Starter 1/43 Ford GT40 Mk.I

KIT #:
PRICE: $17.00 on sale when new
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Multi-media kit


The Mk I was the original Ford GT40. Early prototypes were powered by 255 cu in (4.2 L) alloy V8 engines and production models were powered by 289 cu in (4.7 L) engines as used in the Ford Mustang. Five prototype models were built with roadster bodywork, including the Ford X-1. Two lightweight cars (of a planned five), AMGT40/1 and AMGT40/2, were built by Alan Mann Racing in 1966, with light alloy bodies and other weight-saving modifications.

The Mk I met with little success in its initial tune for the 1964 and 1965 Le Mans races. The first success came after their demise at the Nassau Speed Weekend Nov 1964 when the racing was handed over to Carrol Shelby. Shelby's team modified the Ford GT40 and the first win at Daytona February 1965 was achieved. Much was later modified and run by John Wyer in 1968 and 1969, winning Le Mans in both those years and Sebring in 1969. The Mk II and IV were both obsolete after the FIA had changed the rules to ban unlimited capacity engines, ruling out the 427 cu in (7 L) Ford V8. However, the Mk I, with its smaller engine, was legally able to race as a homologated sports car because of its production numbers.

In 1968 competition came from the Porsche 908 which was the first prototype built for the 3-liter Group 6. The result of the 1968 was resounding success at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Pedro Rodríguez and Lucien Bianchi having a clear lead over the Porsches, driving the ‘almighty’ #9 car with the 'Gulf Oil' colors. The season began slowly for JW, losing at Sebring and Daytona before taking their first win at the BOAC International 500 at Brands Hatch. Later victories included the Grand Prix de Spa, 21st Annual Watkins Glen Sports Car Road Race and the 1000 km di Monza. The engine installed on this car was a naturally aspirated Windsor 302 cu in (4.9 L) V8 with a compression ratio of 10.6:1; fuel fed by four 2-barrel 48 IDA Weber carburettors, rated at 317 kW (425 hp; 431 PS) at 6,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 395 lb⋅ft (536 N⋅m) at 4,750 rpm.


Starter was a company in France that was well known for building accurate and fairly inexpensive multi-media 1/43 car kits. While the company has been out of business for quite a while, their kits can still be found, though they have become fairly pricey. They are true multimedia kits with resin body and chassis, metal detail parts, aluminum wheels, rubber tires and vacuformed windows.

They come in a sturdy box with the body and chassis bedded together and wrapped in styrofoam. A clear bag holds all the small parts. In this case those parts are the wheels and tires, axles, wheel inserts (which are resin), yellowed clear resin headlight covers, body mounting screws, steering wheel and rubber tires.

The kit includes a nice decal sheet with all three John Wyer Gulf GT-40s that ran in the 1968 Le Mans race. Each has a slightly different treatment of the nose markings. The #9 car was the winner of the race and the vast majority of the images one finds are of this car. Yet the #10 and #11 ran in the race. However, the #11 car got stuck in the sand trap at the end of one of the straights. Rules of the time required the driver to dig the car out by himself. Any help would disqualify the car. Nowdays, they'd throw a yellow flag and have a wrecker tow the car out, but those were different times. There are no assembly instructions, just a small sheet with a black and white photo of each of the three cars for decal placement.


This is a nice kit and a simple one as 1/43 car kits go. No photo-etch or tiny parts to fuss with. The non-existent instructions should not be an issue for most modelers and the end result will be a very nice model.


September 2023 

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