Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: The Sticks of Central TX
Re: U.S.A.:Big money buys first customer-purchased Ford GT at auction
The first 2005 Ford GT sold to the public garnered a crowd-pleasing $557,500 (including auction fee) on the Christie’s Auction ramp this past weekend to cap Ford Motor Company's premier role at the Monterey Peninsula’s annual automotive showcase.
An undisclosed bidder out-dueled a host of intenders to signal Ford’s 500-horsepower “Centennial Supercar” will be a tremendous value when it goes on sale with an MSRP of less than $150,000 next spring.
“The sale of the first Ford GT for more than a half million dollars is further proof this supercar connects with customers in a magical way,” said Chris Theodore, Ford Vice President of Advance Product Creation. “The Ford GT will be one of the most affordable supercars, yet it probably has more mystique than any of its competitors. We think the car will outperform our competitors on the streets, too.”
“Tonight Show” star Jay Leno drove a Ford GT show car – the first of three production prototypes – onto the auction ramp amid great fanfare. The normally subdued crowd grew increasingly vocal at each $100,000 increment, hitting a crescendo at the final price.
The auction helped Ford punctuate a yearlong Centennial celebration by paying tribute to past, current and future cars as vintage automobile and race car owners converged on the Monterey Peninsula for the 53rd annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the 30th annual Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races. Ford’s rich history, including the legendary GT40 race cars of the 1960s, was honored throughout the weekend as a featured marque at both events.
The auction winner will receive the Ford GT with chassis number “10”, which will be certified by Ford as the first GT sold to a customer. The car will be produced with the winner’s choice of color and options after production commences in the spring of 2004. Ford has reserved the first nine cars for internal use. Proceeds from the sale of the car will go to charities designated by the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, including The Pebble Beach Company Foundation, United Way of Monterey County, The Wheelchair Foundation, and Boys & Girls Club of Monterey County.
“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 the auction of this significant new Ford."
The Ford GT Story
In France, in the mid-1960s, the great American supercar came to life. A low-slung, muscular racing car built to win on the legendary Le Mans race circuit, the Ford GT project was spearheaded by no less a powerhouse than company Chairman and CEO Henry Ford II. His goal was to change performance car history. And he did. The Ford GT beat the world’s best in endurance racing, placing 1-2-3 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 and winning the next three consecutive years.
The all-new Ford GT supercar came to life in the form of three production prototype road cars that honor the classic race cars in design and engineering ingenuity. The first three cars – designated as 2004 model year prototype vehicles – were unveiled on June 14 during Ford’s Centennial celebration in Dearborn, MI.
“The Ford GT is our Centennial Supercar because it reaches into great moments from our past, while casting a light into the future,” said Chris Theodore, vice president, Ford Advance Product Creation. “As we celebrate our centennial, the Ford GT represents many of the technologies, processes and people that will help drive our next 100 years.”
When it goes into production in 2004, the 2005 Ford GT also will be a central figure in the company’s product-led transformation and will be the flagship of Ford Division’s 2004 “Year of the Car” that will include the launches of the Ford Five Hundred sedan, Freestyle crossover and legendary Mustang – and then the Ford Futura mid-size sedan in 2005.
The GT has preserved nearly all of the design elements of the GT40 concept car that became an instant sensation when it was unveiled at the 2002 North American International Auto Show. And just 45 days after the vehicle was unveiled, Ford stunned the world again, officially announcing that a production version was in the works.
“The Ford GT is the ultimate Living Legend,” explained J Mays, Ford group 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 engine – continue in this latest interpretation of the classic.”