The Gulf livery colours originated with the Gulf Oil Corporation in 1967, when its then vice president, Grady Davis, decided to enter his own GT40, #1049, as an independent entry at both Daytona and Sebring. The car was finished in the standard Gulf Oil colours of dark blue with orange trim. In that same year Ford USA decided to withdraw from sports car racing, and, in turn, Gulf Oil Corporation took over the sponsorship of the newly acquired GT40 race team, J.W. Automotive Engineering Ltd., referred to as JWAE.
With the new 1967 season underway, the first official Gulf cars were known as Mirages. These cars not only sported a new body and roofline, which differed from those of the standard GT40s, but also featured a new distinctive colour, which the racing world would come to know as the now famous Gulf Powder Blue (code #P030-8013), and which was accented with Marigold (code #P030-3393) orange trim. Just three of the Mirage cars were built, 10001, 10002, and 10003, of which just one (10001) exists today in its original form.
Of the two other Mirages, one was destroyed and the other was rebuilt into a new Gulf livery GT40, 1074 (which sold in the summer of 2012 for $11,000,000). Car 1075 utilised a new Mirage tub, whilst 1076, was constructed on an original Abbey Panel Lightweight GT40 chassis. These cars benefited from lightweight carbon-fibre-reinforcement to the body panels, with the rear clamshell bonnet being wider than on the standard GT40, so as to accommodate the deeper-offset lightweight BRM magnesium wheels, also finished in the distinctive orange. There are just five of these cars listed in the World GT40 Registry as being JWAE/Gulf livery cars. The chassis numbers are as follows: P / 1074, 1075, 1076, 1084, and 1086. The first three cars (1074, 1075, 1076 / known as the original 3 team cars) would go on to a superb racing history, with 1075 eclipsing all by winning Le Mans, not once but twice, in 1968 and 1969.
The fourth car, 1084, actually started life as a 1965 chassis (1004). In 1968 as an extra car was needed for Spa, so that 1074 could be prepared for Le Mans. This new car (P / 1004/1084) duly went on to race as a Gulf livery car at Spa, where it finished in respected fourth place.
The last Gulf livery GT40, chassis 1086, has the unique distinction of being the very last original Abbey Panel GT40 in the original production run P / 1000-1086. Finished to the order of JWAE's greatest achievement GT40 1075, the Double Le Mans winner. No race history. Only one remaining original / unrestored. Retained by JWAE owner John Willment.
After the end of JWAE's racing program, chassis (1074, 1076, 1084) were quickly sold to a select few forturnate collectors. Mr. Willment kept the last production run chassis for himself (1086), and (1075), which was held by the Gulf Oil Corporation, and for many years displayed in a museum until the early Eighties when itself was acquired by one very fortunate collector. The Gulf Livery GT40s, in their distinctive colours of blue and orange are amongst the most iconic and photogenic cars ever in the world.