The GT40 is an icon. We know all about the Ford-Ferrari feud that led to its creation (if you don’t, go read the excellent Go Like Hell), and the 1-2-3 finish in front of a squadron of Porsches in 1966.

But the Road & Track archives have a stunning collection and information from the period—early styling studies, fantastic cutaways, and our hand-written test notes from 1965 when we drove the car at Riverside. These was the birth of what would later be known as the Mk. I, which weren’t as successful initially as Ford wanted, but laid the groundwork for both the successful race car and the legend.

Check out the whole gallery right here for an inside look into the early life of the GT40 at Ford Advanced Vehicles Ltd. in Britain—photos you probably haven’t seen before except in the pages of this magazine, and some that have never seen the light of day until now.

Top image: Getty; second image: Road & Track Archives.