Ford GT Attends an SAAC Rally and a GT Owner Rally

2005 Ford GTs Long Term SAAC Rally
2005 Ford GTs at a 2006 SAAC Rally

After 9 months of ownership my 2005 Ford GT had 3,500 miles on it. There were no mechanical issues to report but I did attend two Ford-specific driving events with my GT. The first one was set up by the Shelby American Automobile Club (SAAC) and the second was a Ford GT owner rally event set up through the Ford GT Forum.

2005 Ford GT Long Term SAAC Owners
2005 Ford GT owners at SAAC Rally in March 2006

I had joined the Ford GT Forum about 3 weeks after getting my car, in September of 2005, and I quickly realized how amazing the Ford GT owner’s group was. After publishing some photos on the forum from the SAAC event there was immediate interest in having a SoCal GT owners rally. This was in March of 2006, and the Ford GT was still very new, so spotting one on the street was quite rare. You can imagine the reaction we got from other drivers with 12 of them parading through Malibu.
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2005 Ford GT Paint Flaws, Pacific Coast Highway and the Ford GT Forum

2005 Ford GT Long Term Rear
My 2005 Ford GT shortly after purchase

After 6 months of 2005 Ford GT ownership I’d found a few items to gripe about. The most disappointing flaw was in the paint, where small bubbles were visible near the edge of a couple body panels. At first I planned to have these repaired under warranty (as noted below) but eventually I left them alone. Digging into the car’s factory paint job was more troubling than leaving them alone. And I can confirm that, 13 years later, nobody has ever noticed them and I have essentially forgotten about them.
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2005 Ford GT Ownership Introduction

2005 Ford GT Long Term Introduction
2005 Ford GT Long-Term Introduction

About a month after getting my GT I produced the first in a 3-year series of ownership articles and blog posts about the experience. These posts covered the primary aspects of driving the GT on a regular basis, including the reaction it generated from other drivers, dealership experiences and, eventually, a series of performance upgrades and race track testing. Here’s the first of many Ford GT ownership experiences, originally posted in September of 2005:

2005 Ford GT Ownership Introduction

September 30, 2005

VEHICLE TESTED: 2005 Ford GT 2dr Coupe (5.4L 8cyl S/C 6M)
Base MSRP of Test Vehicle: $139995
Options on Test Vehicle: Painted Racing Stripes ($5,350); Lightweight Forged Aluminum Wheels ($3,500); Red Painted Brake Calipers ($750); Gas-Guzzler Tax ($2,100); Destination Charge ($1,250).
MSRP of Test Vehicle: $152945

OK, so no one is sitting around thinking, “Hmmm, I’d like to buy a 2005 Ford GT, if only I could read something about the ownership experience first.” Either you’re already a fanatic of this 550-horsepower, midengine exotic car, or you don’t even know it exists. And if you’re a fanatic then you either already own one or you already plan to buy one — or you really want to buy one and simply don’t have the means. Read more

Ford GT vs GT4, Part One

Ford GT GT4 Laguna Seca
2005 Ford GT press car on Laguna Seca’s front straight

Months before my Ford GT arrived in August of 2005 I had a story idea. I thought it would be fun to set up a Sony Playstation console with the (then) latest Gran Turismo 4 driving simulator and see what kind of lap times could be pulled at a virtual Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Then, after driving the virtual lap times I’d take the same cars from the game and drive them around the real Laguna Seca. And because the “hero car” for Gran Turismo 4 was the 2005 Ford GT that car would also be the hero car of the story. (Quick side note: Top Gear did the same story, which might lead you to believe I stole the idea from them. The problem with that thinking is that I did the story 4 months before Top Gear, which, of course, means they stole the idea from me! Wankers…)

I shared this idea with Ford’s PR team in the summer of 2005 and they liked it, so we arranged the use of Laguna Seca on August 29th and 30th of 2005. This was shortly after I ordered my GT, in April of 2005, and months before it arrived on August 23, 2005. But never let it be said I don’t love serendipity. My car arrived less than a week before our scheduled test at Laguna Seca, which meant I could drive my Midnight Blue GT up to Monterey and hang with Ford’s Mark IV Red GT press car (along with several other test cars being driven on a virtual and real Laguna Seca). Following is the Ford GT vs GT4 story that ran in September of 2005.
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My 2005 Ford GT Arrives

2005 Ford GT in Camarillo
My 2005 Ford GT, August 2005

It was late June of 2005 when I saw my Ford GT on the assembly line. It was early in the build process, and I was told it would be at least 2 months before the car was fully assembled and shipped to California. I was hoping to take possession before the end of August, but when my contact at Santa Monica Ford called me on August 22nd and said, “So, Karl, there’s this dark blue Ford GT sitting in my service bay” it still took me a moment to process the situation.

