GT40 on fire or how to prevent

Markus

SPRF40
Lifetime Supporter
Hello all,
last weekend a GT40 burned down not far away from me. According to the news nobody was hurt but the 40 is a total loss (see pics).


I did not know the car / owner - anyway I'm sorry for your loss. I can only assume how nice she must have been :(.

Main reason to start this thread is the safety aspect of this.
- What are the most likely reason for a fire?
- What to frequently check?
- What components have which life span?
- What did you do to prevent this from happening?
- What to do in case of a fire (toxic smoke)?
- Etc.

Any thoughts?

Thanks
Markus

P.S. can anybody identify what chassis it was?
 

Neil

Supporter
Hello all,
last weekend a GT40 burned down not far away from me. According to the news nobody was hurt but the 40 is a total loss (see pics).


I did not know the car / owner - anyway I'm sorry for your loss. I can only assume how nice she must have been :(.

Main reason to start this thread is the safety aspect of this.
- What are the most likely reason for a fire?
- What to frequently check?
- What components have which life span?
- What did you do to prevent this from happening?
- What to do in case of a fire (toxic smoke)?
- Etc.

Any thoughts?

Thanks
Markus

P.S. can anybody identify what chassis it was?
Was this incident on the street or at a track?
 

Markus

SPRF40
Lifetime Supporter
German Autobahn


Auto translation:
High damage: Vintage car goes up in flames

A traffic jam then developed on Saturday afternoon on the A96 near Leutkirch in the Ravensburg district. There, a 55-year-old Ford GT40 had caught fire, probably due to a technical defect. The classic car worth 125,000 euros burned out completely, according to police.

The driver had noticed the smoke in time, parked the car on the hard shoulder and got out. One lane of the 96 freeway was closed for the duration of the extinguishing work.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
 

Ian Anderson

Lifetime Supporter
Supporter
My guess the E10 fuel rolled out over recent months across Europe had perished the fuel hoses which cracked spilling fuel,

Changed mine last year when the garage tended to smell like petrol.

Ian
 

Ian Clark

Supporter
Hi Markus,

Glad to hear only the car got killed. Your concerns are quite legitimate given that a car fire is nothing to take lightly.

Anything that would be routine maintenance on modern production car (condition of all hoses, belts, couplings, fluid levels, fittings, bearings, balljoints, rod ends, shocks, gaskets, seals, anything that touches fuel, exhaust leaks, tire pressures etc.) has to incorporated into the upkeep of a GT40.

At a minimum I check fluid levels, look for leaks and check tire pressures before any trip if the car has sat for more than a few days.

The owner of the car noticed smoke and got out of the car, good move. An electrical fire in the cockpit becomes toxic in no time, sucks the air out of your lungs, eyes close involuntarily, you might have 30 seconds to get the car pulled over and bail out. It doesn't matter what kind of car it is (personal experience - Datsun 510).

In my mind a GT40 real or re-imagined must have in the cockpit a master battery disconnect switch the driver car easily reach and a cockpit mounted fire extinguisher on a quick release bracket. Those two things might have saved that car, speculating of course.

Cheers
Ian

PS: A fire suppression system is an excellent investment
 
Soon after my car emigrated from Australia to the US in 1994, the entire contents of the foam filled fuel tank tried to move into the fuel filter. The foam didn't like the transition from Australian to US pump fuel. The fuel lines seemed to be okay.

Lotus Europa were notorious for the fragile plastic T between the left and right fuel tank lines. By now, they should all have been replaced.
 
That is not a 55 year old car it is a kit or replica . News and most of the general public dont know a damn thing about cars they only think they do . I googled it , its true .
 
One look at the rear uprights tells you it is not an original. Anyone driving a car that does not have fuel lines that or rated for use with modern alcohol laden ( modern) fuels is gambling on not have fuel leaks sprayin the engine compartment - get them changed!!
 

Markus

SPRF40
Lifetime Supporter
That is not a 55 year old car it is a kit or replica . News and most of the general public dont know a damn thing about cars they only think they do . I googled it , its true .
Yes, replica - but it was a nice one for sure: centerlock wheels, 8-Stack fuel injection, check out the flap exhaust system....

Public? Google?
See below an "alternative" news articel about the same incident:
An expensive vintage car burned out on the A96 near Wangen on Saturday afternoon. According to the police, the 55-year-old vehicle caught fire around 3 p.m. near the Neuravensburg temporary slip road. The driver was able to park his car on the shoulder in time and leave the vehicle.

The burned-out classic car was a Ford GT40. According to the current state of investigation, the police assume that there was a technical defect. One lane of the A96 in the direction of Lindau was closed for the duration of the extinguishing work.

The model is a sports car that was built from 1964 to 1968 for racing and as a road vehicle. With the GT40, Ford won the Le Mans 24-hour race four times in a row. In total, only 134 units of this expensive vehicle were built.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
 

Howard Jones

Supporter
A true story that happened to me. I have a GTD40 That I bought as a kit back in ...........about 1998?. In any case, it took me about 10 years to get it going and about another 3 or 4 to finish the punch list. About 3 or 4 years later, the car is 16 or 17 years old at this point, I had not driven the car for a few months and I decided to give it a go. I started it up in the garage and it wasn't running smoothly so I figured I'm let it warm up a bit. After about 5 mins of this, I decided it must be a stuck needle and seat. I have a Holley DPer in the car and they are pretty famous for this. So I turn off the car, open the door and step out into a deep puddle of fuel that had to be at least 2 or 3 GALLONS on the floor under the car and all the way to the walls in a 2 car garage. I'm telling you that the fuel puddle was at least ten feet in diameter! More for sure!

