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    Solid Car, Fractured Story: Why This Excellent D-Type Was a Bargain

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While a first-year 2006 Corvette Z06 has lost a third of its value, this Ford GT has improved 25% over its original MSRP



2005 ford gt coupe


In 1962, Henry Ford II, keen to add some racing luster to his company, started negotiations to buy Ferrari. The deal never happened, so Ford decided to build his own race-bred car. That car was the incomparable icon GT40, created in England in 1964 and capable of over 200 mph. Victory followed four times in a row at Le Mans between 1966 and 1969, and the GT40 also became the first car to cover 3,000 miles in this famous race.

Fast-forward 40 years and the legend is reborn as the Ford GT. Similar in outward appearance to the original GT40, the Ford GT is a bigger, wider, and taller mid-engine supercar. A total of 4,038 production cars were built from 2005 to 2006. Powered by a 5.4-liter supercharged V8 with a 6-speed transmission, the top speed is limited to 205 mph, with a 0-60 mph time of under 3.5 seconds.
Initially there was some reluctance to accept the car, but that was quickly overcome by the Ford GT's looks, incredible performance, and drivability. Perhaps it could never replace the GT40, but it could and did become a marvelous car in its own right, revered by the public and critics alike, including Jeremy Clarkson, the controversial host of "Top Gear," who owned one.

This example of the supercharged Ford GT was built in 2005 and comes in the striking color combination of white with blue racing stripes. This vehicle, number 348 of 1,890 built that model year, is in as-new condition with a full dossier of paperwork including importation and service history, and has traveled just 5,000 miles.

{analysis}{auto}1418{/auto} This car sold for $187,128, including buyer's premium, at the Bonhams & Goodman auction in Sydney, Australia, on December 6, 2009.

First came the 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle. Then it was the nuevo 2001 Mini. And then the 2005 Ford GT, the latest in a stirring lineup of nostalgia machines from major automakers-and certainly the most exciting. Conceived during the go-go 2000s and unlike the VW or Mini, the Ford GT was a bold low-production, high-performance apogee designed to harness Ford's historic Le Mans racing heritage and stake out a place for FoMoCo at the top of the American sports car pecking order alongside the Viper, Corvette and Saleen.

Iconic shape still a traffic-stopper



Though dimensionally larger than the original racer, the modern Ford GT is commendably faithful to the original's iconic shape, then as now a traffic-stopper. The roof height was even kept down to just 44.3 inches-nearly five inches lower than a Corvette C6 and not all that far from the original GT40's celebrated 40-inch height. While magically styled and unsurpassed in its racing heritage, ironically the new Ford GT made little impact in contemporary racing, while modified street rivals including the Viper and Corvette excelled all the way up to the Le Mans level.

Like the exterior, the interior was well executed but hardly lavish-some would even call it cheap looking-though nicely ventilated deep bucket seats, a centrally mounted 220-mph speedometer, and a bank of racing-style toggle switches provided numerous talking points for owners while granting rides to friends.

Le Mans poseur or not, at the end of the day, Ford GT owners could also take delight in the fact that this car-while fundamentally an image-builder for Ford-was also a genuine performance demon. At 3,485 pounds, it was admittedly 277 pounds (9%) heavier than a standard Corvette C6, but its outstanding 550 hp and 500 ft-lb of torque evened the terms, and the Ford GT was able to surpass even the Corvette Z06's track performance. (That would ultimately change as the supercharged ZR1 came into the Chevy fold with 638 hp and a curb weight of only 3,324 pounds.)

GT prices vs. Z06 prices



The 2005 Ford GT's original MSRP was $149,995 (plus $5,350 for racing stripes, taking a page out of Porsche and Ferrari's outlandishly priced options book). Collectors predictably snapped up the short run of 4,038 cars, no doubt thinking of future payoffs as collector car values in general spiraled into the ethersphere. The Ford GT production run was ended by the debut of new collision safety standards, which it did not meet.

Prices didn't zoom to a million clams, but now, five years later, Ford GTs are doing a lot better than Corvette Z06s. While a first-year 2006 Z06 has lost a third of its value since new, as this Australian auction shows, the Ford GT has actually gained ground, with this example improving 25% over its original MSRP. In turbulent times that's a comfort, and with some signs of economic recovery now appearing, perhaps the Ford GT has truly weathered the storm.

Regardless of whether you're a bit above or below water in a Ford GT, it's still a compelling car. The design is unmistakable and every bit as fetching as the original, even though, like an aging supermodel, the Ford GT is destined to rest on its laurels from the 1960s forever. Which is hardly a bad thing, when they're such good ones. While the new Ford GT will never be a true classic, it will always be a well-done interpretation of Ford's greatest race car, from Ford's greatest era in racing.

As a thoughtful tribute to the original, let's call this one intelligently, if a bit optimistically, bought.{/analysis}

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