September 21, 2006 – Ford GT production ends (for now)

Ford GT
First generation Ford GT. By Winning Automotive Photography – CC BY 2.0

The Ford GT, a modern American sports car icon, owes its existence to the legendary Ford GT40 of the 1960s. This exceptional vehicle not only paid homage to its predecessor but also carved out its legacy as a high-performance, limited-production supercar. The Ford GT’s journey from concept to reality is a captivating tale in the annals of automotive history.

Inspiration from the Ford GT40

The story of the Ford GT begins in the early 2000s when Ford sought to commemorate its historic victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the original Ford GT40 in the 1960s. The GT40 was a racing legend, achieving four consecutive Le Mans victories from 1966 to 1969, and it left an indelible mark on the world of motorsports.

Ford GT Heritage Edition. By Damian Morys from New York City, United States – Ford GT., CC BY 2.0

Development of the Ford GT

In 2002, Ford introduced a concept car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. This stunning concept car paid homage to the GT40, and its positive reception sparked interest in turning it into a production model. With its sleek, retro-futuristic design, the Ford GT concept generated enormous excitement.

Ford decided to go ahead with production, and the Ford GT was officially unveiled at the 2004 North American International Auto Show. The production version closely resembled the concept car, featuring a mid-engine layout, gull-wing doors, and a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 engine.

Ford GT production numbers

Production of the Ford GT began in 2004 at Ford’s Wixom Assembly Plant in Michigan. The car boasted impressive performance figures, with its 5.4L supercharged V8 pushing 550 horsepower and a top speed of approximately 205 mph (330 km/h). Its lightweight aluminum body and advanced aerodynamics made it a true track weapon while still being suitable for road use.

Ford GT interior.
Ford GT interior. By stephenhanafin – flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Ford had initially planned to produce the GT for two years, with a target of 1,000 units per year. However, the demand for this limited-production supercar far exceeded expectations. By the time the production run concluded on September 21, 2006, a total of 4,038 Ford GTs had been built, surpassing the initial production estimate.

The Ford GT left an indelible mark on the automotive world. Its design, performance, and connection to the historic GT40 ensured its place in the pantheon of iconic sports cars. The Ford GT became a symbol of American automotive excellence and a testament to Ford’s commitment to performance and innovation.

The second generation Ford GT

2018 Ford GT. By Ruben de Rijcke – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Reintroduced in 2016, the Ford GT roared back onto the scene as a high-performance car and a highly sought-after collector’s item. Its limited production run and connection to the legendary GT40 have made it a valuable piece of automotive history. A twin-turbo 3.5L V6 powered the second generation GT, giving it a rating of 700 horsepower and a top speed of 216 mph.

For 2023, production is limited to just 67 cars and will mark the end of the GT line, at least for now. The production number is a nod to the 1967 Le Mans winner. Ford states the final Ford GTs will produce more than 800 horsepower and have a starting price of around $1.7 million. Not bad for a track-ready racecar.

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