In late April 2017 the much-anticipated new Ford GT was finally going to be available for automotive journalists to drive at its global press launch. Up until that point the only experience most folks, even industry insiders, had with the new Ford GT involved staring at it behind roped off sections of Ford’s auto show displays. I was fortunate enough to actually sit in the new GT at the 2017 Detroit Auto a few months earlier, but that was only for a few glorious, stationary minutes.
When I received notice of the new Ford GT press launch at Utah Motorsports Campus, about 40 miles west of Salt Lake City, I immediately knew how I was getting to the event. As I’ve stated many times, the 2005-2006 Ford GT is one of the best long-distance supercars ever created. It’s quick, it’s comfortable, and its easy going nature places almost no physical demands on the driver. It will even clear 24-plus mpg if you keep it in sixth gear, as 2,000 rpm translates to 80 mph. Plus I was pretty sure I’d be the only journalist showing up to the new Ford GT press launch in his own Ford GT
Yesterday I talked about one of the colors I considered for my new Ford GT. Today I’ll identify the only other paint-to-sample (custom) color I considered: Petty Blue.
Petty Blue is a color Plymouth offered on its vehicles in the early 1970s. It’s called Petty Blue because of its association to Richard Petty, one of the most famous NASCAR racers of all time. If you’ve seen the animated Pixar movie CARS the character “The King” is voiced by Richard Petty and the car represents a 1970 Plymouth Superbird painted Petty Blue.
I have loved this color ever since I first saw it in my early teens. Generally speaking I find blue, in all its hues, the best color for a car. And within the spectrum of blue, Petty Blue is one of my favorite shades. I told this to my Ford GT Concierge and asked for a sample, which Ford provided.
When the sample arrived it further confirmed how much I loved the color. I actually locked my new Ford GT specification with a paint-to-sample Petty Blue shade. But that was on a Friday, and I had until the following Tuesday to change my configuration. On the following Monday I changed my Ford GT color, bailing out on Petty Blue. Why?
I’ve already locked my order for my new Ford GT, but the process wasn’t easy. Ford allows buyers to paint the new Ford GT in any color they want, over and above the 8 factory colors. This means the only limit for new Ford GT buyers is imagination…and the ability to get the correct paint name or code to Ford.
Among the custom colors I considered is a classic Corvette shade called Lynndale Blue. Corvettes have worn some iconic colors over the years, including Goodwood Green, Marlboro Maroon and Tuxedo Black. There’s been some memorable Corvette blues, too, including Marina Blue and Elkhart Blue.
The new Ford GT is closely tied to a successful race car that’s already won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. And like most high-performance street cars with a racing pedigree, Ford is encouraging buyers of the new Ford GT to exercise it at closed course race facilities. Among these encouraging factors is a complete set of race accessories designed and engineered by Sparco.
On April 5, 2017 the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) held an event in Detroit to celebrate the design and engineering aspects of the new Ford GT. The event was attended by members of SAE, Larry Holt of Multimatic (the company building new Ford GTs) and Ford GT team members, including Raj Nair.
In September 2016 the Ford GT Forum hosted the 11th annual Ford GT Owners Rally in Austin, Texas. Austin is one of my favorite towns, so having a really good excuse to go there was fine with me. Austin is also home to one of America’s better track facilities, the Circuit of the Americas (also known as COTA), which made it a great excuse to bring my car.
It’s safe to say my identity, both personally and professionally, has been closely tied to my 2005 Ford GT for more than a decade. The car was featured on a long-term blog for 3 years after I bought it, and it’s had plenty of additional updates since. You can read the entirely of this ownership blog on this site (use the “Ford GT Ownership” link to scroll through them all). My Ford GT also made several high-profile appearances in media stories over the years, including this interview on Autoline After Hours, this color correction story on Forbes and this comparison of all three generations of Ford GT on Kelley Blue Book.
As you can imagine, having that kind of shared history with a car is hard to give up, and the reaction I’ve gotten since announcing my Ford GT sale doesn’t really surprise me. “What?! How could you???” is the theme of most responses.
After 13 years and 31,232 miles I’ve sold my 2005 Ford GT to YouTube maestro Doug DeMuro. Doug and I have done a couple videos together, including the launch of the new Ford GT last year and a review of my 2018 Dodge Demon earlier this year.
The new Ford GT features five drive modes to handle everything from rain to going 216 mph (hopefully not at the same time). I’ve driven the new Ford GT in each of these modes and the breadth of vehicle settings and driving characteristics offered by these five drive modes is pretty amazing. Of course many cars offer multiple driving modes, but the transformation the GT goes through when switching modes is unique, even by modern supercar standards.
Beyond the debut of a new Ford GT in Liquid Red there was another special car in Ford’s booth at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. It was the 2016 Le Mans-winning Ford GT race car driven by Joey Hand, Dirk Muller and Sebastien Bourdais. It was covered in dirt and displayed several scrapes and breaks throughout its body panels. Many people wondered why the race car would be displayed at the Detroit Auto Show looking so beat up and grimy.