Shelby Cobra, Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Challenger, Ford GT. These are but a few of America’s purebred sports and muscle cars that have become household names the world over. They’ve allowed the red, white, and blue to fly in spirit across every ocean and have carried the country’s reputation for speed to numerous circuits and championships.
But one name stands out. A name born in competition whose reputation has endured the tides of time and the swiftly-changing automotive industry for almost 60 years.
The Ford GT nameplate started with the GT40, one of racing’s greatest legends whose resume has been a double-edged sword from the start. On one edge, it represents a heralded “wild west” period in American racing where the only limit was a company’s budget and safety was an afterthought. On the other edge, such a reputation has made real GT40s essentially unobtainium for collectors, with values ranging from $2.9 million for a Mark I to almost $10 million for a Le Mans used Mark II. Ford’s solution to this? The Ford GT.
Starting with the 2005 model year, the redesigned GT was built as an homage to the GT40 with similar outward appearances and a rear-mounted 5.4 L supercharged Ford V8 putting out 550 hp. To bring the new GT even closer to its ancestor, Ford built 346 Heritage Edition cars with a replica of the iconic Gulf Oil livery worn by the GT40 Mk 1. In all, 4,038 Ford GTs were built from 2005 to 2006 with a suggested retail price of US$139,995, making it a pretty rare and expensive beast.
In 2017, Ford followed up the success of the GT with a second generation, upping the ante in every feasible way. While still largely bearing the same silhouette of the GT40 and the first-gen GT, the second-gen GT looks and drives like nothing short of a supercar. While the engine was a much smaller 3.5 L twin-turbocharged Ford EcoBoost V6, the engineers managed to squeeze an eye-watering 660 hp from it. Ford also went hog wild with the Heritage editions, mimicking liveries of GT40s from 1964 to 1969. To make matters worse for collectors, only 1,350 units are planned to be produced, starting at around $500,000.
As one might assume, the popularity of both generations has skyrocketed since their inception for a number of reasons, one of which being cost. First-gen Ford GTs regularly bring in around $400,000, while some specially-specced examples can cross the $500,000 mark. Second-gen cars are even more ludicrous in price, more often than not bringing over $1 million at Mecum and R.M. Sotheby’s auctions.
Look past the cost like Jessie J wanted us to, and you’ll find that Ford built something special over the past 17 years.
“I was born in Italy so motorsports are in my veins. I knew all about the Ferrari vs Ford feud,” Sebastian Bariani told me. See, Bariani owns both a 2005 and a 2021 Ford GT. They’re kind of his passion so I thought it would be good to get his thoughts on them too.
“In 2004, I had enough money to buy a Ferrari 360 Modena Spyder but when I heard about the Ford GT coming out, I decided to wait and see what it would offer. I went to the Ford Centennial in Detroit for the unveiling and I loved it so much that I wanted to buy it on the spot.”
The fact that the GT superseded a 360 Modena Spyder piqued my curiosity. I pried further.
“Well, the thing is, Ferrari produces supercars and sports cars every day, but it’s not every day that a manufacturer like Ford produces such an exclusive supercar.
When the news came out that Ford would make another GT, I applied and was eventually accepted. It was as spartan and barebones as the first generation, but that’s one of the things I love and one of the reasons it has appreciated so much in price. The V6 was criticized but times changed and some people are stuck in the 1960s where everything had to have a V8. I say no. That 3.5L twin-turbo V6 is a perfect engine.
I think the Ford GT stands for everything that defines America: it’s strong, reliable, affordable to maintain, and it’s a symbol of the country’s pride and ingenuity. Gosh, I just love these cars.”
Fellow owner Ed Sims echoes these sentiments.
“The ‘05 is a reliable, easy-to-maintain, speed demon with room to bring things on a road trip. The new GT is the only street-legal car I know of that was designed & built for racing. I’d say the ‘05-’06 is my favorite.”
Want your own American superstar? We don’t blame you. Luckily, we have quite a few Ford GTs for sale from both generations and our doors are always open. Good hunting!