Ford GT & Cobra owners, racers and Roy Lunn’s friends and family gathered at the Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club in Sarasota, FL to celebrate the legendary engineer and designer, known as the Godfather of the GT40. His accomplishments led to Ford’s domination of international sports car racing in the mid-late-1960s.
“I want to congratulate you on your creative role in the historic Ford victory at Le Mans and winning the World GT Championship,” Don Frey, Ford vice-president and general manager, in a letter to Roy Lunn, (above with Neil Ressler and with FIA Cobra), dated June 28, 1966.
Ford’s GT40, Mark IIs and Mark IV were designed, engineered and developed under Roy Lunn’s direction at Ford’s Skunk Works, Kar-Kraft. Lunn was manager of the Advanced Concepts Group. Roy Lunn with first big-block (427) GT40 MK II in 1965 at Ford's Dearborn Proving Ground, below.
“Not only do I feel appreciative and honored today to share this occasion with my wife Jeannie and my family, but also overwhelmed by the incredible display of power outside: Ford GTs and Cobras. It really is a Show of Force and I’m so happy to be a part of it,” said Roy, right.
Neil Ressler, a retired Ford engineer and vice-resident and former head of Advanced Vehicle Technology, attended with his Ford GT. He was chairman of Jaguar Racing and Cosworth Racing in 1999 and involved in the mid-engined GN34 Concept sports car which evolved into the 2005-2006 Ford GT, the spiritual successor to the GT40. He retired in 2001 after 34 years and returned to be join the Ford GT Team.
“I wasn’t going to miss this wonderful opportunity to meet Mr. Lunn, and relive some of those glory days of winning at Le Mans,” said Neil below, with Roy Lunn.
PHOTOS: Howard Mintz, Gary Jean, Ford & Roy Lunn Archives.