Monday, April 16, 2018

In Search of a Ford GT-40

Near the end of March, I received an interesting email from a gentleman named Mark Johnson. (Not the WEWS-TV chief meteorologist.)

Although Mark currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he owns a graphic arts company, he grew up in Bay Village in the 1960s.

Mark has an interesting quest. He’s trying to locate a car.

But not just any car. This is a Ford GT-40 that he sat in at the Marshall Ford car dealership on Mayfield Road in Cleveland in early May 1966.

Here’s the photo from that day, showing Mark and his brother sitting in it.

Mark says he was a big Ford fan in 1966 and sitting in the car was a big thrill. “I think I was star struck, he noted. "Now I need to figure out who owned the car. Whoever it was, was nice enough to let my brother and I sit in it. That is what started the search 50 years later."

Mark believes that the same Ford GT-40 that he sat in at the auto dealership was also on display at a car show held at the O’Neil-Sheffield Center back in early July 1966. Erie Shores Sports Car Club was the sponsor of the show.
Journal ad from July 8, 1966
Here are some of Mark’s photos from that O’Neil-Sheffield Center car show. "I wish the quality was better, but I was just a kid with a Brownie, he noted.

It’s fun seeing the O’Neil-Sheffield Center as it used to look in the background of these shots. As for the bottom shot, Mark noted, "As I recall, the timed one-at-a-time car races (a parking lot “gymkhana") was held around the back of the shopping center.”

Here's a small photo and caption that ran in the Chronicle-Telegram promoting the show.

(Courtesy Rick Kurish)
Anyway, Mark is trying to trace the owner of the Ford GT-40 and he needs some help. "Now I need to see if I can find any members of the Erie Shores Sports Car Club to see if they know anything about the entrants or have any other photos.

"So the chase continues.”
I asked Mark what message he would like to give my readers, and here is his reply. 
"I’m interested to hear from anyone who remembers, or has photos of, the car shows and races at the O’Neil-Sheffield Shopping Center, especially the show from July 9 and 10, 1966, where a Ford GT-40 was featured. 
"Or from anyone that was a member of the Erie Shores Sports Car Club. Thank you!” 
You can reach Mark Johnson via his email at:


Dennis Thompson said...

Mark and I have been emailing in the past few weeks. The GT40 that we had in the Midway Mall shows was obtained by Grant Miller, the sports writer for the Chronicle Telegram. Grant was one of the organizers of the Erie Shores Sports Car Club. That's the only one I recall. This was most likely a private entry in the show instead of a dealer provided car. I have a fairly complete list of all the cars at that O'Neils show (I have all the club records) and I'll see if it mentions that car.

Wireless.Phil said...

The 4th and 5th photos are not Ford GT40's.

Dan Brady said...

Yes, there are other cars that Mark photographed that day. It was a nice lineup.

Doug Majka said...

The 4th car pictured is a Saab Sonett.