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Here's a '51 Ford Like You've Never Seen Before

Road & Track logo Road & Track 10/3/2017 Máté Petrány
This Is What a 1950's Ford Le Mans Racer Would Have Looked Like© Jay Leno's Garage This Is What a 1950's Ford Le Mans Racer Would Have Looked Like

We all remember what happened once Ford managed to get to Le Mans in the sixties with its prototype based on the British Lola Mk6. But what if they had a car long before the GT40, or even before Henry Ford II first started to wonder about buying Ferrari? Could a 1951 coupé compete against all those Jaguars and Aston Martins? And how about those fancy Cunninghams?

The late Bruce Leven was keen to find out, and so he commissioned Craig Wick's Wicked Fabrication in Washington to build the ultimate European-themed Ford.

The donor '51 was shortened by 7.5 inches, while its roof got flattened, accompanied by a custom hood, deleted bumpers and drop-down plastic windows. The body got slammed to the ground, sitting on IndyCar-copy magnesium wheels and beefy Goodyears. The added trafficators and the yellow fog lights are there to enhance the European vibe.

Behind the leather straps sits a fully built 368 cubic inch V8 out of a 1956 Lincoln, complete with Hilborn fuel-injection, a modern ignition system, plus plenty of shiny brass and spark plugs to continue with the Le Mans customs. It sends 370 horsepower through a Spyker-style five-speed manual.

© Jay Leno's Garage

Next to that unique shifter, there's even more polished brightwork all made of stainless steel. The rest of the goodies includes vintage bucket seats, an all-leather headliner, a wooden steering wheel from Nardi and a collection of roof-mounted toggle switches for good measure. The trunk is equally decorative, with polished aluminum on the tank and battery box, leaving more than enough space for a full-size spare.

Did we mention that it makes a memorable rumble through its side exhaust? Well, of course it does. It's a tuned '56 Lincoln, not some modern sacrilege.

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