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Ford GT40
By Greg Warner

Classic Car Articles by Greg Warner To think that the original Ford GT40 of the 1960's, which was conceived, designed and built (and rushed through the entire process) for the sole purpose of showing the Europeans, who dominated the biggest races of the day (and especially, the big, "red" Italian stallions) and more specifically to win that endurance race of races . . . the "grueling" 24 Hours of Le Mans. Henry Ford II, then Chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Company, assembled a team of designers, engineers and builders to produce a world-class, high-performance "GT" (for Grand-Touring or "Tourismo") sports car that would prove that we "Americans" and specifically the Ford Motor Company, could build a race car to compete with the best cars and teams the world had to offer. And boy-oh-boy, did he ever succeed by winning not only first place in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966, but also the other two remaining GT40's took second and third places! This started a legacy of wins at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans which lasted all the way through 1969! More about the original GT40 (Oh and the 40 stood for the height of the car which was forty inches!) in another issue.

Fast-forward to the year 2003 (also the year of Ford Motor Company's 100th Anniversary) and the introduction of a new, updated version of the awesome, world-class and legendary Ford "GT40" in a production "supercar" named simply the Ford "GT". Some thought (at least internally at Ford Motor Company) was given to name it Ford "GT43" because the height of the new car was 43 inches, and even though the cars looked very similar to the naked eye, they were extremely different under the beautifully curvaceous body skin. The new Ford "GT" actually began its rebirth, as many great cars do, as a concept car for the Ford Motor Company’s' centennial year and was originally shown at the 2002 North American International Auto Show to overwhelmingly, rave reviews. Soon after its debut, it was quickly decided, and announced by the Ford Motor Company, that the new version would become a production vehicle to help promote the Ford Motor Company's 100th Anniversary. Three pre-production prototype units were unveiled and shown on a promotional circuit during the 2003 centennial year of the Ford Motor Company. Ford's Group Vice-President of Global Design and Chief Creative Officer, "J" Mays, headed-up a team of designers, builders and engineers which included Camilo Pardo (head of Ford Motor Company's "Living Legends" studio and mainly responsible for the hands-on design of the new Ford "GT"), John Coletti (Ford's leading engineer on the "GT" program) and of course, the famed Carroll Shelby himself was tapped to lend his legendary expertise to the design and performance testing of the new asphalt-punishing beast.

The result was an amazing combination of legendary, historical, performance with the efficiency of modern technology, including futuristic design techniques, combining some of the lightest, space-age materials available and all the latest in high-performance components on the planet, culminating in a modern-day, supercar with real-life "I can own and drive this thing to the beach, the supermarket or the local raceway" sex-appeal. The new Ford "GT" was built for only two years, 2005 and 2006, as a special-interest vehicle and Ford Motor Company only planned to produce a total of 4,500 copies of this modern legend. Actually, only 4,038 units were produced and about 300 of those were destined for distribution to Europe and Canada.

The Ford "GT", like its predecessor, is a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, two door, two-seat, superfast sports car. The Ford "GT" carries a modular 5.4L supercharged V8, which is bolted to a specially-designed, six-speed, manual transmission. It can reach from 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and run through the traps in a quarter-mile jaunt in about 11.2 seconds at around 131.2 mph and its top speed was in the range of 212 mph! The modern version of the Ford "GT" is an amazing vehicle in its own right and always turns heads and I am sure, changes opinions of any critics who may be so lucky to belt themselves in and take her for a little ride, just as its grandfather did at the 24 Hours of Le Mans some 40+ years ago!

Please feel free to browse our website and check out this fine example of a modern classic "Supercar" (for more information on this particular vehicle, please contact the knowledgeable team at Nevada Classics in Las Vegas, Nevada @ 888-696-4931) and while you're at it, check out the many other fine vehicles we have to offer right here at Cheers!

Thanks for reading and remember to drive safe but have a great time!

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