Ford GT: From subject to king in a decade
No cars less than a decade old have ever been featured in our ‘Modern Classics’ section before – especially when wearing ‘mainstream’ badges with production numbers in their thousands, rather than hundreds. But the Ford GT has an appeal that runs deeper than the fact that its value has never dropped below its original asking price...
…perhaps it’s the ancestral link to its now stratospherically priced GT40 forebear? Of course, the GT was created for the marque’s centenary, and what better way to celebrate than to honour the most legendary car the company had ever produced?
As was the case five decades earlier, during GT40 development, Ford enlisted the services of Carroll Shelby – this time in an advisory role on the car’s technical composition. No doubt as a result of this influence, many pioneering construction processes were adopted for the new supercar, though the car's proportions remained almost identical to those of its inspiration – despite growing slightly in all dimensions. In fact, once the ‘GT40’ name had been written-off due to licensing issues, Ford considered christening the new car ‘GT43’ (many will know the 1960s car was named after its mere 40-inch height).
The modern car’s faithfulness to the styling of the GT40 (not to mention the mid-mounted V8 in lightweight chassis formula) was undoubtedly the reason for the rapturous reception that the trio of prototypes received at Ford’s centenary celebrations. Full-scale production officially began in 2004, followed by final delivery of 2005 and 2006 model year cars. Behind the car's occupants nestles a 5.4-litre V8 which (unlike the GT40) benefits from a Lysholm supercharger, leading to an output of 550bhp.
In total, upwards of 4,000 examples were produced in a two-year window; however, Europe was rationed to just 80. That number increased to 101 after immense buyer interest, with many tempted by the proposal of Detroit muscle twinned with an unassailable competition lineage. Clearly, this combination still appeals, with used examples fetching more than their original asking price.
Despite the ‘everyday’ badge, profuse production numbers and oft-publicised niggles, the Ford GT has enjoyed remarkable success in its short lifetime. It’s debateable whether the widespread respect it engenders comes from its brawny performance and relative inexpensiveness compared with its European adversaries (namely the Porsche Carrera GT and Mc-Merc SLR), or its loyalty to a legendary forefather. But there’s little doubt about the merits of the overall package – whoever said ‘retro’ was dated?
The car seen in the pictures is currently being offered by dealer British & Sportcars in the Classic Driver Marketplace
Plenty of classic Fords can be found elsewhere in the Marketplace
Text: Joe Breeze
Photos: British & Sportscars