Ford P68

1968 Ford P68

Offered by Coys | London, England

This is the first car we have featured that is for sale, but will not be crossing the block at auction (at least, not yet). And it’s very exciting, being one of only two built by Ford for the 1968 FIA season, where new rules dictated a 3.0 liter engine for the Group 6 cars. This car features just such an engine – a 3.0 liter Cosworth DFV V8, making about 420 horsepower. But with a slippery drag coefficient of 0.27, it was capable of over 215 mph.

While these numbers are impressive, they did not translate into track success. In fact, the P68 program was a disaster with the car never finishing a race. This particular chassis was essentially destroyed during practice for the 1968 1000km of the Nurburgring. The damage was extensive to the point where the car was written off and not rebuilt nor entered in any more races. The other chassis was entered in about six more races. It scored pole position for the 1968 1000km of Spa but DNF’d due to electrical failure – this was easily the car’s best outing.

This chassis was entered in one race prior to the Nurburgring in 1968 – the BOAC 500 at Brands Hatch where it did not start due to an engine mount failure in practice. After the Nurburgring disaster (where driver Chris Irwin was able to walk away), the car – or what was left of it – was shipped back to Alan Mann Racing where it sat until Alan Mann Racing shut its doors. The car was later rebuilt and entered in historic events including Goodwood.

After the disastrous 1968 season, Ford opted to develop a sister car called the P69. Only one of these was built. The P69 Spyder had an open cockpit and a system of hydraulically-controlled adjustable aerofoil wings. The handling was so temperamental that Jack Brabham refused to drive it and the car was withdrawn from the only race at which it was entered.

The Ford P68 does not have the glamorous history of its predecessor, the GT40, but it is a rare, awe-inspiring machine nonetheless. And it’s a lot rarer too. I haven’t the slightest idea what the asking price is ($1.5 million would be my starting guess, but it’s a complete guess). Coys is selling it on consignment. For more information, click here.

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2 thoughts on “Ford P68

  1. chris irwin was not able to walk away from the accident at nurburg, he was in a coma for weeks. He lost most of the bone at the front of is skull and now suffers from epilepsy, it finished is racing career which was looking very promising i saw him blow a certain jackie stewart away at brm until stewart spat his dummy out and confiscated irwins car. the ford p68 was a stunning car but very unstable at high speeds recent wind tunnel test prove this walter hayes quite rightly shelved the p68 stating that he hated the car.

    • I stand corrected on Irwin… although technically I didn’t put a timeline on “walking away.” He did, eventually.

      I also just read an interview with Stirling Moss that talked about old race cars being sold for huge prices today: They were dangerous then and are still dangerous now. I think a lot of people overlook that.

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