How Authentic is the Pathfinder GT40R?

Pathfinder Motorsports

Sponsoring Vendor
Alan Watkins recently started an interesting thread that has produced some fascinating information and revelations regarding the genesis of the Superformance GT40 (Thread: "SPF GT40 Genesis"). His post eventually morphed into a neat discussion regarding how (and why) one can enhance the look and authenticity of a non-original GT40 - whether a replica, or a 'Continuation' car like the Superformance.

Reading the thread we noticed that there are some folks who are not entirely familiar with the unique characteristics of the Pathfinder GT40R - characteristics that both make it more authentic and, of course, a true racecar. Rather than hijack Alan's thread, I though I would start a new one focusing on the GT40R.

It was the desire to go racing in a GT40 that prompted Pathfinder to approach Hi-Tech and Superformance with a design for what we called the 'GT40R'. We had a great time working with Jimmy Price, Lance Stander, Dennis Olthoff, and the guys at the factory in developing a racecar with fewer compromises and more authentic elements than any other replica on the market. Our development program resulted in a shakedown test of the first Pathfinder GT40R racecar at Watkins Glen, where in its first race it won both the US Vintage Grand Prix and the NY Governor's Cup race in its class. Not bad for its maiden outing!

Pathfinder's goal was to offer a GT40 Continuation car that lived up to its name: It would look like the original car, and it would race like the original car. And later, when we found ways to make the 'R' car even more authentic, we sourced or built new parts and began a growing list of standard features and options for our customers.

There are many differences between a standard SPF GT40 (a great car in its own right, but not intended for racing) and the Pathfinder GT40R. Some of the really neat but rarely noticed features include items like a powerful windshield wiper motor that will perform at racing speeds. Other differences, however, are more evident but often overlooked, such as:

1. An aluminum front hood air diffuser that was installed on several GT40s in the late '60's. They were engineered to prevent escaping hot air from the radiator scoop on the hood (whether single or double) from entering the NACA ducts found on the two front fenders. These ducts are the source for the fresh air vents on the dashboard - and super-heated air from the radiator is the last thing a driver, race or street, wants blown in his face.


2. A similar feature is a small winglet attached to the trailing edge of the front fenders. Found at one time on P/1076, there were two explanations for it: 1) it slightly disturbed the air streaming down the uncommonly aerodynamic sides of the Mk I so as to increase cooling airflow into the side air scoops that provided air to both the engine and the brakes; and, 2) they reduced the amount of debris kicked up by the front wheels that invariably found their way into the rear scoops. You decide, but either way, they look very cool.


3. We install a Perspex or Lexan bug shield, identical to the one used by the illustrious P/1075 at Le Mans. Apparently when bugs hit the windshield of a GT40 going 200+mph, they become very difficult to clean off quickly in the pits. So a clear bug deflector was installed forward of the driver a few inches from the windshield. Look at the historical photos in our website's albums and you'll see them for yourself. We're the only company we know of that provides this piece.


4. An adjustable rear spoiler that was copied directly from one built by Shelby racing for their GT40 program. It is built to the identical dimensions and uses the same gauge material as the original, right down to the fastening hardware.


5. GT40R's sport Le Mans-style round driving lights with internal turn-signal lights to replace the standard GT40 road version lights. There's something about those large driving lights that add a beautifully aggressive look to the Mk I, and of course P/1075 had them.


GT40R driving lights


Standard SPF GT40 driving lights (However, please note the 'R' tow eye and front canard wing - both standard features on the GT40R

6. Pathfinder-designed race-grade rear brake ducts that are both effective and great looking.


7. We provide a custom straight pipe exhaust with megaphone exhaust tips that look menacing and sound demonic!


And that's just a few of the differences. (Click here for some more photos showing build details of the GT40R.) Naturally, there are those whose interest in owning a GT40 replica extends principally to having a similar 'look and feel' to the original cars. They don't mind that the roof isn't metal, or that the cockpit has been enlarged, or that the frame and/or body is inaccurate. They just want a serviceable, fast, and exciting GT40 look-alike, which is great!

