America’s Original Supercar
The Ford GT
Back in the 1960s, the Ford Motor Company was keen to expand its international operations. Henry Ford II was a car guy at heart, and being a legendary automotive pioneer, he wanted to make his brand know at the endurance race of endurance races, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In 1963, Enzo Ferrari entertained the thought of selling the entire Ferrari brand, and one of the most well-heeled suitors was in fact the Ford Motor Company. Ford spent millions on due diligence in pursuit of the Ferrari brand. According to legend, the deal was in the final completion phases when Enzo pulled the deal entirely. Rumor has it that Enzo wanted to manage the Ferrari motorsport division post-merger, and Henry Ford would have none of it. Ford campaigned their own cars and engines at the Indianapolis 500, and part of the deal would have kept Ferrari entirely out of North American motorsports. The deal between Ford and Ferrari crashed and burned, leaving Henry Ford II both infuriated and motivated to conquer his new Italian rival.
Almost immediately, Ford Motor Company began development on a vehicle who’s sole purpose was to crush Ferrari at Le Mans. Ford partnered with Lola Cars, who had previously partnered with Ford to use their engines in their race cars to create a car capable of winning Le Mans and subsequently staking Ford’s claim as one of the most accomplished manufacturers. The result of these efforts is a result of legend…the Ford GT40.
The GT40s namesake comes from GT (meaning “grand touring”) and 40, representing the 40″ vehicle height. After extensive development, the GT40’s inaugural race was in May 1964 at the Nurburgring 1000km. The first year was one of failure and growth, but by 1966 the Ford GT40 was the most revered car in all of motorsports. Packing a 427ci V8 engine, they took a 1-2-3 podium finish at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, cementing the Ford GT40s place in racing history.
Fast forward to the turn of the century.
Ford’s place as a leader in the US domestic car market was in jeopardy. It was decided that a “halo” car would help usher in a new generation of automobiles. Ford’s “Living Legends” studio was tasked with building a modern-day supercar, capable of challenging the world’s greatest sports cars. Chief designer Camilo Pardo penciled the Ford GT40 Concept, which was first shown to the public at the 2002 North American Auto Show. Crowd reaction for the new “GT40” was overwhelmingly positive, and work on the production Ford GT began.
The GT40 name didn’t carry over to the new car, as the proper use of the nomenclature would have been GT43, referring to the 43″ overall height of the car. Since the rights to the “GT40” name now belong to a company manufacturing replicas of the classic GT40, Ford chose to simplify the name to “Ford GT”.
Launched for the 2005 model year, this new supercar exceeded nearly everyone’s expectations for quality, refinement, and performance. Powered by a 5.4 liter all-aluminum supercharged V8 producing 550 horsepower, the acceleration, roadholding, and track performance put the car’s performance up there with the Lamborghini Murcielago and Enzo Ferrari, cars that cost exponentially more. Only four options were offered on the car: Forged wheels, painted stripes, painted Brembo brake calipers, and a high-end McIntosh audio system.
Production was limited to the 2005 and 2006 model years, with a complete production run of 4,038 cars. When released, the market value was more than $100,000 over the window sticker. As time passed, some cars remained at dealers un-purchased. The market fell back to MSRP, and a few may have even purchased their cars below window sticker price. In the seven years since production has ended, the perceived value of these cars has steadily increased, with low mile cars trading well over their original list. The demand for these cars has grown healthily, and speculation for both short and long term value is expected to rise.
Here at Chicago Motor Cars, we’ve kept a close eye on the Ford GT market and have actively been seeking the highest quality examples of this spectacular automobile. We are continually seeing the market increase in value, yet we are continually finding new customers who share the same passion for the Ford GT as we do. If you’re in the market for a Ford GT, chances are you’ll always find a nice selection in stock. You can see our complete collection online at www.chicagomotorcars.com.