Fujimi 1/24 Ford GT-40 Mk I (P1075)

KIT #: 12131
PRICE: $34.00
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Sam Thurman
NOTES: “Curbside” model with some silver-plated parts


In 1963 Ford Motor Company launched an ambitious and expensive effort to develop a prototype racing car capable of winning the World Sports Car Championship, creating the GT40, a car that ultimately won the most famous endurance race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, for four consecutive years between 1966 and 1969. The effort was spawned after a failed attempt by Ford to buy the Ferrari Company as a quick means of enhancing its sporting credentials. Henry Ford II, head of the company and a direct descent of its founder, commanded a team of his top lieutenants to beat “those fast, little red cars” from Ferrari that had dominated European sports car racing in the early 1960’s. There were several variants of the GT40 that were built, with the primary examples being the Mk I, Mk IIA/B, and Mk IV. The Mk I, as run by Ford in 1964/65, was not that successful in winning races but showed great potential that was realized with the development of its Mk II and Mk IV successors, which won the WSCC in 1966 for Ford (the only time ever for an American manufacturer) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in both 1966 and 1967.

 Following its 1967 Le Mans victory, Ford withdrew from WSCC racing after a last-minute rules change by the WSCC’s sanctioning body banning fast, powerful cars like the GT40 Mk IV  starting in 1968. The new rules limited prototypes to 3.0 liter engines (versus 7.0 liters in the Mk II/IV), but created a temporary class for cars with 5.0 liter engines of which 50 (later reduced to 25) examples had been built. This new class was intended to allow cars like the GT40 Mk I, with its 4.8 liter engine, to be run as a way of filling race grids until the manufacturers could develop new 3.0 liter cars. For 1968, a British team run by John Wyer, with backing from Gulf Oil, developed an improved version of the older Mk I GT40 using their stock of GT40 chassis and parts obtained from Ford through the sale of Ford Advanced Vehicles, the company headed by Wyer that had developed the original car before Ford moved in to run their 1966/67 racing programs with American-based teams. With their iconic blue and orange livery, the Wyer Gulf GT40’s were the surprise championship winners in 1968 against a formidable effort from Porsche with its new 3.0 liter prototype. In 1969, the seemingly obsolete Wyer GT40 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the closest finish in the entire 78 year history of the race, edging a Porsche 908 prototype by less than 1.5 seconds.


 This kit, one of several Fujimi 1/24 kits of GT40 variants, portrays the improved Mk I version of the car as run by the Wyer team in 1968. Relative to the original 1964 Mk I, Wyer’s engineering group made several modifications to body, drivetrain and chassis, increasing the displacement of the original Mk I engine to 5.0 liters and improving its power output, while reducing the car’s weight to make it more competitive with its newer prototype rivals. The car’s fenders were widened to make room for wider, improved Firestone tires. Fujimi’s rendering of the car comes with several parts in the box that are not used for this particular version; it appears that one set of parts was made with the instructions providing specifics on how the available parts are to be used for the intended GT40 variant.

 In the kit there are about 120 plastic parts, molded in somewhat peculiar colors of light green, for the major body pieces and smaller exterior pieces, and light brown, for the underside, cockpit, suspension and transmission components. The molding of the parts was good in most cases, with little in the way of flash or ejector pin markings that needed filling. The clear parts for the windscreen windows, and headlamp covers are very thin in some cases and must be handled carefully to prevent damage. The wheels come with semi-gloss silver plating that provides a fair match to their real-life aluminum counterparts. As a “curbside” model, there are minimal chassis and engine compartment details included. The decal sheet provides options for each of the three Gulf-liveried cars run by John Wyer’s team at Le Mans in 1968. In addition to different numerals, each of these cars had a distinctive pattern for the orange trim on their light-blue bodies so that the team could tell them apart from one another when viewed at speed from the pits or the signaling pit area at the end of Le Mans’ long (5.2 km) Mulsanne straight. The instruction sheet comes in several languages, with minimal but mostly adequate English annotations. The model isn’t complex so with careful dry-fitting it wasn’t very difficult to figure out an acceptable fit and assembly sequence from the instructions.


 The kit’s instructions begin with painting and assembly of the chassis and cockpit, followed by the transmission, engine deck and rear suspension, and then finally the exterior bodywork and all of the detailed pieces that are attached to it (e.g., tail lamps, engine vent cover, fuel filler cap, etc.). I deviated from the instructions to some extent, electing to construct and paint the chassis/suspension roughly in parallel with bodywork, due to the amount of effort involved in prepping, painting, and decals for body to obtain a good finish on what is the most visible aspect of the model. In order to configure the parts for the 1968 Gulf/Wyer variant of the GT40, some surgery is required on the chassis and is detailed in the instructions. These modifications were fairly simple and straightforward to accomplish with a couple of X-Acto knives.

