2006 Ford GT
Monterey Jet Center Auction | Estimate $375,000 - $425,000
Chassis no. 1FAFP90SX6Y400837
We know of only one car that would surely outrun the Ford - the $659,000 Ferrari Enzo.
Larry Webster, Car & Driver, 2004
Originally conceived as a concept car to celebrate the upcoming centenary of the Ford Motor Company in 2003, the second generation Ford GT first appeared at the North American International Auto Show in January 2002 prior to formally entering production in 2004. Its concept is widely attributed to then Ford Chief Creative Officer J Mays, who also presided over the introduction of Ford's similarly retro-inspired fifth generation Mustang. Each would form part of a concerted Retrofuturistic marketing approach by the Blue Oval in the early 2000s in celebration of their past successes in the luxury and performance sectors; the new GT forming its centerpiece in honour of Ford's four consecutive wins at Le Mans in the 1960s with its era-defining GT40 and MK IV models.
Although bearing an outward resemblance to the original GT40, the GT - perhaps unsurprisingly, given the passage of almost four decades - shared little technically with its illustrious forebear. A steel monocoque chassis of the type utilised on the original car was not considered a viable basis for a 21st century supercar, with Ford opting for a more contemporary lightweight aluminum spaceframe instead. The latter incorporated no less than 35 extrusions and seven complex castings, and was clad in a combination of superplastic and aluminum body panels, as opposed to the two-piece fiberglass shell favoured by Ford Advanced Vehicles in the '60s. Ingeniously, the chassis center section also housed the car's fuel cell; a move which both enhanced occupant safety and centered mass, thereby negating the adverse effects of a reducing fuel load and improving handling.
In keeping with the spirit of the original car, the new GT utilised a high performance derivative of Ford's multi-purpose MOD (Modular) family of engines; the resulting 5.4 liter V8 unit boasting four-cam valve operation, a single Eaton screw-type supercharger and no less than 550 horsepower. This was mated to a rear mounted, Ricardo-engineered six-speed transaxle with bespoke ratios, torque-sensing limited slip differential and twin-plate clutch; the last-named affording modest levels of pedal effort while simultaneously coping with the engine's prodigious 500 foot-pounds of torque.
Chassis dynamics were managed via conventional unequal length wishbones on all four corners, operating in conjunction with aluminum monotube coilover shock absorbers. Sway bars were employed both front and rear, while Brembo four-piston monoblock calipers and substantial cross-drilled, ventilated discs afforded dramatic stopping power. The braking system was further enhanced by the fitment of ABS and Ford's Electronic Brake Force Distribution technology which provided progressive deployment, even from near-maximum speeds.
It was the exterior design where the GT40 shared most of its motorsport derived DNA with the new GT. Although marginally taller and wider than the GT40, GT Chief Designer Camilo Pardo managed to successfully capture the essence of the original in a contemporary context. As ever, the devil was in the detail, and on the GT many items evoked their inspiration: exterior lights, twin nostril front cowl, perforated seat cushions, flush-fitting side windows and dashboard treatment all being areas which were particularly sensitively updated for 21st century demands.
This car was delivered to Lone Star Ford of Houston, Texas in January 2006 in the attractive color scheme of Midnight Blue Metallic with dual painted white racing stripes and Ebony leather interior. It was fitted with all four factory options of a McIntosh audio system, BBS Lightweight forged aluminum wheels and grey painted brake calipers, all of which - in conjunction with the racing stripes - added a further $13,600 to the Standard Vehicle Price of $150,000.
Subsequent to original delivery, the car was modified to incorporate the distinctive Aquilon Butterfly door option - as fitted to the aftermarket Ford GTX1. This solution addressed one of the major complaints of the GT's door design: that of significant space being required to open and close them satisfactorily. The Aquilon hinges solved this problem by permitting full ingress and egress in a fraction of the space required for the standard doors. Additionally an uprated Whipple supercharger was fitted in place of the original Eaton unit; the latter boosting power to some 750 horsepower. If the original factory specification GT boasted a 0-60 mph time of a little over three seconds and a top speed of 205 mph, then the resulting performance of this particular chassis can only be imagined. Remarkably, this magnificent example has been retained by the original owner from new, having covered just 4,350.5 miles in the intervening 16 years and is offered with two keys and its original window sticker.
Recent years have seen an entirely justified surge in interest in the Ford GT among discerning collectors; its illustrious parentage, awe-inspiring performance and comparatively low running costs all being contributory factors to this trend. As with all cars, provenance, originality and low mileage remain critical to desirability, and in the superlative car offered here there can surely be few - if any - GTs currently available which are better served on all three counts.