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Old 10-17-2002, 07:01   #1 (permalink)
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Here’s the pudding: Ford reveals proof behind production plans for GT supercar

By BOB GRITZINGER/ AutoWeek
Details, details.

Since first showing Ford’s concept GT40 on our Jan. 14 cover, we’ve been grabbing every detail we can get about Dearborn’s coming supercar. At an early October meeting with Ford dealers in Las Vegas, company honchos filled in some of the blanks, including the name of the car, ballpark pricing and production plans.

First the name: Ford says it’s going back to the historic 1-2-3 finish at the 1966 24-Hours of Le Mans for the name, Ford GT. The concept carried the name GT40 in keeping with the nickname that referred to the 40-inch height of the first race cars, but we hear Ford wasn’t able to secure rights to use the GT40 name in production. The company’s spin-doctors say it wants to pay homage to the original while making a direct connection to the Ford brand.

“Little kids, and big ones, dream about ‘Ferraris’ not ‘360 Modenas,’” says Ford Division president Steve Lyons. “We want people to dream about the ‘Ford GT’ and put the emphasis on the Ford brand.”

Up next, pricing: Final pricing won’t come until just before the car goes in sale in 2004, but Lyons told dealers the car will sticker for “substantially less than $150,000.” Though some had speculated the limited-production two-seater would retail in the $250,000 range, we’ve been told from early on to expect a sticker somewhere north of $100,000, most likely about $125,000.

Finally, production: As we’ve reported, Ford wants to make sure it builds at least a few GTs to commemorate its 100th anniversary in 2003. Now the company is confirming that plan, officially announcing that just three cars will be built in 2003 for the anniversary. Regular production of about 1000 cars annually begins in early 2004. Sources say they’ll build up to 2500 cars total over several years. Where exactly in the Detroit area the car will be built is not yet finalized.

What’s missing? Ford still isn’t talking specifics on drivetrain and performance, so we’ll stick with the word we’ve heard: The GT’s aluminum body and chassis will be constructed by United Kingdom-based Mayflower Vehicle Systems (but within 100 miles of Ford headquarters). Also, a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 modified by Roush will produce about 500 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. Lear will work on interiors while Saleen Industries will put the car together with direction from the Ford Performance Group.
Want to get on the list for one? Your best bet is to befriend a Ford dealer that scores consistently high customer satisfaction numbers and sells lots of cars. Other dealers will get the GT via a lottery.
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