On the other hand, there are a few who want to capture all of the performance and nostalgia that only extreme attention to authenticity can deliver. For these enthusiasts we believe you have three choices: You can choose a Gelscoe replica - a fine hand-built and very authentic copy of the original cars selling for about $475,000. While it cannot be called a 'GT40' nor carry a continuation chassis number, it is eligible for an FIA Historic Technical Passport. Likewise the Holman Moody Mk II: Hand made, spot-on authentic, FIA eligible, and about $750,000. In its favor, it's also manufactured by one of the original builders and boasts an original Abbey Panels chassis!

The third and final choice is the Pathfinder GT40R. For around $130,000 we offer a ready-to-race car - approved by HSR, SVRA, and LOM - with an FIA 289 Ford/Holman Moody engine and enough original features to satisfy the most fastidious enthusiast. Plus our cars are assembled by either Holman Moody or Olthoff Racing.

This, and the GT40R's are licensed 'Continuation' model GT40's with original 'P' chassis numbers. For some, details like these mean very little. But for a few, they mean one more difference that helps to distinguish a 'pretty good replica' from a 'next-best-thing-to-an-original' GT40.

Bottom line: The GT40R is not as authentic as the Gelscoe or Holman Moody cars, but they are very close - and by way of cost they represent huge value in comparison to either.

For additional photos, build details, prices, and more please visit our website:

Jim Craik

Lifetime Supporter

I you were mentioning the small "winglet" on the rear edge of the front wheel well.

I remember reading in one of the GT40 books that this was added during "tech" inspection at Le Mans, apparently the rules require the bodywork to cover the tire down to a certin point.

The new wider fronts no longer fit the rules so they had to add this small piece to meet the specs.
Last edited:

Pathfinder Motorsports

Sponsoring Vendor
We read that too, Jim. We were later told that it was a performance enhancement. To be honest, we're not sure. My brother Kim and I are going to see Lee Holman next week and we'll ask him for his take.

Whatever the reason, we know they were on some of the originals at Le Mans - so that's why they're on the GT40R!

Tim Kay

Lifetime Supporter
Taken from another thread;
I can shed some light on the Superformance bodies: The SPF GT40 MK I plug came from a set of molds made directly from GT40P/1010.

Interesting read taken from Ronnie Spain: (edited \ shortened to pick up key points)
It was wrecked at the end of the season (1966) while conducting Firestone tyre was sold to Peter Sadler...He found it to be totally beyond repair, and after salvaging what he could he took the wrecked tub back to JWA...bought a replacement chassis...He spent the rest of the year building up the car, many of the parts - including a Mark II nose - coming from Alan Mann....On 1 October 1983 it was Paul Vestey...who put it back, as far as possible, in the trim in which it was raced by Peter Sadler...
By this information apparently P1010 had a MkII front clip through 1983, I assume it's back to a MkI now?

Pathfinder Motorsports

Sponsoring Vendor
By this information apparently P1010 had a MkII front clip through 1983, I assume it's back to a MkI now?

We're not sure if there were spare body parts, including a Mk I nose, or if the genesis of the nose might be different.

Alan are your parts available separately?

Send us an email with the parts you are interested in and we will quote you availability and price. If unavailable, we'll try to steer you in the direction of someone who can help you.
Alan, a quick question if I may. Are fuel-injected engines approved or allowed for historic racing in the US or anywhere in Europe? Thanks, John
I've eyed your car at Dennis shop and VIR. I appreciate the detail and workmanship. Thanks for taking the time to doing the layout. One other car to add to the list that qualifies for the racing series are the MKIVs. I've seen two at the Olthoff shop and are also spot on to my eyes. Of course I've only seen the one out in the museum/shop in Boulder, Co. As much as I wish for one of the 'R' series, a 458 Italia, or Bugatti Veyron, I will be happy with P2124 and its 427FE.
Your attention to detail is what I like. Thanks for sharing.
Looking at the GTR websight I noticed that the rear knock off is loosened in one direction and the front in the opposite. Was I seeing things or is that the way it is?

