|2004 GT||2006 GT|
Image credits: © Ford.
2005 Ford GT news, pictures, and information
OverviewIt was in France, in the mid-1960s, that the great American supercar came to life. A low-slung, muscular racing car built to win on the legendary Le Mans race circuit, the Ford GT project was spearheaded by no less a powerhouse than company Chairman and CEO Henry Ford II. His goal was to change performance car history. And he did. The Ford GT race car beat the world's best in endurance racing, placing 1-2-3 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 and winning the next three consecutive years.
On June 13, 2003, the all-new 2005 Ford GT supercar came to life in the form of three production road cars that honor the classic race cars in design and engineering ingenuity. Ford's 'Centennial Supercar' builds on the company's product-led transformation and will be the flagship of Ford Division's 2004 'Year of the Car' that includes the launch of several other cars.
'The Ford GT is our Centennial Supercar because it reaches into great moments from our past, while casting a light into the future,' said Chris Theodore, vice president, Ford Advance Product Creation. 'As we celebrate our centennial, the Ford GT represents many of the technologies, processes and people that will help drive our next 100 years.'
Design: Concept to Reality
Ford's GT40 concept car was created to celebrate that great era in history and look forward to the great years to come. Únveiled at the 2002 North American
International Auto Show, the GT40 concept became an instant sensation. And just 45 days after the vehicle was unveiled, Ford stunned the world again, officially announcing that a production version was in the works.
'The Ford GT is the ultimate Living Legend,' explains J Mays, Ford vice president of design. 'It's a true supercar wîth appeal equal to that of the greatest sports cars in the world but wîth the addition of a heritage no one can match. Essential elements of the original – including the stunning low profile and mid-mounted American V-8 engine – continue in this latest interpretation of the classic.'
Although the production car and the original race car both share the mystique of the Ford GT name, they do not share a single dimension. The new car is more than 18 inches longer and stands nearly 4 inches taller. Its new lines draw upon and refine the best features of Ford GT history and express the car's identity through modern proportion and surface development.
Contrary to typical vehicle development programs, the engineering challenge was to build the supercar foundation within the concept's curvaceous form – and to build it in record time for Ford's centennial. The well-defined project afforded the engineering team early insight: This car required a new way of doing business since the concept car was only 5 percent production-feasible.
Body engineers sought new techniques to shape the car's sexy lines because normal stamping techniques couldn't deliver these curves. But would the curvy door panels accommodate the requisite slide-down window? After extensive computer modeling and concessions by designers and package engineers, the window freely moved within the door panel. Aerodynamicists couldn't bend the exterior sheet metal; instead, they came up wîth unique solutions under the body.
The result: a technological wonder wrapped in the Ford GT40 concept form.
'It's amazing that we'll show the first cars just a little more than a year after we started the program,' says John Coletti, director of SVT programs. 'That's a real tribute to the people, processes and technology behind the cars.'
The Ford GT production car, like the concept, casts the familiar, sleek look of its namesake, yet every dimension, every curve and every line on the car is a unique reinterpretation of the original. The car features a long front overhang reminiscent of 1960s-era race cars. But its sweeping cowl, subtle accent lines and high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlamps strike a distinctly contemporary pose.
The front fenders curve over 18-inch wheels and Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires. In the tradition of original Ford GT racers, the doors cut into the roof. Prominent on the leading edge of the rear quarter panel are functional cooling scoops that channel fresh air to the engine. The rear wheel wells, filled wîth 19-inch wheels and tires, define the rear of the car, while the accent line from the front cowl rejoins and finishes the car's profile at the integrated 'ducktail' spoiler.
The interior design incorporates the novel 'ventilated seats' and instrument layout of the original car, wîth straightforward analog gauges and a large tachometer. Modern versions of the original car's toggle switches operate key systems.
Looking in through the backlight, one finds the essence of the sports car in Ford's MOD 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 engine. The finishing touches are Ford blue cam covers, each featuring an aluminum coil cover imprinted wîth the words 'Powered by Ford.'
A little more than one year ago, Coletti was offered a career opportunity – lead the Ford GT engineering program. The catch: The first three cars were to be delivered for Ford's Centennial celebration.
