In 2005, Ford unveiled its modern take on the classic GT40. The new car, simply dubbed 'GT', soon established itself a reputation for blending immense performance with reliability and usability - and further transpired to be capable of taking on countless established supercars.
That was in part because of its storming mid-mounted supercharged V8, which pounded out 550hp and 500lb ft. Thanks to this substantial power, and a kerb weight of 1,521kg, the GT could dash from 0-62mph in less than 3.8sec. Flat out, with enough room, it'd hit 205mph.
The 5.4-litre V8, which featured an aluminium block and aluminium heads, channelled its power to the rear wheels via a Ricardo six-speed transaxle and a helical limited-slip differential. It wasn't just the powertrain that was impressive, though; under the GT's formed and stamped aluminium body panels, carbon-fibre rear deck aside, sat an aluminium space frame.
Off this hung double wishbone suspension, with unequal-length control arms, which was controlled by aluminium monotube dampers. Substantial disc brakes and four-piston calipers all round served to bleed off speed at a rapid rate of knots and, to the benefit of many, four-channel ABS was standard.
While unquestionably a supercar in performance and design, owning a Ford GT need not be as arduous as you might expect. Excellent durability aside, the left-hand-drive GTs are comparatively easy to handle once you've acclimatised to them; they're not excessively big, either, with a footprint similar to that of a Nissan GT-R - although the poor rearwards visibility can make them trickier to manoeuvre in tight spots.
These aren't inexpensive supercars, though, by any stretch. When new, a GT commanded a price of around £125,000. These days, appreciation and rarity have pushed the used price of Ford's V8 supercar to in excess of £200,000. Spend upwards of £250,000 and you'll get a particularly low-mileage car, too, frequently with just four figures showing on the odometer.
You won't often see another, either, as only 28 were officially imported into the UK and just 4,038 had been built when production stopped in 2006. More have since been imported but, in any case, UK specialists such as GT 101 can help you source the ideal car - and supply parts and support - while the excellent Ford GT Forum is always on hand to answer any more questions you may have.
Inspired? Buy a Ford GT here.
Bodywork and interior
Generally speaking, potential accident damage aside, the Ford GT is a robust car and few have covered enough miles to have suffered any real wear and tear. Consequently, besides getting a history check, it's a case of inspecting the car for cosmetic and underside damage.
There were some styling changes throughout the GT's short life that can help identify if a car's been involved in an accident, though; in 2005 the GT had a mesh grille in its nose but, in 2006, it was deleted and replaced with a slatted grille. If you're looking at a GT, and it's got the wrong grille for the year, then it may well have suffered front-end damage.
Many GT owners remove the rear bumper, in order to improve the car's looks; it's an easy job, should you feel inclined to get it deleted. Do hold on to the original parts, though, so you can return the car to standard if needed.
There weren't many options when it came to specifying a GT. You could pick the exterior colour, have painted stripes, choose from a selection of caliper colours and opt for an upgraded stereo. The stereo option, however, removed the standard stowage bin and replaced it with a subwoofer - making the GT even less practical. An aftermarket kit, however, is available to relocate it and reinstate the storage space.
It's the GT's interior that's perhaps demanding of more attention when it comes to viewing a used example. While straightforward and typically resistant to wear, they can suffer from some potentially costly issues. For starters, the magnesium alloy central tunnel can corrode which causes the paint to crack and flake. The only solution is to completely strip it and repaint it, but there's no guarantee that the corrosion won't later penetrate the new paint. Check the floor mats, too, as they're prone to degrading and often require replacement.
The Autometer-sourced instruments can also cause problems, as they have a reputation for failing after just a few years in service. Check each gauge carefully to ensure that it's operating as expected as, otherwise, you'll have to go directly to Autometer to source a replacement; they can sometimes be repaired, though, and manufacturer Speedhut also makes aftermarket alternatives.
One thing that can affect a GT's value is its colour. The black, tungsten and blue cars tend to be the most valuable due to their rarity; red was the most popular shade, when new, which consequently means red GTs are the most common and often less costly than the alternatives. Heritage cars, like those finished in the eye-catching Gulf colour scheme, can sometimes command a significant premium.
