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Old 08-03-2004, 08:30   #1 (permalink)
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US:Two-seater may follow Ford GT; automaker eyes 'Viper fighter' for 2007

Two-seater may follow Ford GT; automaker eyes 'Viper fighter' for 2007

By AMY WILSON | Automotive News

Ford Motor Co. is one step closer to building another high-priced, low-volume sports car after GT production ends.

Ford has prepared a concept that will be shown Aug. 12 at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California. The coupe concept is an evolution of the two-seat Shelby Cobra roadster project shown at the Detroit auto show in January.

Ford product chief Phil Martens sent the Detroit concept back to the design shop this year, saying it didn't "grab my soul."

But he describes the new concept as "droolski," adding: "We're very happy with it."

The company has not said whether it will build the car. But even if Ford has approved the plan, it's unlikely to announce that decision soon. Ford doesn't want to detract from the launch of the GT, which goes on sale this month.

Ford intends to produce about 1,500 midengine GTs during each of the next two model years. The car cannot meet regulatory standards for the 2007 model year.

Ford could introduce a sports car as the GT's halo car successor for the 2007 model year. The Cobra shown in Detroit was based partially on the mechanicals of the GT. Producing a second vehicle with those components would help Ford amortize its GT investment.

The Cobra concept shown in Detroit had a 6.4-liter aluminum 605-hp V10 engine. Ford sources described it as a Dodge Viper fighter that could be priced around $80,000. The GT's sticker is $143,845, including a $1,250 destination charge and a $2,600 gas-guzzler tax.
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