Assembly and painting of the chassis, suspension and transmission were fairly straightforward. Decals are provided for the instrument panel which looked pretty good and were easily applied per the instructions. A separate and unusual set of decals is provided for the tire labels which require considerable care to apply successfully. These decals have a light adhesive on their front, so they are applied by first gently rubbing them into place on the tire, and then they need to be wetted and further pressure applied to get them to adhere well enough to allow the paper backing to be removed without damage to the decal. Fujimi provides 5 decals for the 4 tires, a good thing as I botched one of them and needed the 5th decal. Considerable pressure is needed to get these decals to adhere, so they are best applied prior to mounting the completed tire/wheel assemblies onto the chassis. The bottom section of the car, holding all of the chassis and transmission elements, is relatively large so I spray painted it flat black, using brush-on enamels for the smaller parts needed for the car’s interior, etc.

More than anything else with this kit, I recommend fully assembling the body as a separate element before gluing it onto the chassis, which can be accomplished after the chassis/suspension is fully assembled and painted. The only step that must be completed after the body is glued to the chassis, as indicated in the instructions, is the attachment of the twin exhaust pipes which protrude outside of the body on the finished model. The body work comes in two pieces, which can be glued together early, allowing the body to be painted, decaled, and clear-coated as a single assembly, after which the various clear pieces can be glued into place. Particular care should be given to the assembly of the fog lamps and their clear cover pieces, as the fit of the cover pieces is poor – when the fog lamp and mounting base are assembled correctly, the cover pieces won’t quite fit into place due to the protrusion of the fog lamp (I discovered this the hard way). As the fog lamp lens and backing are glued into place, make sure that the clear cover piece will in fact fit as intended!


The most distinctive aspect of the model’s appearance is the Gulf sponsorship color scheme which consisted of a light, “powder” blue body color with a wide orange racing strip and additional orange trim, depending upon the particular car and race. While the decals included in the kit provide the orange stripes, if you want your model to represent car no. 9, the 1968 Le Mans winner, you will need to paint the “moustache” orange trim on the front of the car yourself to complete its color scheme. After some searching I found no obvious readily available colors that are perfect match for their original counterparts. After some hobby shop consultation (thanks to the owner of House of Hobbies in Burbank, CA!), I ended up using Testors “Light Blue” for the body, #1208 enamel in a spray can and #1108 for bottled enamel, and a Testors Model Masters color to match the orange stripe decals, called “Go Mango.” The Testors shade of blue is slightly darker than the original, but when painted over a white base (I used white Tamiya primer for plastics) it provides a nice, glossy finish that looks pretty close to the proper color. The “Go Mango” enamel is also slightly darker than the original car’s trim color – if using an airbrush or for the more sophisticated modeler, with the addition of a little white to each of these (blue and orange) colors a precise match to their original counterparts can be achieved. Most of the car’s interior is painted flat black, with numerous silver details to represent aluminum components of the actual car.

In several places the instructions were either ambiguous about colors for certain details or seemingly non-intuitive in their recommendations. Here are examples to be aware of: the instructions show, correctly, that the wheel spokes should be painted orange, but after examining photographs of the actual cars, it was evident that the inner areas of the wheels near the spokes should be painted orange as well; the recessed areas surrounding the headlamps should be painted flat black, as shown in photos of the real cars, although the instructions don’t indicate this. To the contrary, the recessed areas around the fog lamps should be painted orange or blue, as appropriate for the particular car no. of interest. Something else to be aware of is that the Gulf-Wyer GT40’s had no fuel filler cap on the left-hand side of the car; in the kit a plastic part is provided with which to fill a location in the body for such a filler cap, which did exist on the Mk II versions of the car. This part should be glued in, then filler used to smooth this over, in order to get the best match to the appearance of the actual cars which had no filler cap in this location (doing the research on this was something I unfortunately did after the model was nearly completed). 

The decals provided with the kit were thin and of good quality. They went on pretty well and would conform to the contours of the bodywork as long as a suitable decal softener is employed. A note of caution is needed for the white roundels, though, which serve as backing for the numbers. These had some noticeable transparency to them due to their thinness, especially when applied over the orange stripe as required for the front cowl.


 Overall I was reasonably pleased with this model once finished. The parts, instructions, and decals provided a good level of detail, for a curbside kit, with a degree of difficulty that was within reach of my modest skills. I had wanted to find a model of the GT40 as run by the Gulf-Wyer team and I believe this kit by Fujimi is the only one made recently for those with such interests. The no. 9 version of the car is more challenging than is cousins (no.’s 10 and 11) as the orange “moustache” trim around the car’s front needs to be painted by the modeler to fit with the supplied decal. Due to the painting requirements it’s not a quick model to make, but aside from the handful of parts fit issues I encountered, careful work can lead to a satisfying result of what is one of the most iconic cars in the history of endurance racing!


 1.      Horsman, John, Racing in the Rain (My Years with Brilliant Drivers, Legendary Sports Cars, and a Dedicated Team). David Bull Publishing, Phoenix, AZ, 2006.

2.      Allen, John S. and Gordon J. Jones, The Ford that Beat Ferrari – A Racing History of the GT40. Haynes Publishing North America, Inc., Newbury Park CA, Jun. 2005.

3.      Baime, A. J., Go like Hell (Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, New York, NY, 2009.

Sam Thurman

January 2012

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