Engine and transmission
The GT's powertrain is one of its major selling points as it's straightforward and strong. The 32-valve DOHC 5.4-litre V8's cams are driven by a chain, for example, so there's no finickity timing belt to worry about. Servicing needs to be done yearly or every 5,000 miles, mind, and can often result in a bill of around £2,000.
One thing that's worth looking for in the service history is the replacement of the bolts holding the gearbox's output shaft flanges to the shaft themselves. These had a history of failing, causing the flange to fall off and resulting in a lack of drive. The saving grace is that this only ever occurs at low speeds or when moving off, immobilising the car - usually in the busiest high street or box junction around, that said, sod's law being what it is. Most, fortunately, have been attended to by now.
Clutches, as you'd imagine, can suffer under the forces exerted by that force-fed V8 and the wide rear tyres. A clutch in a car that's just been used and enjoyed on the road should last up to 30,000 miles but, if a car's tracked hard, it could survive for a fraction of that. Expect to pay around £5,000 to have a new clutch fitted. The transmission, even at far higher torque outputs, should otherwise prove practically indestructible.
Thanks to a stout block, forged pistons and H-beam rods, the Ford V8 can withstand around 800hp without internal modifications. Most opt for a smaller supercharger drive pulley, upping its speed and output, and get the engine tuned to produce around 630hp. Beyond that, you'll need a larger supercharger - either a 3.3- or 4.0-litre unit.
Sink a five-figure sum into a new blower and supporting modifications and, even with the standard exhausts and catalytic converters, your GT will pound out almost 800hp. You're getting close to the limits of the stock bottom end though, as above 800hp the pistons will typically be the first thing to let go - with any momentary detonation smashing the top lands.
Another common upgrade is to fit a sports exhaust, which gives the GT the voice it deserves without being too overbearing. A common choice is the Accufab True X Pipe, which costs £1,200 in the US.
You may occasionally see GTs called the Roush 600RE and Avro Mirage 720. More power was the highlight of both of these special editions, with the denominations in their names giving the guess-the-output game away - although the 720 also benefitted from upgrades including better AP brakes and KW suspension.
Suspension and steering
It's quite rare to find a GT that's accumulated enough miles to have caused wear and tear on its suspension and steering, so just have a cursory check for any signs of obvious issues such as cracked bushes or weeping dampers.
One thing that is worth bearing in mind is that there was a recall early in the car's life for a potential casting issue in the control arms. Ford discovered a crack in one and, although no failures were reported, the company decided to err on the side of caution and design a replacement. In the interim, GTs with fitted stronger billet arms - the machining marks on which clearly identify them. In 2006, forged arms were fitted to alleviate the original issue with the cast arms.
This, though, can be an easy way to identify if a GT's been involved in a crash. An early 2005 car, for example, should have billet suspension arms. If you spot forged components on one or more corners, it could indicate that the car's experienced a hefty smash at some point.
Wheels, tyres and brakes
The GT packs 18x9J wheels in the front and 19x11.5J wheels out back, which are respectively shod with 235/45ZR18 and 315/40ZR19 tyres. The rear tyres, in particular, were originally developed with Goodyear and can be hard to come by - so it's generally recommended to switch to a tyre such as the Bridgestone Potenza and, at the back, fit more common 345/35 profile tyres. These cost around £130 a corner for the front and £250 a side at the rear.
Front tyres should, if the car is properly aligned, last upwards of 15,000 miles. The traction control-devoid GT, though, will chew through a set of rears in less than 6,000 miles. Aside from budgeting for replacement tyres, remember to inspect the wheels of any potential GT purchase for any signs of damage.
Braking is provided by substantial 355mm Brembo discs up front, clamped by four-piston calipers, and 335mm rear discs that are also clamped by four-piston calipers. ABS is standard, too. Problems with the braking system are few and far between, so just inspect for any signs of excessive wear. Discs can be expensive - specialists Stillen sell a set of front discs for just under £1,500, excluding shipping and customs - but a complete set of pads can be had for around £500.
SPECIFICATION - FORD GT
Engine: 5,409cc V8, supercharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 550@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 500@4,500rpm
Price new: £125,000
Price now: Upwards of £200,000