Pathfinder Motorsports

Sponsoring Vendor
Alan, a quick question if I may. Are fuel-injected engines approved or allowed for historic racing in the US or anywhere in Europe? Thanks, John

While the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) and Rahal's Legends of Motorsports (LOM) are rather stringent on those issues, Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) has proven more flexible. A new Weber-like fuel injection system is being offered by our partner Holman Moody based on the old Dynatek product, and we've been told it can be used on our GT40R cars in Group 5. We're actually in the process of arranging to have one installed on a GT40R being prepped for Group 5 competition.

Of course, all such matters are subject to change - particularly if someone protests vigorously enough - but for now it works. In a few days, however, Pathfinder Motorsports will be announcing a new race series in conjunction with HSR that will be open to reproduction GT40s, Cobras, Daytonas, Grand Sports, and the like, and I promise such EFI systems will not be an issue.

Pathfinder Motorsports

Sponsoring Vendor
Looking at the GTR websight I noticed that the rear knock off is loosened in one direction and the front in the opposite. Was I seeing things or is that the way it is?

It might have been an optical illusion. Actually, the spinners are loosened or tightened in the same direction on each side of the car. So, for example, on the right side, the spinners are tightened counter-clockwise and the opposite on the left.

At Pathfinder we color anodize our spinners in the same fashion as several of the racing teams did at LeMans: blue spinners on the right side, and red on the left (taking a cue from sailboat running lights). This keeps a spinner from the wrong side of the car being mistakenly picked up during the pandemonium of a race.

You can see several examples on our GT40 Photo Album Page here: GT40 Photos

They look pretty cool, too!


Pathfinder Motorsports

Sponsoring Vendor
Question sir, if I may. What is the rationale behind the "Ford Motor Company" ID plate?

It is a popular customer request to have original-style manufacturer's plates available, like the FoMoCo plate. Ours are accurate in both image and size, and are made of the same material as the originals, such as brass-colored metal for the FAV plate. (Most of the replica plates we've seen look wrong: too large, wrong fonts, and printed on aluminum colored metal.)

We also provide a Holman Moody engine-build plate for customers who choose their FIA 289 or FE 427 engines. HM specifies on the plate the name of the engine builder who assembled and tested your engine, along with the HM engine number stamped on the block. This plate is installed at a location specified by the owner and helps with vintage racing scrutineering.

Pathfinder Motorsports

Sponsoring Vendor
Alan -- can you tell me approximately what HM charge for an FE?

I'll build a quote for you, Alan. First, a few questions:

1. What sort of HP are you looking for?
2. Do you want pump or race gas?
3. Do you prefer a single or dual four-barrel carb set-up?​

With that I'll get to work ...


Thanks for the reply Alan. In the pursuit of 'authenticity' how do you determine the appropriate ID plate? I confess I have no knowledge of the actual car to car usage, but I do know that FAV (Ford Advanced Vehicles) Ltd, JWA (presumably after Ford quit in '67) are mostly the correct chassis ID.

Presumably, these ID plates have a timeline, and I am also guessing that Ford Motor Company Plates can (should?) probably be used on MK II's and MK IV's only?

Or, is it a customer demand thing? After all, weren't all MKI and MKII chassis supplied by FAV? Or, were they shipped without plates in which case shouldn't they have either Shelby or HM ID plates?

And the Ford Motor Company plate probably correctly applied to 'J' and MKIV chassis only?

Thanks for your time Alan, just trying to learn the difference.

Pathfinder Motorsports

Sponsoring Vendor
While each GT40 had a specific builder plate relative to year and model, who built it, and who raced it (with some plates being swapped between cars by the race teams!), we generally leave it up to the customer to decide how they want to finish their car.

Regarding the Ford Motor Company plate, they were in fact found on Mk I's built as early as 1965. A good example is P/1027, which gained fame as the Mk I that was eventually converted by MGM from race spec to be a camera car for the race scenes in Monaco in the movie 'Grand Prix'. Here are a couple of photos of P/1027 reconfigured to its original Belgian race colors and it's FoMoCo builder plate: