Written by independent automotive journalist Tom Jensen
In 2002, when Ford Motor Co. first showed a prototype of a radical new two-seat, mid-engine sports car to honor both the automaker’s 100th anniversary and its domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the mid-1960s, the debut immediately created a huge buzz with automotive enthusiasts.
Called simply the Ford GT, the new car bore a close appearance to the original Le Mans-winning Ford GT40s from 1966 ‒ no surprise given that the legendary Carroll Shelby helped develop both the GT40 and the GT. But while the exterior designs looked somewhat similar, the new GT was longer, wider and taller, and much more refined inside, too.
The new GT also benefited from nearly four decades of improved automotive technology, which manifested itself in the form of a much more sophisticated chassis and suspension setup and vastly improved ergonomics compared to its forebears.
The addition of Ford’s state-of-the-art supercharged modular V8 engine completed the GT package, producing a world-class sports car that was eminently suitable for both road and track use, while paying stylistic homage to one of the most important race cars in Ford’s history.
The Ford GT became an instant collectible when it first went on sale in late 2004 as a 2005 model. Although Ford had originally planned a global production run of some 4,500 GTs, in the end only 4,038 were built, all of which were sold as 2005 or 2006 models.
Today, the original 2005 and 2006 Ford GTs are among the most desirable contemporary collector cars made and, more than 15 years after first going into production, they remain in high demand.
For enthusiasts looking to add a GT to their collection, the Barrett-Jackson Fall Auction, October 22-24 at WestWorld of Scottsdale, will have a prime example crossing the block, and at No Reserve, meaning the high bid will win the car.
This 2005 Ford GT, Lot #725, is sure to draw attention at the auction, because, like all the 2005-06 examples, it delivers exhilarating performance, is fun to drive, attractive to look at and was produced in limited numbers.
Not only were there few GTs built in the first place, they were offered with a mere four factory options: forged alloy wheels, painted brake calipers, racing stripes and a high-end McIntosh sound system.
Regardless of options, though, every Ford GT came from the factory ready to rip up the road or the racetrack. Behind the driver’s seat was a 5.4-liter supercharged V8 engine that produced 550 horsepower and 500 ft/lbs of torque, enough to propel Ford’s halo car from zero to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, with a top speed of just over 200 mph. All that power was transmitted to the rear wheels via a precise-shifting six-speed manual transmission.
The chassis were equally sophisticated, with a lightweight aluminum space frame and massive four-wheel cross-drilled and ventilated Brembo disc brakes. To keep the GT connected to the pavement, Ford chose meaty Goodyear F1 Eagle rubber at all four corners.
Ford’s designers and engineers not only got the concept of the GT right; they nailed the details, too, earning praise from reviewers.
“The GT is more than just a sports car: It’s a high-speed, high-profile declaration that the Ford Motor Company is once again out to take on the world’s best,” wrote Motor Trend magazine in a review of the 2005 GT.
“The GT turns in like a Pitts stunt plane, changes directions like a polo pony, makes short work of tricky passing situations, and stops right now,” added Car and Driver in its first Ford GT test drive. “The steering is quick (2.7 turns lock-to-lock) and communicative, the pedal layout encourages heel-and-toeing, and the location of the shifter for the six-speed Ricardo gearbox is, not to put too fine a point on it, perfect.”
Your chance to go home with one of these legendary Ford GT sports cars will come at Barrett-Jackson’s Fall Auction. Check out the video below for a closer look – and don’t miss this great opportunity.