Coletti teamed up wîth Neil Ressler, a former Ford vice president who left retirement to consult on the program, to quickly select the Ford GT 'Dream Team' of engineers and consultants. Neil Hannemann was tapped to be chief program engineer and oversee the day-to-day development of the Ford GT after years of cross- supercar engineering assignments.
The team quickly came up wîth innovative technologies and processes to deliver on the centennial commitment:
Computers, Not Prototypes: The Ford GT team relied heavily on computer models to compress the typical first nine months of engineering work into about three months, relying on 10 percent of the usual number of prototypes. The first prototypes were built in less than 100 days after program approval.
Solid Foundation: The Ford GT team knew this road car would require a stiff structure, much like a race car. As such, they developed an all-aluminum space frame comprising extrusions, castings and several stampings. The hybrid aluminum space frame chassis is based on efficient use of 35 extrusions, seven complex castings, two semi-solid formed castings and various stamped aluminum panels.
Grand Touring: The new Ford GT is intended for the road, unlike the original 1960's race cars that ultimately spawned a limited number of production road cars. However, the new car required unique race-like engineering solutions – like engineering out the aerodynamic 'lift' inherent in the original car's design – for a car that will clock in at more than 180 mph. All-American V-8: Ford proved it could dominate racing fields, peppered wîth exotic powerplants, wîth V-8 engines in the 1960s. The Ford GT motor, the largest V-8 in Ford's modular engine family, carries on that tradition. The engine features 85 percent new moving parts and produces 500 horsepower and 500 foot-pounds of torque. Both figures are comparable to those of the 7.0-liter engine that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 and 1967.
Technological Wonder: The Ford GT features many new and unique technologies, including super-plastic-formed aluminum body panels, roll-bonded floor panels, a friction-stir welded center tunnel, a 'ship-in-a-bottle' gas tank, a capless fuel filler system, one-piece door panels and an aluminum engine cover wîth a one-piece carbon-fiber inner panel.
As on the historic race car, the Ford GT aluminum body panels are unstressed. Instead of the steel or honeycomb-composite tubs used in the 1960s, the Ford GT team developed an all-new aluminum space frame as the foundation. The chassis features unequal-length control arms and coil-over spring-damper units to allow for its low profile.
Braking is handled by four-piston aluminum Brembo monoblock calipers wîth cross-drilled and vented rotors at all four corners. When the rear canopy is opened, the rear suspension components and engine become the car's focal point. Precision-cast aluminum suspension components and 19-inch Goodyear tires – combined wîth the overwhelming presence of the V-8 engine – create a striking appearance and communicate the performance credentials of the Ford GT.
The 5.4L powerplant is all-aluminum and fed by an Eaton screw-type supercharger. It features four-valve cylinder heads and forged components, including the crankshaft, H-beam connecting rods and aluminum pistons. The resulting power output is 500 horsepower and 500 foot-pounds of torque.
The power is put to the road through a Ricardo six-speed manual transaxle featuring a helical limited-slip differential.
The original Ford GT racers were engineering and design marvels demonstrating Ford's dedication and perseverance. In a few short years under the direction of Henry Ford II, the company built a program from scratch that reached the pinnacle of international motorsports competition – and stayed there for four racing seasons.
That innovation was born of inspiration from the company's founder Henry Ford who, before launching Ford Motor Company in 1903, raced to victory in 1901. His car, the 1901 Sweepstakes – an ash-framed wheeled sled wîth a massive 8.8-liter, two-cylinder engine – was not particularly pretty or fast by today's standards. ( posted on conceptcarz.com) It also handled poorly: The §teering had to be manually 'unwound' after each turn, as the geometry necessary for self-centering hadn't yet been conceived.
Henry Ford and his machine managed their first racing victory October 10, 1901, beating the favored competition in the 'world championship' Grosse Pointe Race Track. Ford's average speed in the 10-mile event was 44.8 mph.
Sixty years later, Henry Ford II watched the Europeans dominate racing worldwide. Ford Motor Company had joined a 1957 Automobile Manufacturers Association agreement prohibiting direct involvement in racing, and the ban quickly took its toll on Ford's image and its ability to engineer performance. Thus in 1962 Henry Ford II decided to withdraw from the already-dissolving pact, and the company launched a massive racing campaign that would take the 1960s by storm.
