

Rick, you basically have it correct. Circa 1970 the chassis of the X-1 was still sitting around at Shelby American when US Customs turned up. The car had been imported to America on a race and return status, but obviously had not been returned, so US Customs were there to accept a cheque for a large amount of money that the car was certainly – at that time – not worth. There was only one other option, which Carroll Shelby took. Shelby’s fabled engine man Steele Therkleson was hailed across the shop by Shelby and told to go with the Customs guys to the old X-1 and cut it up into segments, and then go with the men and the segments to where the mortal remains of the X-1 would be buried on a building site. Steele, whom I consider to be one of the most ace guys I have ever encountered in all these years that I have been researching the GT40, and whom I am proud to be able to call a friend, told me this true fate of the old X-1 himself. Steele could even remember that he started the cutting-up procedure he stood in the engine bay and began by torching through the middle of the roof/rollover structure and as soon as he was through the outer skin he had to change the setting in order to cut through the different metal structure thereunder.

Steele furthermore reckoned he could still identify the office block which was subsequently built on top of the old girl. So in order to not be responsible for me running off to buy a metal detector, he didn’t tell me the location!

So, straight from the horse’s mouth, we have the actual true fate which befell the X-1.

Hindsight, of course, inspires the question: how could that have been allowed to happen? But the same hindsight, and the massed documentation I have accrued over the years, also provides the answer. Obviously, in the first place, by 1970 there was no further race potential for the X-1, and even if the amount of duty being sought by US Customs had been a reasonable amount, there would have been no sense in paying out extra on a car that would never be needed again. Also, back at that time, a used race car had only a fraction of the value of a similar but unraced road car. Boy, how times have changed since then. But back to the value of the duty being sought by US Customs, and it is safe to say that the amount being sought was not by any stretch of the imagination reasonable. The actual figure is not known to me, but with reference to the two roadster chassis which had gone to Shelby American in March 1965, in 1968 US Customs had made a similar approach regarding importation problems with those two cars. Ford USA wrote to Ford UK urgently requesting details of every conceivable specific extra cost involved in producing those two cars, as if US Customs was not satisfied with the details supplied, it would put its own value on the cars for tax purposes, and it was believed the figure that was in mind was $2,000,000 for each car! So, all things considered, when US Customs turned up that day at Shelby American, the fate of the X-1 was sealed.

I am glad that Gary has very specifically straightened out the misunderstanding that his first couple of posts about the current X-1 project he is involved in apparently caused.

And with that confusion now out of the way I imagine we all wish the project a successful completion. It has always amazed me that despite ever more years having passed nobody had attempted to accurately replicate this missing one-off GT40. Now that it is at last happening, and happening with attention to detail almost beyond belief, I look forward very much to seeing the finished result.

Incidentally, I think it was also Steele who told me that the Roy Lunn designed Mustang open 2-seater from 1962 had been given the nickname “Little Ed”, so when the X-1 came along at was almost inevitable that it got known as “Big Ed”. There is no way whatsoever that the then still teenage Edsel Ford II had anything to do with the X-1 or its Kar Kraft destined sister car X-2. The first date I have involved for these cars, when the proposal for an alloy-chassis GT40 roadster was first suggested, is as early as July 1964. At that time Edsel was not yet even 16 years old.

Ronnie Spain

Rick Muck- Mark IV

GT40s Sponsor
Thanks Ronnie,

So my brain cells are yet totally pickled!

As you point out, while today we fawn and drool over old race cars, back in the day nothing was worth less than "last years race car". Proof is the "fire sale" of the Shelby Daytona Coupes and GT40s selling for less than a decent new economy car in the UK.

And the "big Ed" tag was certainly in honor of the Edsel car, not Edsel B. Ford I or Edsel B. Ford II.
Dear Ronnie
We would like to thank you for your support and also for your kind words & encouragement towards the project.
We will try to bring further updates and photos as and when the project gets fully re-established over in the New Zealand workshop facilities.
Proof is the "fire sale" of the Shelby Daytona Coupes and GT40s selling for less than a decent new economy car in the UK.

Rick and those interested......as I sat in the audience for the "Great Endurance Drivers" at this years Amelia Island event I recall David Hobbs stating that after a race some of the drivers were approached by Ford (I believe) to purchase the cars they had just raced as they had little value so they asked if anyone would be interested in buying them. Hobbs asked how much they wanted and the reply was $5000.00....to which Hobbs replied "What, $5000.00....for a Ford!?"

I think he added but barley audible..."who bloody knew."