Promoted: Why I Love My Ford - Jason Thiel

You might have the ideal Ford line-up - a 2005 GT, a Focus RS Mk3 and a 1967 Mustang 390 GT, with a 2017 Ford GT to come. How did it start?
I grew up in North Essex, where there was a real passion for Fords. My first car was a Fiesta 1.1L. My first fast Ford was a Mk2 1979 RS2000 Custom. I also had a real sheep in wolf's clothing - an Escort Mk4 1600 Ghia Cabriolet with an XR3i body kit in Essex white. Cringe-worthy now, but I loved it.

What is the appeal of fast Fords?
Affordability. I had posters of Porsche 911s, the Lamborghini Countach and my dream car - the TVR 420 SEAC. But Fords were achievable performance cars for the masses. Back then, you rarely saw a Ferrari on the road, but all my mates had fast Fords and we had real pride in the marque.

How did you get to the 2005 Ford GT?
I was working in the City, and I had various cars - a Lotus Esprit Turbo, a TVR Chimaera 450, a Ferrari 355 Berlinetta, a Ferrari 360 Spider and a BMW M3 CSL. I heard that Ford were making a new GT for 2005, so I got in touch, went through the application process, and was lucky enough to get the third UK car, after Jeremy Clarkson and [motoring journalist] Matthew Carter.

What was the appeal of the 2005 Ford GT for you?
They really captured the spirit of the original 1960s Ford GTs with that design and the retro interior. Then there's the 5.4-litre V8 - which is a Ford engine, so it's painless to live with compared to other supercars. Since I got her, she hasn't missed a beat, and I still have a huge grin every time I fire her up.

It must have been special to get a Ford GT so early in its life
I pushed Ford hard to get my car before the 2005 Le Mans 24 Hours, as I was making my regular pilgrimage with a few friends and I said I'd drive the Ford GT to the race. Obviously, it got huge attention, as few people had seen a Ford GT at that point. It was actually a bit overwhelming - the car is the star, but I was sitting in it.

You've kept the 2005 Ford GT to this day...
Even though it increased in value, I never bought it or considered it as an investment. I love the car, and it gets a lot of love back. In a Ferrari, you often get a negative response, but never in the Ford GT - it's always positive. I think people like an underdog, and the Ford GT has always had that - beating Ferrari at Le Mans in 1966, and winning its class again in 2016.

You've had other performance Fords as your daily drives...
I had a Focus ST, and a Range Rover Sport for the family. Now I have a Focus RS. It's one of those cars with a real sense of fun. Flick the 'Sport' button, and the exhaust cracks and pops - like I'm back in my RS2000, grinning like an 18-year-old.

Now you've added a 1967 Ford Mustang 390 GT to the mix
Like most people, I love the Mustang in Bullitt. I'm 50 this year, and this was my birthday present to myself. I stumbled on it in the Goodwood Festival auction, and she called to me like a temptress. This was the opportunity otherwise I might never get one again. I set myself a limit, and was lucky enough that my limit was the final bid.

What sort of condition was it in?
Honestly, I bought it a bit blind, but I took it to Ford Heritage and they said it was a good restoration. I've given Ford Heritage permission to show the car at events, and they store it and give it a bit of tender love and care, so it's a nice relationship. Plus, living in London, I have no more space in my garage.

Jason with Raj Nair
Jason with Raj Nair
But you have another car on its way - a 2017 Ford GT
I know Ford well, so when I heard about the new Ford GT I got in touch. Like everyone, I had to go through the extensive application process, but I think the fact I still own my 2005 Ford GT helped. I won't get the car for a while, but I'm hugely excited to be one of the lucky few to own such an iconic Ford.

I'd normally ask about your dream Ford, but I guess it's a short list...
I'd love an RS200. They're not the best to drive, and they're expensive now, but it's one of those cars where Ford produced the Group B rally car first, then the road car, which means it's just pure raw driving experience. That's what I love about performance Fords - whether it was my first car, the Focus RS or the new Ford GT. Thinking back, I couldn't sleep the night before I picked up my RS2000. I remember that excitement like it was yesterday. It's one of those things you never forget.

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