FORD GT40 RESTORATION

The Challenge

A "ground up" or "frame-off" restoration of a fine authentic vehicle usually includes a complete disassembly, cleaning and refinishing of the chassis. When you consider the complex structure of the GT40 tub, however, what constitutes a "complete disassembly" comes open to question.

The many spot welded sub-assemblies of the original GT40 tub structure create dozens of hollow cavities. Also, the original tub was only spray painted on the outside surfaces which left the closed off areas as bare, unprotected steel that began rusting almost immediately.

Over the years, condensation, rainfall and even car washing causes moisture to collect in many of the lower cavities. The resultant corrosion is both severe and completely hidden from even the most thorough external inspection.

Unrestored tub [bottom view]
Fig. 1
A GT40 tub looks like it needs only a cosmetic restoration until...
Bottom-front sheeting peeled back
Fig. 2
...the bottom sheets are removed to reveal the damage inside.
 

To make matters worse, some well-intentioned restoration shops have dipped GT40 tubs in various metal cleaning baths without first opening up the hidden cavities. The residue left behind by this process actually accelerates the hidden corrosion.

Hidden damage
Fig. 3 - Front Cross-member Area Opened for Inspection.
Hidden Damage
Fig. 4 - Fuel Sponson Area.
 
 

Hidden Damage
Fig. 5 - Note the ineffective red spray coating from an earlier restoration.
Hidden Damage
Fig. 6 - Tunnel Area
 
 

Hidden Damage
Fig. 7 - Rear Cross-member Damage.
Hidden Damage
Fig. 8 - Fuel Sponson Area
 

Looks clean with a few dents BUT...
Fig. 9 - Looks clean with a few dents BUT...
...there's a surprise inside. Fig. 10 - ...there's a surprise inside.
 

It becomes apparent that the only way to properly restore and preserve a GT40 tub is to completely open up these areas, clean them to bare metal, make needed repairs then protect the areas with a rust-inhibiting epoxy coating before re-assembly. A GT40 tub reconditioned in this manner will resist corrosion indefinitely.

A few projects will require even more in the way of repairs...

Battle Damage
Fig. 11 - Some Very Obvious "Battle Damage".


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