The Car Connection Ford GT Overview
Though it only was built for three years, the Ford GT has already assumed its place in the company's history. In part, that's because it was built specifically to be history.
With the GT, Ford had its long-wanted, road-going version of the GT40 racer that challenged Ferrari for Le Mans supremacy in the Sixties. It took decades, but the idea of building a streetgoing GT finally took hold at Ford as it prepared for its centennial, in June 2003. In January of 2002, the company showed a concept GT at the Detroit auto show, after barely keeping the project under wraps--under the code name "Petunia."
The GT finally arrived late in 2003 as a production model for the 2005 model year. And though it would only be available for three model years, it became an instant collectible. Inspired by the GT40, the GT was no direct copy: it wasn't 40 inches tall, for starters (it stood 44.3 inches high).
But in all other aspects, it was as stunning a recreation as it could be, given its modern powertrain and interior. The GT's mid-mounted V-8 was Ford's off-the-rack 5.4-liter of the day--only supercharged and massaged for a total output of 550 horsepower, and channeled to its rear wheels via a manual transmission. With 0-60 mph times of about 3.8 seconds and a top speed of about 190 mph, the GT's performance envelope was delivered with a unique signature.
In design, the GT bore a striking resemblance to the original, with some subtle cues to commemorate the company's anniversary, like high-intensity headlights styled to incorporate “100.” Working from the original, and improving its aerodynamics and its body construction with superheated aluminum sheets gave the GT a stiff body structure on which to mount a double-wishbone suspension front and rear.
Rounded out with a Torsen-style limited slip differential, four-piston Brembo brakes, and Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires (235-series 18-inchers in front, 315/40ZR-19s in back), we thrilled in the performance it crackled with: "the new GT on paper bristles with the energy of a downed power line," we wrote.
The GT always was intended to be a limited-run vehicle, and production ended with a handful of 2007 models being built. Initially priced just below $140,000, the GT was by then available at a discount, but values are creeping up already. With a GT40 winning its class at the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours, there's every reason to believe one of these will cross the center stage at The Lodge in the future.