A key component of 'Ford Total Performance,' as the effort was called, was the quest to win the famed 24-hour Grand Prix d'Endurance at Le Mans. Perhaps the world's most significant – and glamorous – motorsport contest, Le Mans in the early 1960s was showing signs of becoming a Ferrari showcase, because the Italians had become the leaders in a number of endurance classes and events. But the Ford GT race car changed Le Mans forever, and today it signifies a new era for Ford Motor Company.
'It's ironic,' states John Coletti, 'that in the 1960s Ford brought out the fabled Ford GT racer to dominate Ferrari on the premier race circuits of the world, and that in the not-too-distant future, the Ford GT will return to outgun the Ferrari once again, but this time on the streets of America.'
Chassis Num: 1FAFP90S55Y401652
|Sold for $160,600 at 2007 Gooding & Company.|
Under the guidance of John Coletti and with the help of Ford's Special Vehicle Team, the state-of-the-art design concept came to life. It was given a hybrid aluminum space frame chassis, supercharged modular V8 and complex coil-over suspension with unequal-length control arms. Zero-to-sixty was achieved in less than four-seconds and top speed was limited to 205 mph. It was well equipped with many luxury conveniences as air conditioning, comfortable seats and a full stereo system.
This example is one of just 4038 examples produced. It has traveled less than 500 miles since new and is a one-owner car. It is painted in Centennial White with optional blue racing stripes and fully optioned ebony leather interior. The car was sent to Liberty Ford in Ohio after being fitted with a long list of features including high-intensity discharge headlights, Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires, full aerodynamic package, and a McIntosh stereo system with CD player, lightweight forged alloy wheels and red painted brake calipers.
In 2007 it was brought to the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, Ca where it was estimated to sell for $130,000 - $150,000 and offered without reserve. Those estimates proved nearly accurate as the lot was sold for $160,600 including buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
Chassis Num: 1FAFP90S25Y400006
|Sold for $187,000 at 2009 RM Auctions.|
In 2009, it was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Meadow Brook presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $150,000 - $200,000. The lot was sold for the sum of $187,000 including buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2009
Chassis Num: 1FAFP90S75Y400065
|Sold for $170,500 at 2012 RM Auctions.|
There were 4038 examples of the GT produced, with approximately 500, 1,900 and 1,600 built during 2004, 2005 and 2006 respectively. Demand was so great that it outpaced supply. The early cars sold for substantial premiums over the MSRP.
This particular example has had just one owner from new and there are approximately 1,300 miles on the odometer. It is finished in Mark IV Red and was factory-equipped with all four available options, including the $5,000 white painted stripes, the $4,000 McIntosh CD stereo system, the $3,500 lightweight BBS forged aluminum wheels, and the $750 color-matched Brembo brake calipers.
In 2012, the car was offered for sale at the St. John's auction presented by RM Auctions. The car was estimated to sell for $175,000-$215,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $170,500 including buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2012
During the early part of the 1960's, Ford attempted to buy Ferrari for $18 million to run its international racing program. The purpose was to use the Ferrari company and technology to help Ford achieve a LeMans victory. The negations unraveled and Ferrari walked away from bargaining table in May of 1963. Enzo Ferrari gave no indication as to why he had decided his company was no longer for sale. Ford decided to build their own super-car and beat Ferrari at International Racing.
Roy Lunn was an Englishman who had began his career at Ford of Britain and later came to the United States in 1958. He had played a role in helping to create the 1962 mid-engined Ford Mustang I Concept. The vehicle was an aluminum-bodied, two-seater that was powered by a 1.7-liter 4-cylinder engine.
After the Mustang I, Roy Lunn along with Ray Geddes and Donald Frey turned their attention to a racing program. The car that Ford had conceived was similar to a Lola GT, being low and mid-engined. The Lola was designed and built by Eric Broadley in Slough, England and first displayed in January of 1963 at the London Racing Car Show. Broadley was running low on funds and consequently more than eager to join with Ford.
