Heresy: I Like the Old (New) Ford GT a Lot More Than the New Ford GT

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
heresy i like the old new ford gt a lot more than the new ford gt

13 years ago, Ford introduced a stunning V8-powered supercar. It was not affordable.

At roughly $150,000 — or $188,000 in 2017 dollars — the 2005 Ford GT was out of my reach. More than likely, the 2005 Ford GT wasn’t on your shopping list, either.

But because its price placed the reborn Ford GT in the realm of attainability, nearly 3,600 GTs found homes between the end of 2004 and early 2007. Sure, a lot of them spend much of their time parked in garages. Many scarcely move. And it’s not as though a Ford GT is daily commuter in mid-winter Des Moines.

But because of that Blue Oval badge and value-oriented pricing — hey, the GT cost a lot less than a Ferrari F430 — the Ford GT was common enough and American enough and crazy enough to be The People’s Supercar.

The new Ford GT, on the other hand, is a $450,000 beast with a pair of missing cylinders, disappointing noises, and such exclusivity that spotting one in the wild will be virtually impossible outside supercar havens in SoCal and South Beach.

Forgive me, but I prefer the old Ford GT.

The new, 647-horsepower Ford GT will be quicker. Its monocoque construction is obviously more modern. The new GT’s hydraulic active suspension is surely a wonder. The aero package will be more refined. Its racing connections are instrinsic. The hand-built assembly of a new Ford GT is a nine-day journey in that supercar bastion of [s]Maranello[/s] Markham, Ontario.

But the new Ford GT, like many a modern performance car, doesn’t have a manual transmission.

The new Ford GT is so snobbish you had to apply to get one.

The new Ford GT’s F-150 Raptor-related 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine (the old Ford GT’s 5.4-liter V8 was F-150-related, too) is a V6.

V6s are fine. V6s are good. V6s can be great. But Automobile says, “The engine can sound coarse and produces a fair amount of drone if allowed to dawdle along at low-to-medium revs in a relatively high gear, and history will not remember it as an all-time orchestra.” Indeed, after the intoxicating noises of the previous Ford GT, the new GT’s sounds are hardly the stuff of which dreams are made.

On an even more subjective level, I consider the new Ford GT’s lengthy midsection to be awkward; its mouthy front end is too in keeping with 2017’s addiction to massive grilles. The overall appearance isn’t generic supercar, but it’s more in-your-face and less obviously pretty.

Perhaps all of this irrelevant. Ford will eventually sell its 1,000 Ontario-built GTs, no matter how I feel about it. (12 have found U.S. homes so far, according to Ford’s sales reports.) Perhaps the opinion of an individual who will never own a Ford GT, probably never drive one, and may not even see one is lacking validity.

Yet what made the previous Michigan-built Ford GT so great was the degree to which Ford made a world-beating supercar at a world-beating price. Impressing us at $150,000 is far more difficult than wowing us at $450,000.

To the pre-teen sitting in the back seat of his mom’s Camry, the 2005 Ford GT he saw flash by his window said something about Ford. That kid looked at Ford and saw an American company that was building a more audacious car — a more visually impressive car, a louder car, perhaps even a faster car — than the supercar elite.

That occurrence, that 11-year-old who saw a GT rumble by, was more than four times more likely than the new Ford GT making an appearance alongside your mom’s RAV4. The new Ford GT is a masterpiece, no doubt. But for $450,000, isn’t a masterpiece assumed?

Ford’s accomplishment with the 2005 GT was therefore more significant. Then again, drivers did suffer concussions after heads struck door frames before every drive, so maybe the old car wasn’t that great. Moreover, if TTAC relations want to let me drive the new GT, I’ll accept the offer.

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

Join the conversation
2 of 45 comments
  • Seanx37 Seanx37 on Jun 11, 2017

    Well, you can always wait 6 months til the mid engine Corvette debuts. It will have the proper number of cylinders. And will cost far less than $450k

  • Rreichar Rreichar on Jun 17, 2017

    You can always spend $120,000 or so for a Superformance GT40. I have seen them used for 80K. Great looks and sound. Lack of roll down windows is an issue but they are available with A/C and left hand drive.

  • Bobbysirhan The Pulitzer Center that collaborated with PBS in 'reporting' this story is behind the 1619 Project.
  • Bobbysirhan Engines are important.
  • Hunter Ah California. They've been praying for water for years, and now that it's here they don't know what to do with it.
  • FreedMike I think this illustrates a bit of Truth About PHEVs: it's hard to see where they "fit." On paper, they make sense because they're the "best of both worlds." Yes, if you commute 20-30 miles a day, you can generally make it on electric power only, and yes, if you're on a 500-mile road trip, you don't have to worry about range. But what percentage of buyers has a 20-mile commute, or takes 500-mile road trips? Meanwhile, PHEVs are more expensive than hybrids, and generally don't offer the performance of a BEV (though the RAV4 PHEV is a first class sleeper). Seems this propulsion type "works" for a fairly narrow slice of buyers, which explains why PHEV sales haven't been all that great. Speaking for my own situation only, assuming I had a place to plug in every night, and wanted something that ran on as little gas as possible, I'd just "go electric" - I'm a speed nut, and when it comes to going fast, EVs are awfully hard to beat. If I was into hypermiling, I'd just go with a hybrid. Of course, your situation might vary, and if a PHEV fits it, then by all means, buy one. But the market failure of PHEVs tells me they don't really fit a lot of buyers' situations. Perhaps that will change as charging infrastructure gets built out, but I just don't see a lot of growth in PHEVs.
  • Kwik_Shift Thank you for this. I always wanted get involved with racing, but nothing happening locally.