Ya..........fuck me! You never will see a fat old little Italian run for the hose and flood the garage with water so fast. Then I am thinking that I should turn off the water heater and all the other stuff that could have killed me and my family or at the least burned down the house.

OK to the point. California shitty government gas eats up the rubber lining in the older type of steel braided hose. Your government gas probably does too. Once I had the fire threat cleaned up I opened up the rear cover and ran the pumps just long enough to find the leak, THE LEAK WAS EVERYWHERE! ALL the pieces of hose in the dual pump system were spraying fuel out of dozens of pinhole leaks in the hose liners and spraying out through the steel braid.

So I start reading about the bad gas/ steel braided hose problem. HUGE problem! So bad that they have replaced the hose with new material as a liner and get ready for it...........wait...............your old AN fittings won't fit the new hose! So what to do? Well as it turns out the bad gas takes about 10 years to ruin the hose lining so I replaced all the hose with the original type and then did it again about 3 years ago. My program is to replace it all every 5-6 years.


Something else to think about. This happened with a 6 PSI carburetor pump. Now think about 70 od PSI FI pumps. The clear solution is to hard-line everything you can and use the latest new hose where you can't...............AND replace it on a time change schedule. AND read up on this problem from time to time to find out what the government has done for you lately.

You need

1. onboard fire system
2. a master electrical switch that turns off EVERYTHING!
3. small handheld, NOT DRY CHEMICAL, fire extinguisher at hand in the car.

things to consider

1. inertia sensing electrical master off switch
2. method to bleed the fuel system of pressure when the car is initially stored. Even overnight. I just run the car with the pump switch off until the carb runs out of fuel. This can be done easily by turning off the pumps as you near your garage to save idling time. EFI systems will require some research but I bet it can be done to a point.
3. always turn off the master switch when not using the car.

EFI cars pose a special problem. They run at a high system pressure AND hold a significant volume of fuel (several ounces at least) at that pressure even when the pump is off. At least for a while. A couple of ounces of fuel is far more than enough to burn your car down. You must put out the fire in the first few seconds. This will not be possible without an ONBOARD FIRE SYSTEM!

Buy one now!

Picture yourself running around in circles on the side of the highway throwing dirt on the flames. Ya, that won't work.

Lastly, ensure the car as if it will be a total loss. Insurance is not the place to save money!
 
Last edited:

Neil

Supporter
"Picture yourself running around in circles on the side of the highway throwing dirt on the flames. Ya, that won't work."

Trying to beat out the flames with your shirt won't work either, Howard! My Porsche 911 burned up because of a bad fuel pressure regulator. As I've said before, in a mid/rear engine car, you are the last to know that you're on fire.

In my race are I have two automatic Halon extinguishers for the engine bay. These work like an automatic sprinkler system, triggered by temperature. I also have two separate manual pull-type Halon bottles for the cockpit. Yes, it's overkill but I'd rather have more than I need rather than too little or NONE AT ALL.

I strongly recommend putting a 5 lb (minimum) Halon bottle in a car you care about. If you use a dry powder type instead, you'll wish you hadn't!
 
In my race are I have two automatic Halon extinguishers for the engine bay.

I strongly recommend putting a 5 lb (minimum) Halon bottle in a car you care about.
Halon is banned in Europe for decades. Its very bad for the ozon layer.
Halon is not pretty safe for humans trapped inside a car also. Where a cloud of halon sits, there is no oxigen to breath. It did a good job putting out flames.

In Europe thell use foam, which is just soapy water. Its FIA mandated to.

Europe sits on E5 (Euro95) for mpre than 10 years. They just raised it to be E10.
Many cars have been burned out to the ground in Europe because of even the 5% blended fuels in the last decade.
Rubber fuel hoses detoriate whitin 3 years to a point that Gates advised to change them every 3 years.
That where it became importand to chech manufactorers dates on the hose when purchasing as automotive stores still sell al lot of old stock.

Another issue, ethanol attacks alloy, especialy the old alloys carbs are made of.
Saw a lot of OEM pressed fuel unions suddenly came loose from their base. I know several classics in Holland catched fire by this as it started spraying onto the exhaust manifold.

Good ethanol resistand rubber fuel hoses are available now from Cohline. For Gates look for numbers above SAEJR9. Or use steel braided with Teflon inner liner.

I used hard alloy fuel all the way with just a few rubber connectors where I had to.
 
Stainless braided lines need to be replaced every ten years, as Howard mentioned. I talked with a guy at Earl's who said that there are quite a few off brand hose manufacturers whose stuff will rot VERY quickly with ethanol in the fuel. I elected to bite the bullet and replace all my stainless/rubber fuel lines with teflon lines which should last for many years.
 

Howard Jones

Supporter
Frank can you please post a link to that device. I'd like to install one in my racecar. Something like that should be considered a requirement for a fuel-injected car.
 
Last edited:
Top