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Ford GT40 & the Unipower GT - The styling link

Whilst watching the film ‘Ford vs Ferrari’ released at the end of 2019 the other night, it occurred to me again that there are indeed a number of striking similarities between the Unipower GT and the Ford GT40.

Now I appreciate that in my book, the ‘Definitive history of the Unipower GT’, I make reference to the close design similarities with the Lambourghini Miura, even giving it the name of the ‘Mini Miura’, but given that both cars were designed around the same time and with mid-engine layouts, this creates an inevitable likeness.

However, with the Ford GT40, the likeness continues, not surprisingly as it was Ron Bradshaw who as a Ford stylist working on the GT40 project around 1964/65, Ernie Unger had approached to provide some ‘guidance’ on a suitable body design for his project. It is inevitable that someone working so closely on such an important styling project, would inevitably incorporate some styling thoughts into an ‘off the record’ design, for ease and speed of delivery so to speak.

So, when watching Ken Miles driving an early GT40 prototype, its shape, suitably different from the final design, brought me back to the initial styling drawing that Ron had produced. Like almost all early car designs, they inevitably get changed so as to be able to incorporate easy to obtain parts and or bow to managing costs in production, as was indeed the case with the Unipower GT and its use of various ‘off the shelf’ parts to manage the final production costs.

Some will say that I have perhaps used a large amount of journalistic licence to arrive at this discussion, but the styling similarities especially at the front with the swept down nose treatment and at the sides with those air-intakes, does rather confirm that a common hand drew those iconic lines. Note also that the headlights were also designed to have Perspex covers just as the GT40.

I will leave you with that thought and to consider the images below.

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1 Comment

Kelly Wittenauer
Kelly Wittenauer
Aug 09, 2022

I find the as built version more attractive, particularly the larger wheel openings, that rise to the crease along the side. Pity that the Perspex covered lights didn't make it to production though. I've been a sucker for those ever since seeing them as a small child, on an E-type owned by friends of my parents.

The pronounced crease along the sides, high set rear quarter scoop & spoiler lip at the rear, all appear on the '69 Mustang fastback as well. Makes me wonder if Bradshaw also had a hand in that design.

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