For all its race-car breeding and heritage, the Ford GT was quite happy to dawdle along at town speeds and could "soak up road imperfections with ease," to quote Road & Track. The cockpit was comfortable too, and handsomely appointed with racing-style seats, leather upholstery, and an impressive spread of gauges and toggle-type switches across the dashboard.
There were also unexpected conveniences including automatic climate control, power windows/locks/mirrors, tilt steering wheel, and keyless entry. Options were few: a booming 260-watt McIntosh sound system, lightweight BBS forged wheels, painted brake calipers, and the traditional "LeMans" striping on the nose, roof, tail, and rocker panels.
The only drawbacks to commuting in a GT were Thighmaster-high clutch effort and the very limited visibility associated with midships cars. Such humdrum matters were fast forgotten on the open road, and especially on the racetrack.
Acceleration was predictably explosive, with typical 0-60-mph times of just under 4.0 seconds, 0-100 in less than 9.0, standing quarter-miles in the low 12-second area at over 120 mph, and an estimated top speed of around 190.
Handling was no less impressive: race-car sharp yet road-car forgiving, with mild understeer changing to power-on oversteer whenever your right foot commanded. Skidpad grip was world-class at near 1g, and Road & Track's test car ran the slalom some 2-mph faster than the much-acclaimed Ferrari Modena.
"It is about time that a U.S. automaker enters the supercar ranks," R&T concluded. "Watch out. America is roaring back to the top." And so it seemed. Several magazines both at home and abroad drove the GT against Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, and other pricey "exoticars," and picked the Ford not only for its stunning abilities, but as the best value.
Value in a supercar? At just five bucks shy of $150,000 before destination charge and Gas-Guzzler Tax (triggered by low EPA ratings), the GT was the bargain in its class. Not that many sold at list. After all, supply was limited -- about 4000 worldwide max, said Ford -- and demand for this thrilling machine was many times greater.
With gotta-be-first types waving checkbooks and dealers seeing potential windfalls, market prices soared overnight, reaching a quarter-million or more by some accounts. There were even reports of owners blatantly "flipping" barely used GTs in pursuit of a fat, fast profit.
But all this only adds to the mystique of a fabulous Ford that was gone way too soon, shot down by "Way Forward" cuts along with the Wixom, Michigan, plant that built the cars carefully and largely by hand. Will we ever see its like again? Well, the GT was the starting point for the striking Shelby GR-1 concept coupe of 2005, so that's one possibility.
First, though, Ford Motor Company must get back on its feet. Can it succeed? While we can't say for sure at this writing, we think there's a better-than-even chance. Several planned products hold promise, especially the hybrid-power versions of the Fusion and other models to follow up on the popularity of the 2005 Escape Hybrid, the first gas/electric SUV from an American auto manufacturer.
Ford has lately staked its reputation -- and thus its future -- on innovation. For the sake of everyone in the company and all who love cars, we hope Ford will come up with the "better ideas" it so urgently needs.
For more on the amazing Ford, old and new, see:
- Ford New Car Reviews and Prices
- Ford Used Car Reviews and Prices