Borrowed from the Lola GT was the monocoque center section and aerodynamic design. It was longer, wider, and stronger with a rigid steel section. In the mid-section lay an all-aluminum 4.2-liter V8 engine. The gearbox was a 4-speed Colotti unit; the suspension was double-wishbone. Excellent stopping power was provided by the 11.5 inch disc brakes on all four wheels. In April 1964 the GT40 was displayed to the public at the New York Auto Show. Two weeks later the car was at Le Mans being put through pre-race testing. The result of a very rushed program became evident. The car suffered from aerodynamic and stability issues and as a result ended in two crashes.
The GT represented 'Grand Turismo' while the designation 40 represented its height, only 40 inches. The number 40 was added to the designation when the Mark II was introduced.
The Mark II, still built in England, was put through extensive testing which solved many of the stability issues. Carroll Shelby was brought onboard to oversee the racing program. He began by installing a 7-liter NASCAR engine that was more powerful and more reliable. The result was a vehicle that was much more stable and quicker than the Mark I. For the 1965 LeMans, the Mark II proved to be a stronger contender but resulted in another unsuccessful campaign.
The third generation of the GT-40, the Mark III, was introduced in 1966 and only seven were produced. Ford continued to fine-tune and prepare the GT-40 for LeMans. The GT40 led the race from the beginning. This lead continued throughout the evening and into the morning hours. During the morning the GT40's were ordered to reduce their speed for purposes of reliability. By noon, ten out of the thirteen Fords entered had been eliminated. The remaining three Fords went on to capture first through third place. This victory marked the beginning of a four-year domination of the race.
In 1967 Ford introduced the Mark IV to LeMans. It was built all-American, where the previous versions had been criticized as being English-built and fueled by monetary resources from America. This had not been the first attempt for an all-American team using an American vehicle to attempt to capture victory at LeMans. Stutz had finished second in 1928. Chrysler had finished third and fourth during the same year, 1928. In 1950 the first major attempt to win at Lemans was undertaken by a wealthy American named Briggs Cunningham. Using modified Cadillac's he captured 10th and 11th. His following attempts to win at LeMans included vehicles that he had built where he managed a third place finish in 1953 and fifth place in 1954. This had been the American legacy at LeMans.
Of the seven vehicles Ford entered in 1967, three crashed during the night time hours. When the checkered flag dropped it was a GT40 driven by Gurney/Foyt to beat out the 2nd and 3rd place Ferrari by only four laps.
For 1968 the FIA put a ceiling on engine displacement at 5 liters. Ford had proven that Ferrari could be beaten and an American team and car could win at LeMans. Ford left international sports racing and sold the cars to John Wyer. Gulf Oil Co. provided sponsorship during the 1968 LeMans season. The Ford GT40 Mark I once again visited LeMans and again in 1969 where they emerged victorious both times. In 1969 the margin of victory for the GT40 was just two seconds after the 24 Hours of racing.
In 1969 new FIA rules and regulations ultimately retired the GT40's from racing and ended the winning streak.
Around 126 Ford GT-40's were producing during the production life span. During this time a wide variety of engines were used to power the vehicle. The MKI used a 255 cubic-inch Indy 4-cam, a 289 and 302 small block. The 289 was by far the most popular, producing between 380 and 400 horsepower. When the MKI returned during the 1968 and 1969 season it was outfitted with a 351 cubic-inch Windsor engine. The MKII came equipped with a 427 cubic-inch NASCAR engine. The third generation, the MK-III, had 289 cubic-inch engines. The final version, the MK-IV all were given 427 cubic-inch power-plants.
America, more specifically Ford, had proven that American automobiles and drivers were able to compete in all arenas.
After the production of the Ford GT40 ceased, there were several companies interested in creating replicas. One such company was Safir Engineering which purchased the rights to the name. In 1985 the Ford GT40 MKV was introduced and examples would continued to be produced until 1999. Chassis numbers continued in sequence where the original Ford cars stopped. The cars were powered by a Ford 289 cubic-inch OHV engine that produced just over 300 horsepower and was able to carry the car to a top speed of 164. Zero-to-sixty took just 5.3 seconds. Disc brakes could be found on all four corners. The cars were nearly identical to the original.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2007
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|2004 GT||2006 GT|