Toy car makers offer classic Ford vs. Ferrari battles
by Doug Breithaupt

A package from Argentina recently arrived and brought two classic Speedy models to my collection. The two-pack included a wonderful pairing of Ferrari's beautiful 250P Le Mans and Ford's GT40 Mk. II. This led me to wonder how many other toy car producers had created matched sets of Ford and Ferrari race cars from those halcyon years? Five other sets were identified from the same era and more recently two new sets of these old race cars have been done. From 1960-69, Ford and Ferrari owned Le Mans and here are the toy cars to prove it.

Speedy by Mercury of Italy produced the classic Ford GT40 Mk. II and Ferrari 250P Le Mans. The GT40 Mk. I won Le Mans in 1968 and 1969 while the 250P won in 1963 and 1965 with the 275P2 winning in 1964. These are two wonderful period cars, produced by Mercury at the height of the Ford vs. Ferrari battle.

Hot Wheels was born in the glory days of Ford and Ferrari at Le Mans. Their Ford GT40 Mk. IV is a close match to the winning car for 1967, driven by Gurney and Foyt. The Ferrari 312P ran at Le Mans in 1970 and beyond, driven by Mario Andretti and others. The 312P never won Le Mans but was successful at other races. Both cars feature opening engine covers and are classic red-line models from Hot Wheels.

Aurora's Cigarbox models offered the Ford J-Car, a variation on the GT40 and the Ferrari Dino 246SP. The J-Car was never able to live up to it's potential. The 246SP was Ferrari's first mid-engine GT race car and featured a V6 power plant. it raced at Le Mans in 1963 but was overshadowed by the V12 powered 250P.

Corgi offered an interesting Ford vs. Ferrari battle in the Corgi Junior line. The Ferrari is the wonderful 512S that ran at Le Mans. While it never beat Ford at Le Mans, it was successful in other races. The Ford GT70 by Corgi was a curious choice. As far as I can tell, this was a concept model done in 1970 (hence the name), that never saw track time. It is likely that Corgi was attempting to beat the competition with a new Ford race car but failed to do so when they selected this still-born model.

Matchbox was one of the first to produce the Ford GT40 Mk. I (Le Mans winner in 1968 and 1969) and it is a true toy car classic. They did not really do a Ferrari competitor for the GT40 but the Ferrari 250 Berlinetta by Matchbox did have a racing life. The stock version of the Ferrari would not have matched the GT40 on the track but it is a beautiful model.

Siku offered the Ford GT40 Mk. I and the Ferrari 275GTB. While both are in street form, their racing counterparts went wheel-to-wheel at Le Mans. The front-engine 275GTB was no match for the mid-engine GT40 and they competed in different classes. Siku's models of this period are beautifully crafted but a bit angular in style. Both offer opening doors. The silver 275GTB is one of the Hungarian Siku castings.

An unlikely source for the Ford vs. Ferrari pairings is from Summer. The Ford GT40 Mk. II and Ferrari 330 P4 are actually good castings in need of better interiors and wheels. If one were to make these changes and add detailed paint, these could be quite nice.

Most recently, Hot Wheels has returned to the Ford vs. Ferrari wars with their Ford GT40 Mk. I and Ferrari 330P4. It's great to see these models for today's kids (young and old) to re-create their own Le Mans battle, some 35 years after the actual races took place. A whole new generation can make their bedroom floor Mulsanne straight or White House corner. What a treat.

The Forgotten Ford

Ford Group 6 #45 by Matchbox - With the success of their GT40 #41, it's easy to see why Matchbox thought the F3L might be as successful. The shape is beautiful and at the time, Ford was king of GT racing. Today, this Ford racer is all but forgotten.
One curious Ford from this period is represented by the Matchbox Ford Group 6 model, #45. The real car was actually the Ford F3L, also known as the P68 and was developed by the Alan Mann Racing Team for the 1968 FIA World Sports car Championship. The F3L was entered into the prototype class, for which engine capacity was limited to 3 liters. Thus the F3L was powered by the popular Ford Cosworth DFV grand prix engine. At the same time that the F3L arrived on the scene, Ford's interest in international sports car racing was on the decline. And with the continued success of the GT40 in 1968 and 1969, the F3L never got a fair crack at becoming the legend that its sister, the GT40, is today. Only three F3L's remain today, one of which is occasionally raced in the International Sports Prototype series for vintage cars that originally competed during the years from 1963 to 1970.

Ford F3L on which the Matchbox ford Group 6 model is based