One of the most iconic cars in history, Le Mans winner and soon to be subject of (another) major motion picture, the Ford GT40 was a no-brainer to be released as a Speed Champions set. In 2017 LEGO fulfilled our expectations by releasing this two car set. Commemorating the original iconic, British built, endurance legend 1966 Ford GT40 alongside its EcoBoost powered 2016 successor, the Ford GT. We couldn't leave this review outstanding for too long, as we've already covered the historic '68 Ford Mustang set released by LEGO and that's no way as prestigious as this. Time to check out this 366 piece set and see if it lives up to all of the hype of it's release.
Let's start by looking at the GT40. Named for the fact the car is 40 inches high at it's tallest, the real life car is incredibly low to the ground. In late 2019, this car will receive a load more attention and people doing research on it when 'Ford v Ferrari' is released, starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon. The movie tells the story of how the Ford GT40 went from dismal results after being an adapted Lola Mk6 in 1964, for the entire program to be handed over to Carroll Shelby and success in 1965. This success was followed by 4 Le Mans 24hr victories from 1966 to 1969, in the hands of legendary drivers like Bruce McLaren and Jacky Ickx.
The real life GT40 can sell for up to USD $10 million (the Le Mans third placed 1966 GT40 MK II car sold back in August 2018 at Monterey). LEGO decided to include the most iconic colour scheme of the car in this set, the Number 2 vehicle, driven in 1966 by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon. The model is black with a grey twin racing stripe and bearing the original bronze style rims of the vehicle. There was some slight controversy at the end of the race about Ford's form finish, and discussion as to whether the number 2 vehicle did actually win the race or whether they disingenuously took the victory from the late Ken Miles. Either way, the story of the year was that Ford had finally ended the dominance of the prancing horse Ferrari, which was pretty much the single minded goal of the entire Ford GT (and the GT40 that derived from it) program, and such was the quality of the car they extended their own dominance over the next 4 years.
Nailing the colour scheme and the history of the vehicle they've included, LEGO have done the memory of the GT40 proud with this set. The head lights are very neatly built into the sloping front of the vehicle, there are just enough stickers to accentuate the race car look of the model without it being overbearing (as it is in the Audi motorsport sets, most notably the Audi R8 LMS ultra). The back of the vehicle really is a work of art, with the two huge tailpipes sticking out. This is probably my favourite vehicle rear end in all of Speed Champions, followed closely by the 250 GTO from the Ferrari Ultimate Garage set (the two share a similar clever approach to putting a sloping/curved rear end to the car).
Overall I have no complaints with this vehicle, it's well designed and definitely a model fit for display. LEGO have emphasised old and new twin-packs for the last couple of years to give a parent/child build project, including two manuals in the box and and older/newer car theme. Despite the notoriety of this original Number 2 '66 GT40, LEGO wisely chose to include another, newer model with Le Mans pedigree of its own.
In 2005, the Ford GT40 returned as the Ford GT (A parts company in Ohio had acquired the trademark the name GT40 and demanded too much money from Ford for use of the name). The change of name wasn't a huge deal - the 2005 model year cars (built in 2004) weren't 40 inches high like the original, so Ford simplified and went with just GT. The cars sold, but they weren't engineered for racing - Matech Concepts were the first to take one of the cars and modify it to become a GT1 car for the FIA GT Championship. They also did a GT3 car, but the 2005 Ford GT (known as the first generation) never made it back to motorsport or the Circuit de la Sarthe where it earned it's fame all those years ago.
Cut forward to 2015, at the Le Mans race. Ford announced they would return to the famed 24 hours endurance race and introduced a new Ford GT purpose built for motorsport with a serious intent to win the Le Mans 24 Hours. The second model in this set is of that car, the 2016 Ford GT LM GTE. The GT LM raced in the Weathertech SportsCar GT serials and the FIA World Endurance Championship. The model represents the car in its original Ford Performance livery with the iconic red white and blue American scheme.
The Ford GT completed its fairytale reintroduction, winning the LM GTE class at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans. This year, in 2019, the GT has 6 wins in WEC and 10 wins in IMSA, but the Le Mans victory seems to be avoiding it, with one of the classes being won by the Ford GT in 2019 to have it then cruelly taken away by a disqualification.
This model is more sticker heavy than the GT40, but still a great build - it's got the heavy feeling of an endurance car. The adjustable rear wing and the dual tailpipes placed high in the bodywork of the real vehicle. The front headlights being orange to match the vehicle class is a fantastic little easter egg and I like the way the vehicle number matches up with the original Le Mans victory for the Ford GT. As usual, the rims are a weakness on this model (the GT40 simply uses round 1x1 studs as hubcaps). Of the two styles supplied with the model, the double five spoke rim style looks best in my opinion - Speed Champions fans have seen these rim styles many times before. A small oddity with this model, it's the only model I've come across so far that has different colored wheel arch parts used at the front and back of the model, blue and red respectively to match the colour change in the logo. Building a model using three colours on the outside and having it look right is challenging so kudos to the set designers.
The accessories for this double vehicle set are underwhelming, but not too disappointing, with a simple Ford branded podium and an additional mini-figure with a checkered flag. A nice touch is the Le Mans style winners trophy supplied with the model. This set had a low RRP (£29.99 or equivalent), and can (just about) be found on shelves right now or relatively near retail price on eBay. If you see this in stock and haven't picked it up we'd recommend it highly - the 2020 set releases will probably push the last remaining availability of this set off the shelves.
Overall: 76 (How we rate sets and models)
A strong rating, and I don't think you can expect anything less for this. Any motorsport fan will want these models in their collection. I'd say this is right up there with any Ferrari or Porsche and the cars themselves are part of motorsport history. While the 2016 EcoBoost GT is less characterful, its success means it has a place in Ford's history and with a new, Mk2 variant of the GT released this year we'll be seeing the modern GT continue to race for years to come.