It’s the early 60’s and after months of carrying out audits and spending millions of dollars reviewing a potential purchase, Ford prepare to buy Ferrari. However once Enzo finds that Ford won’t allow Ferrari to compete in an array of motorsports he pulls out of the sale losing Ford all the money they had invested thus far. Naturally Henry Ford wasn’t best pleased and demanded that his motorsports division immediately set to work on building a car to put Ferrari to shame out on track. The car built out of spite emerged in 1964 as the Ford GT40, named so as the cars roofline was just 40 inches off the ground. The car became a racing legend taking victory in a multitude of events and rather making Ferrari wish they had honoured the sale. Wind forwards 40 years and for Fords 100th anniversary the car has been reincarnated, it may have taken us an extra 5 years to acquire an example but we are here now.
This car to me is just as prestigious as the Batmobile with all of its history, references to the original car and iconic status among those lucky enough to have made contact with it. However despite being elated that a car I had admired for such a long time had appeared at long last, I would be lying if I said the phrase “never meet your heroes” didn’t come into my head. At the end of the day this car comes fromAmerica and its only really now in 2010 they are getting to grips with the idea of handling. To most US designers when the GT was being built the Nürburgring was still a fairy-tale and places such as Scotland were assumed as myth. But even at the risk of spontaneously combusting I wasn’t going to give up this opportunity.
So to the car and also the key reason why it doesn’t share its predecessor’s name. The Ford GT sits at 42 inches tall and let’s just face it, GT42 doesn’t have the same ring to it. Open the manly weighted door, this most defiantly isn’t a dainty little Italian sports car, to reveal a surprisingly refined cockpit. There are two seats that don’t crush you against the windscreen, clearly visible dials and gauges set out in a retro arrangement, a gear leaver that doesn’t require the user to be double jointed to operate and even an audible sound system. That is until you give the beast life, at which point your eardrums become redundant.
The cars mid-mounted 5.4 litre supercharged V8 heart sits just over your shoulder as a continuous reminder of this cars 500 horses just waiting to be relinquished. The V8 bellow is one of those sounds that go straight through as with each reverberation sound waves become physical objects pounding against your chest. This car was designed no more to be subtle as the space shuttle was efficient.
The Ford GT will however destroy your spine thanks to it’s a ride that can only be rivalled by attempting to slide down Mt Everest on a tea tray. This is a huge shame as the car in general hugs the road with its colossal width and tarmac chewing tyres. In every other respect the GT is precise and brilliantly balanced fulfilling childhood dreams of owning such an instrument of racing potential. So is this contradictory evidence of US engineering being able to cope with more than the ¼ mile. Well yes and no… As a complete package it’s a wholehearted yes as this “wide boy” will happily match competitors. But if you break it down this car isn’t as stateside as it would want you to believe. The chassis was all set up by Lotus, the bodywork is manufactured in the UK and many components come from an assortment of other European countries.
In conclusion? I don’t care that underneath it’s not an all Ford effort, I don’t care that it only does 14 MPG, I don’t evencare that in reality the car is about as usable as a chocolate teapot. The truth is that the Ford GT wasn’t built for reality; it was built to quench the thrust of your fantasies.