Inspired by the all-conquering GT40 of the 1960s, the Ford GT came into being due to Ford’s nostalgic revival period of the early 2000s, and in part a centennial celebrations. A 2002 GT40 concept car hinted at things to come, and by 2004 the first customer cars were ready for production.
Exotic looks that shadowed the timeless GT40’s lines, keen pricing and massive performance from proven internals made it an instant hit. Production was limited to just over 4000 units, and the huge initial demand pushed prices up very quickly.
With so much nostalgia in the air, why was it not called the GT40? Ford’s negotiations with GT40 nameplate owners and continuation GT40 builders, Safir, didn’t end well, so Ford decided that the shortened GT name would have to suffice. Being 43-inches tall, it wouldn’t have been strictly accurate anyway.
Harking back to the no nonsense blue-collar muscle car era, the GT had no flappy paddles, ECU controlled suspension or electro-trickery gizmos to help you out when you stomped on the loud pedal. The mighty 550bhp 5.4-litre supercharged V8 delivered its power in brutal fashion, allowing it to outpace contemporary Italian exotics against the clock, proving once again that there really is no substitute for cubic inches.
Early production and delivery issues long forgotten, today the Ford GT has cemented itself into a position of modern collector car, with prices rocketing faster than a central London apartment.
Which one to buy?
Not too much choice here, as there was one model available with four official options: BBS alloys, painted brake calipers, upgraded sound system and racing stripes. Six external colour choices were offered with a unique centennial white with blue decals being limited to the 2005 model year. Power was from a 550bhp 5.4-litre supercharged V8 and the sole transmission option was a tough six-speed manual gearbox.
Ford GTs fall into three main categories, there are the delivery mileage stock standard garage queens, valued highly by collectors. Then there are the cars which generally have less than 10,000miles on the clock, with a few minor modifications. Finally there are the highly modified GTs, which are more commonplace in the US and vary wildly in price.
Ford offered a number of modifications through the Racing Parts Catalogue. These included sports exhausts and supercharger pulley modifications for more power. A number of aftermarket modifications were also made available, with up to 1000bhp twin-turbo conversions not uncommon.
Some consider the 2005 model year to be a bit more special, coinciding with Ford’s 100 year anniversary. These cars had the most teething problems when new, however these issues would have been resolved by now so should not affect your buying decision. Overall, the difference between the two model years is insignificant, with choices limited and demand high you may have to take what you can get.
Performance and specs
Engine 5409cc 32valve DOHC V8
Power 550bhp @ 6500rpm
Torque 500lb ft @ 4500rpm
Top speed 205mph
0-62mph 3.5 seconds
Fuel consumption 15.5 mpg
Gearbox Six-speed manual
Dimensions and weight
Curb Weight 1538kg
A short production run, complex manufacturing processes and a rushed development cycle meant that some models experienced a few issues, which are worth taking note of.
• Early production models were plagued by a number of faults which should all have been attended to under the original warranty, it is worth checking the service records to ensure that this was done.
• Electrical systems had intermittent faults that could affect the climate control system as well as drain the batteries if cars were left standing.
• Suspension control arms on some very early cars cracked and reinforced replacement items were the solution
• Engines could suffer from a rear main seal oil leak due to incorrectly machined crankshafts.
• Axle bolt failures affected cars throughout the production run, and replacement parts should have been fitted to all models by now.
• Gear changes between first and second tend to be stiff and tight to engage until the transmission fluid has warmed through. This is a characteristic of the cars however if there is excessive grinding or the stiffness persists then there may be an issue that will need sorting.
• Steering column rattles were noted by some owners, and most were repaired under warranty.
• Power steering and engine coolant leaks affected some models, which were easily rectified with modified hoses.
• Most GTs in the UK have seen very little road use, however a comprehensive maintenance record is still essential as irregular fluid changes and infrequent use can cause problems.
1995: Angular GT90 concept shown at Detroit Auto Show was spiritual forerunner of GT
2002: GT40 concept car shown at Detroit Auto Show with the new GT styling language
2004: Production commences for 550bhp 5.4-litre V8 supercharged GT40
2005: Deliveries start to customers, with 343 Heritage Edition examples built
2006: Final GT40 built with 4038 units produced, the majority for the US market
Owners clubs, forums and websites
Summary and prices
The Ford GT is one of those rare examples of a car that has quite simply never cost less than its new list price. Even so, the past few years have seen a sharp rise in values, especially for ultra-low mileage unmodified examples. £240,000 is now the entry point for any GT with less than 10,000miles on the clock. Certain delivery mileage examples, especially the Centennial edition cars, have realised much more at auction, changing hands for close to £400,000 in 2015.
Modified or slightly more careworn cars can be found for less, however these are generally more prevalent in the US. Most UK cars will be of the low mileage mint condition variety. An already appreciating modern classic, the Ford GT is a successful modern interpretation of the age-old performance car concept.
Words: John Tallodi