The Ford GT: An Owners Perspective
It all started in early 2010. After selling my NSX that I’d owned for 7 years, I said that my next sports car would have to be something quite special. I spent countless weeks scouring the internet for a car that fit all of my driving requirements: it had to be fast, handle well, be unique and deliver a smile on my face each time I slipped into the driver seat.
Unfortunately for me, this task became a lot harder than I initially thought. I wanted the best bang for my buck, which at the under-$200,000 range didn’t leave me much choice for rarity. Yes, I could have gone out and bought a Ferrari or Lamborghini, but I’ve never done anything the conventional way in life and I didn’t plan to now.
I believe super cars are supposed to have a manual transmission, two seats, 500-plus horsepower and as little tech as possible. I also wanted something that could possibly appreciate in the future.
A friend of mine recommended I take a closer look at the Ford GT. With less than 4,000 in existence, I knew my options were limited.
Starting at $139,995 when new, the Ford GT could be equipped with a total of four options (colored brake calipers, racing stripes, BBS Forged wheels and a McIntosh sound system) that together added $14,500 to the GT’s base price. I was lucky to find an example with all four options and decided to take a trip out to see it.
At the time (2010) low mileage Ford GT’s were selling for around $170,000, with the even rarer Heritage/Gulf colors edition selling for a little bit more. I worried if it was a smart decision to purchase a car that had already appreciated (albeit, minimally) in price.
I ultimately trusted my gut and had the car checked out. On top of this, I asked the right questions from the thorough information I gained from other Ford GT owners on internet forums and decided to go ahead with the purchase despite the fact I didn’t even drive the car.
Fifteen--thousand miles and 4 years later, I still feel the same way about driving my Ford GT as I did the first day it arrived.
Most Ford GT owners rarely drive them. In fact, most Ford GTs have less than 500 miles on their odometers. That’s a shame for a car that wants to be driven. In fact, I practically daily-drive my Ford GT when the weather is warm. Despite this, don’t expect to just hop in a Ford GT and expect it to drive like any other car. The easy-to-use clutch and pedal setup (perfect for heel-toe downshifting), and semi-smooth gearbox surprisingly don’t require you to work on building your left calf and right arm muscles, but everything else requires your full attention.
The structure of the GT has two unique features: a large center-tunnel to house the mid-mounted fuel tank and cut-out roof sections for the cantilevered doors -- an issue in tight parking spaces. All it takes is the experience of hitting your head on the top of the door just once while exiting the GT to learn the proper exit method for the car.
On the road, the GT feels a lot lighter than its claimed weight of 3,300 lbs. A mixture of aluminum and super-plastically formed aluminum keep the chassis feeling extremely rigid.
Visibility is poor from multiple angles. The A-pillars block the view to the front quarter panels and the tiny rear window is blocked by two aluminum braces on either side of the window. The large supercharger is placed right in the middle of the rear window’s view as well.
The GT’s engine is an all-aluminum masterpiece. Upon pressing the red starter button the engine barks loudly, but soon settles into a non-intrusive burble. With 550 horsepower on tap, it’s hard to keep away from the loud pedal. But be careful, as the GT has no safety nannies to keep you in check. Ford decided to do away with both traction and stability control, keeping the experience as raw as possible.
There is definitely a lot to think about when piloting the GT on public roads. For one, everyone wants to get a better look at the low-slung GT. This can be a problem in traffic, as the car’s incredible width and poor sightlines makes it easy for fans of the car to get easily lost in its blind spots. Viewed from the rear, the GT’s hunkered-down look is striking, with a roofline so low you can completely lose sight of the car in a crowded parking lot.
One of the biggest complaints about the GT is the fuel mileage. Ford claims 12 MPG in the city; however, I manage to average only about 10 MPG.
Despite the mileage, road trips or long drives feel effortless in the GT. The seats are very comfortable; however, you will be at a loss for storage space, as the front “trunk” can only fit a couple pieces of loose clothing.
There are very few major issues with the Ford GT. Random electrical issues can occur if your battery is not working at full capacity. A half-charged battery can lead to random glitches of gauges that will eventually cause permanent gauge failure. Replacing these gauges is a very time-consuming and costly repair, assuming you can even find new gauges.
I recommend leaving the GT on a battery tender when not driving for extended periods of time to avoid worrying about this. Batteries are a special order item at Ford dealers that sell SVT products and are almost impossible to find elsewhere as the battery needs to be a certain specification to fit inside the GT.
Be careful when opening and closing the rear clamshell hood to expose the V8 engine, slamming it down will cause alignment issues and is a very expensive piece to replace if you’re even able to find a replacement part.
The most common issue with the Ford GT involves the car’s gearbox. The Ford GT’s Ricardo race style gear selector is designed in such a way that it’s easy to accidentally start off in third-gear. Doing so one too many times is a good way to say goodbye to your clutch, a costly repair in the Ford GT.
Also be sure to explain to Ford parts dealers that you are calling for parts for a Ford GT and not a Ford Mustang GT as they often make this mistake.
In my opinion if you are in the market to purchase a Ford GT, pay close attention price as smoking deals come up very rarely. Don’t be scared of higher-mileage cars, as these GTs have generally been owned by enthusiasts who took good care of their car.
A low mileage (between 3,000-5,000 miles) car will fetch between $250,000 and $300,000. However, Ford GTs with less than 1,000 miles will cost $300,000-plus, while Heritage/Gulf Livery (400 built) cars will be anywhere between $375,000 all the way to $600,000
If you manage to find a Ford GT for less than $200,000, with a clean title and not too many miles, then snap it up as quickly as you can, as such finds are becoming rarer and rarer. Your Ford GT will give you many years of worry-free driving in an appreciating exotic, something not every pricey car offers.
Story By: AutoNation.com
Image Credits: AutoNation.com