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Old 07-09-2003, 06:32   #1 (permalink)
Mr. Embargo
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Embargoland
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First Ford GT to go on sale next month

For 53 years the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has been known as the place to see the most beautiful, unusual and rare examples of the automobile. It is also where a great deal of money is raised annually for charity. Ford Motor Company is adding to both of these Concours staples by making a 2005 Ford GT available for sale at the famed Christie’s Auction, held in Pebble Beach the evening following the Concours on Sunday, August 17. Proceeds from the sale of the car will go to Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance designated charities, which include The Pebble Beach Company Foundation, United Way of Monterey County, The Wheelchair Foundation, and Boys & Girls Club of Monterey County.

There are few opportunities to own one of the first examples of an automotive legend, but that is the unique prospect for the winning bidder of this car. Up for auction will be chassis number 10, which will be the first production 2005 Ford GT offered for sale to the public. Ford Motor Company will certify it as the first 2005 Ford GT sold. The car will be produced to the successful bidder’s specification, including color and options, for delivery through a Ford dealership after production begins in spring 2004.

"The Ford GT is the ultimate automotive living legend," said Paul Russell, Ford GT marketing manager. "It is a true supercar with appeal equal to that of the greatest sports cars in the world, plus a celebrated heritage no one can match. All of us at Ford are extremely proud of the Ford GT and the outstanding team that made this supercar a reality. We are pleased to be offering this first public sale to benefit the charities of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance."

The Ford GT is inspired by the car that roared into the hearts and minds of enthusiasts everywhere during the 1960s. The original GT project and cars were spearheaded by then-company Chairman and CEO Henry Ford II. His goal was no less than to change racing history. With these cars, generally referred to as GT40s because of the roof height of 40 inches from the ground, Ford won the 24 Hours of Le Mans four years in a row – 1966 through 1969. Over its racing history, the Ford GT family won all of the world’s major endurance races, and brought World Sports Car Championships to Ford in 1966 and ’67, and the World Manufacturers’ Championship in 1966 and '68.

While the GT and its historic predecessor share an almost identical silhouette, every dimension, curve and line of the new car is a unique reinterpretation of the original. The new car is more than 18 inches longer and stands nearly 4 inches taller. Powered by Ford’s MOD 5.4-liter supercharged V8 mounted amidships, the car offers the impressive combination of 500 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. The power is put to the road through a Ricardo six-speed manual transaxle featuring a helical limited-slip differential.

As on the historic race car, the Ford GT aluminum body panels are unstressed. Instead of the steel or honeycomb-composite tubs used in the 1960s, the Ford GT team developed an all-new aluminum space frame as the foundation. The front fenders curve over 18-inch wheels and Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires. In the tradition of original Ford GT racers, the doors are cut into the roof. The rear wheel wells, filled with 19-inch wheels and tires, define the rear of the car, while the accent line from the front cowl rejoins and finishes the car’s profile at the integrated "ducktail" spoiler.

The interior design incorporates the novel "ventilated seats" and instrument layout of the original car, with straightforward analog gauges and a large tachometer. Modern versions of the original car’s toggle switches operate key systems.

"The highly-anticipated Ford GT is a tribute to motorsport’s most famous endurance race car. Christie’s is honored to offer the first example to be available for public purchase," said Malcolm Welford, Christie’s vice president and head of its Los Angeles Car Department. "We have a long association with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and we are pleased to support its charities through this auction"

"Ford is known for putting the world on wheels, and in doing so it has created some of the most legendary cars ever produced. The GT is prominent among them," said Sandra Kasky, co-chairman of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. "Ford’s offering of this car for sale in order to benefit our charities is tremendously appreciated. With Christie’s assistance, this auction should be a very lively and exciting event. We can’t wait!"

In 2003, three non-saleable production prototype versions of the Ford GT were produced for the 2004 model year as a centerpiece of Ford Motor Company’s 100th anniversary celebration. Limited production of the 2005 Ford GT sports car begins in 2004.
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