Ford GT: A Comparison of Three Generations

Ford GT Generations Lookout Comparison Test
Bringing together three generations of Ford GT is a rare opportunity

In May of 2017 Kelley Blue Book performed a comparison of the three generations of Ford GT, meaning the original Ford GT40, the second-generation 2005-2006 Ford GT, and the new Ford GT. I arranged the comparison test using the black-and-orange West Coast Ford GT press car, plus my 2005 Midnight Blue Ford GT and a Gulf livery Superformance Ford GT40 from their local offices here in Irvine, California.

This wasn’t the most original idea — it’s been done a couple times by other publications — but just because something has been done doesn’t mean it can’t be done again, and better.

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2018 Fabulous Fords Forever: The First and Last Ford GT

Fabulous Fords Forever 2018 New Ford GT Lola Mk6GT
The first and last Ford GT made an appearance at the 2018 Fabulous Fords Forever show

At the 2018 Fabulous Fords Forever event the standard collection of vintage Fords was supplemented by multiple new Ford GTs as well as the oldest Ford GT. Of course the oldest Ford GT isn’t even a Ford. It’s a Lola Mk6 GT, the car that formed the basis of Ford’s effort to win Le Mans after Enzo Ferrari snubbed Henry Ford II’s bid to buy his company. At the Ford booth one of the three original Lola Mk6 GT’s was parked next to a new Ford GT, and seeing the two next to each other was pretty amazing.

Fabulous Fords Forever
The new 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt was on display near the Ford Booth

The Lola Mk6 GT used a mid-mounted 289 Ford V8 in a British aluminum monocoque chassis. This was an advanced design in 1962 and it laid the groundwork for Ford’s GT40 MkI design. Seeing a Lola Mk6 GT next to a new Ford GT provided an excellent perspective on the new car’s lineage.

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New Ford GT: Race Car for the Street Status Confirmed

New Ford GT 2005 Ford GT Utah Karl Brauer
Having both generations of Ford GT to experience during the press launch provided great perspective

When the new Ford GT press launch was over I had almost everything I needed to understand the GT’s capabilities and purpose. I say “almost” because there was an additional dimension to the GT’s engineering brilliance I had yet to explore, but I didn’t know this at the time…

Sure, I’d driven it on the street pretty aggressively, and I’d driven it on the track even more aggressively. But it was my first experience in Ford’s half-million dollar supercar on a track I’d never driven. To say I left plenty of reserve in my approach as I piloted the new Ford GT in both locations is an understatement.

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Finally, I Get to Drive the New Ford GT

New Ford GT Press Launch Karl Brauer First Drive
My first time driving the new Ford GT left quite an impression

After driving 700 miles to Salt Lake city (through rain, snow flurries and hail) in my 2005 Ford GT I checked into my hotel and went to bed. The next day I hit the car wash before meeting Doug DeMuro and shooting a video of my car. This was part of a 2005 Ford GT versus 2017 Ford GT comparison Doug was creating for his YouTube channel. After spending a few hours shooting with Doug we traveled to the Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele, Utah for the new Ford GT’s press launch opening dinner. A few feet from our table an original GT40 was parked next to a new Ford GT, setting the stage for a celebration of Ford’s multi-generational supercar.

New Ford GT Competition GT40
An original Ford GT40 sat next to a new Ford GT Competition Series during dinner

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2019 Ford GT Heritage Edition in Gulf Livery

2019 Ford GT Heritage Edition Front
The 2019 Ford GT Heritage Edition features optional exposed carbon fiber roundels

As promised, here are some images of the new 2019 Ford GT Heritage Edition in Gulf Livery. This color combination, paying homage to the famous Gulf Livery worn by the 1968 and 1969 Ford GT40s that won Le Mans, will be available for the 2020 model year GT, too. Only a limited number of new Ford GT buyers will be allowed to purchase this Gulf Livery Heritage Edition, and I’m not one of them.

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Ford GT Heritage Editions: Paying Homage to Ford’s Le Mans-Winning Past

2017 Ford GT Heritage Edition
The 2017 Ford GT Heritage Edition was available in gloss or matte black.

If you’re a new Ford GT fan you already know the company has been making a “heritage” edition of the Ford GT every year since it was introduced. The first year new Ford GT Heritage model paid homage to Bruce McLaren’s GT40 win at Le Man in 1966. I reported on the debut of this black-and-silver new Ford GT 2 years ago during Monterey Car Week.

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2017 Ford GT ’66 Heritage Edition

2017 Ford GT '66 Heritage Edition Pebble Beach
The 2017 Ford GT ’66 Heritage Edition in Shadow Black

You can see all the color and trim options for the new Ford GT at the Ford GT configurator, but for buyers looking to take the easy way out back in 2017 there was the Ford GT ’66 Heritage Edition. This one is designed to pay homage to the original GT40 that won the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mens race. It debuted at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours in Monterey. Read more

Ford GT40s Flood the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours

Ford GT40 Pebble Beach
A row of Ford GT40s lined the lawn at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours

2016 marked the 50th anniversary of Ford’s first Le Mans win in 1966, and as you might expect there were plenty of celebrations going on that year to mark the occasion. The 2016 Pebble Beach Concours got into the action by inviting every original Ford GT40 to the show. A surprising number of GT40s showed up, too. I’m pretty sure this was the biggest collection of Ford GT40s to ever appear in one place.

Ford GT40 Pebble Beach Gold
1966 Ford GT40 Mk II

I’m not an expert on the Ford GT40, but I do idolize their race history and I find them beautiful in pretty much every color and race livery. Rather than trying to list all the interesting historical facts related to the cars I saw at Pebble Beach I’ll just post the Ford GT40 photos I took and let you enjoy them for the visual feast they offer. Read more

Get Thee to the Goodwood Revival

2016 Goodwood Revival Ford GT GT40
The old and new Ford GTs looked right at home among the rarified machinery

In September of 2016 I was fortunate enough to attend the Goodwood Revival in Chichester, England (about an hour south of London). This event takes place on Lord March’s sprawling estate, and if the words “Lord” and “sprawling” paint images of wealth and decadence in your brain, good. You’re getting an idea of what the Goodwood Revival is all about.
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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