Ever since the GT40 of the 1960s, Ford’s loyal fans had been clamoring for a proper sports car to come straight from Dearborn. The GT40 MkIII hinted at a road-going version, but softening the racing GT for use on the road proved difficult, and just seven cars found buyers. The next hint at a Corvette-beating sports car came in the early 1970s with the DeTomaso Pantera. Italian built, bodied by Ghia, and powered by a Ford 351, the Pantera wasn’t exactly a pure-bred Blue Oval product, despite being sold through select Lincoln-Mercury dealers. The 1980s and 1990s were sparse for sporty Fords in America, with just a few special Mustangs bubbling to the surface. By the late 1990s, Ford finally began to get serious about a world-class supercar. The GT90 and Indigo concept cars utilized twelve-cylinder versions of the “modular” engine program, and while neither car surpassed the concept stage, they set the tone for Ford’s desire to produce a machine worthy of taking on not only the Corvette but Porsche and Ferrari as well.
Ford design took a dramatic turn under the leadership of J Mays, the retro-futurist responsible for cars like VW’s New Beetle. An elite team of designers formed the Living Legends Studio to create halo models that took cues from Ford’s rich design history. From this studio, a new concept was born, drawing inspiration from the earlier GT90, as well as the original GT40. Finally, the pieces came together for the 2002 NAIAS in Detroit, where Ford unveiled the stunning, retro-styled Ford GT40, an unashamedly retro design based on the original GT40, but brilliantly freshened and modernized by stylist Camilo Pardo.
On debut, the press and the public went suitably bonkers for the car, with the consensus that Ford would be utterly insane not to put it into production. Thankfully, Bill Ford agreed, and gave the project the green light – but with one notable caveat: Designers and engineers had just 15 months to turn the concept into a complete, tested, production-ready machine. The reason for the tight schedule was that Bill Ford saw the perfect opportunity to celebrate Ford’s Centenary, with the world-class sportscar buyers have wanted since the 1960s. Officially named Ford GT, the car became an “instant classic” from the moment the first cars were delivered. And buyers weren’t disappointed, either. In a matter of 15 months, Ford created a beautifully engineered, exceptionally well-built car with superb chassis dynamics, and 200 mph ability the 550 horsepower 5.4-liter supercharged V8. Ford targeted the Ferrari 360/430, meeting or surpassing that mark in many ways. The GT had superb handling and ride characteristics and was both easy to drive and astonishingly quick.
Our featured Ford GT is a desirable late production model, completed on August 24th, 2006. Finished in red over a black interior, this example has all four available options including lightweight forged alloy wheels by BBS, red brake calipers, side-stripes with top stripe delete, and the high-end McIntosh audio system. According to the excellent reference “Ford GT: The Complete Owner’s Experience” (Limongelli/Cipriani, 2011) this is one of just 13 2006 models with this color and option combination, out of the annual production of 2,011 units. This car has a clean Carfax report and has been with the current owner for three years, showing just over 9,000 miles from new. It presents in superb condition, with no known paintwork, original manuals, and with its annual service recently completed.
As expected of such a low mileage GT, it presents in superb condition with beautiful original paintwork and wheels. The rarely seen side-stripe-only option gives this car a somewhat understated appearance and sets it apart from the majority of GTs on the market. In the hands of the most recent owner, it has had light and careful use, as well as expert care and needs nothing to be enjoyed.
The retro-styled cockpit of the GT harkens back to the original GT40, with the instruments laid out across the driver-focused fascia, with the large speedometer canted over toward the driver’s eyes. All GTs came standard with ebony leather seats and brushed aluminum trim. The seats are in excellent condition, showing only the slightest signs of creasing in the outer bolsters, consistent with this car’s outstanding overall presentation and low miles.
Serial number 1643 falls within the final production batch, just before the very last Gulf-liveried Heritage Editions. According to marque expert Joseph Limongelli, many of the quirks of the earlier cars were sorted by this point, and they featured additional sound deadening to make them surprisingly user-friendly and reliable, particularly for a razor-sharp 200mph supercar. This car’s 5.4 liter supercharged SVT V8 is tidy and well detailed, appearing completely stock under the clamshell engine cover. Services are up to date, and this GT is ready for the road.
With the GT, Ford created an automobile worthy of the company’s 100th anniversary and spawned an instant classic that is revered by collectors and driving enthusiasts alike. With its evocative looks and thundering performance, the GT is a worthy successor to the original, and this superb example lives up to the hype as one of the most exceptional driver’s cars of the period.
Offers welcome and trades considered