Rarely does a manufacturer prototype cross the auction block. Automakers just don’t tend to send their pre-release machines out into the collector world. They either wind up in a museum or in a dumpster. It does happen, though.

Riding on the wave that is the historic return of Ford to Le Mans racing, the first fully functional prototype of the reimagined 2005-2006 Ford GT will roll across the platform this week and go home with the highest bidder.

As any carmaker is wont to do, Ford built several GT prototypes for aesthetic, financial and functional study. This 2004 prototype was the 4th such car and the first to have a fully functional drivetrain.

Ford GT

Looking a bit ragged from use and abuse but undeniably a GT, CP-1 – which stands for Confirmation Prototype 1 – features design cues that didn’t make it to production, such as a carbon fiber rear clamshell – deemed too expensive to produce by the suits at Ford – and aluminum headliner. The test-vehicle purpose is obvious, given the fuel tank spigots recessed into the body, complete with instructions on how to swap fuel for testing. This car just reeks of provenance and purpose.

Thirteen members of the GT design team signed the car, including Carroll Shelby himself, and the history surrounding this rolling piece of sculpture is undeniable. Though it’s not legal for street use and is electronically limited to 5 mph, this is still an exciting find and would make an amazing centerpiece to a Ford collector’s stable.

Watch for it to be hammered away during Barrett-Jackson’s inaugural Northeast auction at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut June 23 through 25.

Ford Pictures Gallery