reborn Ford GT is sleek, super-fast and exclusive. Only 1,000
will be built over five years.
The Ford GT is
the hottest American production supercar ever made, and itís an
icon that represents homegrown automotive glory.
Ford built the
first prototypes to challenge Ferrariís dominance on European
racetracks. The GT beat the Italians at their own game in a historic
1966 victory at Le Mans ó taking first, second and third place.
Then Ford came
back to Le Mans on the 50th anniversary of that win and did it
again, in 2016.
Ford GT is loud, low, impractical and uncomfortable. Getting in and
out through the dihedral doors is a calisthenic ordeal. The
visibility is almost nil. The steering is balky and the suspension
is stiff. The roar of the engine drowns out the radio and makes
everyone on the other end of a phone call say, "Where are
isnít even a cup holder. Luggage? Sorry. No trunk.
driving is a nightmare. This two-door coupe couldnít possibly feel
more awkward crawling through city traffic, creeping over speed
bumps, or using the small backup camera to parallel park.
Under 30 miles
per hour, the transmission jerks through the shift points. Itís so
clunky on downshifts that I was afraid I was leaving gearbox parts
on the road behind me.
higher-speed driving is a dream.
The Fords that
beat Ferrari were powered by massive American V-8 engines. The
modern GTs are a little more sensible, and get their boost from a
Similar to the
EcoBoost engine Ford puts in its F-150 pickup trucks, this
twin-turbocharged V-6 makes 647 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of
torque. Thatís a lot, especially for a car that weighs only 3,054
shaved weight from the GT by replacing steel and aluminum hard parts
with carbon fiber.
So, to get a
sense of how it behaved, I took a spin through Carbon Canyon ó
across Anaheim, through Yorba Linda, and up into Chino Hills.
wrong with the car in traffic is right in the canyon.
need to listen to the radio when I could listen to the gurgling V-6
instead. I didnít want to talk to anyone on the phone. I didnít
need a caffeinated beverage to stay alert because the GT had me wide
and uncommonly quick, the GT sits wide and flat. At speed, itís
all business. The power is instantaneous, with no appreciable turbo
lag, delivered to the rear wheels through a tight, seven-speed
engineers have limited the dashboard details to the bare minimum.
Everything required to operate the car is embedded in the steering
wheel. Though there is a navigation system, and the GT has Apple
CarPlay, the cockpit is designed for maximum efficiency.
Want to adjust
the seat? You canít. Instead, you can use a lever to bring the gas
and brake pedals closer to the immovable seat.
suspension and balky steering make the GT shockingly easy to manage
once the speedometer starts to spin. The car gets lighter and
nimbler as the speed rises. Above 71 mph, a rear wing deploys to
help keep the rear tires on the ground. The faster you go, the
better it feels.
The tires and
suspension provided excellent feedback, reporting on every wrinkle
in the road. Cornering felt intuitive. The Brembo calipers and
ceramic brakes slowed and stopped the GT with precision.
moving fast, the Ford GT is, for my money, one of the most beautiful
vehicles ever designed. The current crop has continued the iconic
livery of the 1966 Le Mans winner ó starting with the broad center
stripe ó but the bodies are even more elegantly streamlined. The
line that runs from the doors to the rear wheels, and defines a wide
channel for air flow, is the definition of sleek.
Ford says this
sports car will go from zero to 60 mph in 3 seconds and achieve a
top speed of 216 mph. (In addition to Normal, Sport, Track and Wet
driving modes, thereís "V Max," which is meant to
maximize acceleration for maximum straight-line speed.)
Being an Eagle
Scout and a current member in good standing with the California Safe
Drivers Club, I didnít attempt anything like those performance
numbers. So I was not able to push the envelope, or even approach
the envelope, of this carís abilities.
with access to a helmet, driving gloves and a race track will be
able to do that ó but not many of them. Ford is going to make only
1,000 Ford GTs, at the rate of about 200 a year. (Each one is marked
with a dashboard emblem. The one I borrowed read "H984."
In Ford GT code, that means it was built in 2017 and has a VIN that
ends in 984.)
late-night host and permanent car enthusiast Jay Leno got one of the
first ones, at a reported cost of $505,000.
able to get on the waiting list will have to cough up close to the
same to take a GT home.
stupid amount of money for a car, of course. But this isnít just a
car. Itís a piece of history, and extremely unique, and highly
collectible. Like the limited-edition Ferraris, McLarens,
Lamborghinis and Paganis they resemble, these Ford GTs will be worth
a lot more than $450,000 when the 75th anniversary of that 1966
victory comes around.
The most iconic American sports car
Beautiful to look at, delightful to drive
at some speeds, and so spendy
Two-door, two-passenger sports car
3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 gasoline engine
Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
economy rating: 11 miles per gallon city / 18 highway / 14 combined