The Ford Mk IV was released in
1969 as part of the new Grand Prix
The inspiration behind the Mk IV was the Ford GT40 Mark IV; a car with a fascinating history! It was essentially the culmination of Henry Ford's determined effort to defeat Enzo Ferrari on the race track after a failed bid to acquire Ferrari's company. The 427-powered Ford GT40 Mark IIs were wildly successful, and pulled off a 1-2-3 finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. However, the Mark II was a heavy car and Ferrari was pulling out all the stops for 1967 in an effort to reclaim it's racing crown. By way of the J-Car program, the Ford team developed a lightweight aluminum chassis that became the basis of the new Mark IV cars. The first Mark IV made it's debut in 1967 at Sebring, where co-drivers Mario Andretti and Bruce McLaren took the checkered flag. On the basis of this victory, Ford prepared three more Mark IVs for Le Mans: the most important race of the season. Ferrari countered with eight prototypes, including three light and fast 330 P4s. The race was a classic battle! At 3:30 AM, Andretti's Mark IV spun out, causing a rash of accidents. But the red #1 Mark IV - driven by Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt - held the lead through the accident and outran three Ferraris to the finish. The Mark IV never raced again. Ford had beaten Ferrari at Le Mans twice, and apparently that was good enough for the man.
The Ford GT40 Mark IV, at left with Carroll Shelby, and taking the checkered flag at
the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans with Dan Gurney behind the wheel.
Mattel's Ford Mk IV featured a rear hatch that opened to show a detailed engine, and racing stripes and numbers similar to those on the '67 Le Mans winner were included on a sticker sheet. The Mk IV was produced in various Spectraflame colors, as well as in red enamel. Mk IVs were made at both the US and HK plants.
Like some of the other Grand Prix castings, the Mk IV casting appears to have been re-worked a few times to improve the rear hatch. Variations can be found with and without a stop peg to keep the hatch from fully opening. On some of these variations, engine and transmission details also were changed. US cars featured a clear windshield and a black interior. Like all 1969 Grand Prix cars, the Mk IV can be found in most of the first generation colors with the exception of creamy pink and antifreeze. However Mk IVs in second generation colors are for some reason, fleetingly rare. A couple of yellow Mk IVs have been spotted, but Mk IVs in magenta, light green and hot pink are not believed to exist. Most "yellow" Mk IVs turn out to be lime rather than true yellow. Of the two pictured on this page, one is part of a rare boxed set and the other came from the collection of a former Mattel employee. A common question asked by Grand Prix collectors is "how do I know if it's really true yellow?" For the answer to that question, click on the minty loose yellow Mk IV below.
Ford Mark IV (in plastic!) was also one of first Sizzlers cars produced
by Mattel in 1970. Sizzlers had tiny electric motors,
batteries and redlines!
A green Ford Mk IV Sizzler.
Mk IV Color chart
|aqua||hard to find
|blue||hard to find
|red||very hard to find
|green||very hard to find
|yellow||very rare; Ontario sets
||hard to find
|aqua||very hard to find
A US red enamel Ford Mk IV in the blister.
Tough car! An HK aqua Ford Mk IV in the blister.
A rainbow of US Ford Mk IVs.
A rainbow of HK Ford Mk IVs.