2005 Ford GT First Photo
My 2005 Ford GT’s first photo on August 24, 2005

Remember, this was the culmination of a three-and-half-year journey. It started when I saw the concept GT40 in Detroit in January of 2002, continued with my contacting John Clinard at Ford when the GT was announced for production in March of 2002, and encompassed multiple trips to Detroit and a Michigan race track, plus a driving experience in Northern California, before seeing my Ford GT being produced on the assembly line. Now it was at a dealership less than one-mile away. Read more

2005 Ford GT Technical Specifications Postcard

2005 Ford GT Technical Specifications Cover
2005 Ford GT technical specifications postcard cover (image courtesy of Ford Motor Company)

The 2005 Ford GT technical specifications were in flux for years before Ford committed to final numbers. Sound familiar? Before the numbers were finally finalized they were available on a heavy card stock postcard with a cool image of the Ford GT (above) on the front and the complete technical specifications (below) on the back. The horsepower number is listed at 500, but the final-final-final horsepower number for the 2005 Ford GT was 550.

2005 Ford GT Technical Specifications
2005 Ford GT technical specifications postcard back (image courtesy Ford Motor Company)

These cards were floating around the auto show circuit and Ford GT dealers throughout 2005 and 2006. But now they’re hard to find. I just checked eBay and only one showed up, with a “Buy It Now” price of $24.99 (glad I saved several of the copies I got for free). These images aren’t a scan of my 2005 Ford GT technical specifications postcard. They come from an original .pdf file from 2005, sized at nearly 3,300 pixels wide at 300 dpi. Click on the images to see them in full-size, easy-to-read glory.

My 2005 Ford GT Factory Tour

Ford GT Factory Tour
Completed Ford GTs at the Wixom Assembly Plant

In June of 2005, about 8 weeks after ordering my Ford GT, I got a call from my Ford contact. He had promised to let me visit the Ford GT assembly plant in Detroit while my car was being built, and he said he’d give me about a week’s notice so I could schedule travel. Well, that was the plan anyway. When he finally did call the first words out of his mouth were, “Your car’s on the line right now and will be done in the next few days. Can you get here this week?!”

I actually had a prior trip to the east coast scheduled over the coming days, but I was able to change my return flight for a stopover in Detroit. Of course there were weather issues in Newark on my way back, which meant I had to take a cab to JFK to get the last flight to Detroit, and that flight was delayed, getting me to my hotel at roughly 3 a.m. Factory tour start time at the assembly plant was 9 a.m., which meant another sleep-deprived Ford GT experience just like my first GT driving experience at Gingerman Raceway the previous October. And just like that event, I didn’t notice the lack of sleep once I arrived at the plant and saw hundreds of GTs in various states of assembly. Read more

Original 1966 Ford GT40 Brochure

Ford’s GT40 swept the podium at Le Mans in 1966, taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd place while making it the first American car company to win the prestigious 24-hour endurance race. The 50th anniversary of that win is being celebrated this weekend in Monterey, and I’ll be attending an event that will include all of the winning Ford GT40s of that era.

1966 Ford GT40 Le Mans Brochure
A brochure for the 1966 Ford GT40 that won Le Mans

Years ago I spotted a brochure for the 1966 Ford GT40 on eBay at a reasonable price. I’ve scanned the brochure and posted it here for your reading enjoyment. I’m not sure if this is an original brochure of a reprint, but it’s a fun read either way.

1966 Ford GT40 Le Mans Brochure Page 2
A brochure for the 1966 Ford GT40 that won Le Mans

Ordering My 2005 Ford GT

Ford GT Quick Reference Guide
2005 Ford GT Quick Reference Guide

When I was told I’d “made the list” to get a 2005 Ford GT, in April of 2004, I didn’t know exactly when I’d take delivery. At that point I was just happy to be getting a car. But after a year of waiting I’ll admit, I was getting antsy. The delays to the car’s production due to paint issues, the “ship-in-a-bottle” central fuel tank design and the extruded aluminum suspension pieces were well known to Ford GT fans and industry followers. By spring of 2005 cars were slowly trickling into dealerships, and any GTs not snapped up by dealer principals were going for $250,000-plus on the open market.

2005 Ford GT Order Form
My order form for a 2005 Ford GT

Then in mid-April 2005 I received paperwork from Ford asking me how I wanted my GT configured. The car’s base price started at $139,995, and of the four options offered I knew how I wanted all four of them configured. “Yes” on the painted racing stripes ($5,350), “yes” on the BBS lightweight aluminum wheels ($3,500), “yes” on the (red) painted brake calipers ($750), and “no” on the optional McIntosh audio system ($2,100). I actually liked the McIntosh audio head unit, but the large subwoofer that came with it was mounted between the seats, blocking the view of the supercharger on the other side of the rear cabin glass. Read more