On Dec. 6, 1994, Ford unveiled a time machine that would span almost 40 years in the blink of an eye. The GT90 concept would recall the Le Mans-winning Ford GTs of the Sixties, rekindle Ford’s passion for performance and lead earlier this year to a more refined, street-ready GT concept now scheduled to be built as a low-volume supercar.
Never meant for production, the GT90 concept was built as a test bed for technology, engineering and design concepts, and driver-oriented features that eventually may be used in Ford production vehicles. Among them were a 6.0-liter, V-12 quad-turbo engine rated at 720 horsepower; a tinted, laminated glass bubble over the cockpit; an “Edge” design that tightly enclose its mechanicals with no wasted space; high-tech lighting and blind-spot detection systems; and tiles like those on the space shuttle to shield the V-12’s exhaust outlets.
Like the GT90, the 2002 concept, called the GT40, was an instant sensation, prompting Ford to quickly announce plans for limited production as the Ford GT—a low-volume, two-seater super-car with a supercharged, 500-hp modular V-8 engine, six-speed manual transmission, composite body and aluminum space-frame. As part of its centennial celebrations, Ford Motor Company next June will roll out the first three production Ford GTs—symbolic of Ford’s 1-2-3 finish in 1966, the first of three consecutive wins at Le Mans.
Beginning in 2004, about 1,000 Ford GTs a year will be assembled at the prototype build center at Ford’s Wixom Assembly Plant in Wixom, Mich. The Wixom plant builds such award-winning vehicles as the Ford Thunderbird, the Lincoln LS and the Lincoln Town Car.
The supercharged MOD 5.4-liter DOHC V-8 will be built at the Romeo Engine Plant, in Romeo, Mich. The plant builds some of Ford’s finest high-performance, single- and double-overhead cam V-8s. Earlier this year, Romeo won the prestigious Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing.
The new Ford GT joins Ford’s "Living Legends" lineup of production and concept cars, including the Ford Thunderbird and Mustang, and the Forty-Nine concept.
"The Ford GT is the ultimate Living Legend," explains J Mays, Ford vice president of Design. "It’s a true supercar with appeal equal to that of the greatest sports cars in the world, but with the addition of a heritage no one can match. Essential elements of the original – including the stunning low profile and mid-mounted American V-8 – continue in this latest interpretation of the classic."