Flash Back Friday: 1991 Dodge Stealth R/T Twin Turbo

1991 Dodge Stealth RT Twin Turbo
My 1991 Dodge Stealth R/T Twin Turbo made the perfect project vehicle while working at Super Street magazine

From 1992 to 1996 I drove two turbocharged Dodge’s as my primary transportation. They were both front-wheel-drive models with four-cylinder engines, and in the fall of 1996 I graduated to a new turbo Dodge with a tad more performance — a 1991 Dodge Stealth R/T Twin Turbo. I had loved the Dodge Stealth since it first debuted. The performance specs were impressive in the early 1990s: twin turbos, 300 horsepower, all-wheel drive and an adjustable suspension. Of course the Stealth was really just a re-bodied Mitsubishi 3000GT, and I liked both cars’ performance specs and loved their proportions. Even 27 years later I still think they look great.

1991 Dodge Stealth RT Twin Turob Rear
The 1991 Stealth R/T Twin Turbo made 300 horsepower and featured all-wheel drive

I bought my 1991 Dodge Stealth R/T Twin Turbo from a used car dealer in Santa Monica. It had 58,000 miles and I paid $12,000. For a 5-year-old performance car with the Stealth’s technical specs I thought it was a pretty good deal. What I didn’t know at the time was that Stealth R/T Twin Turbo maintenance calls for a timing belt change around 55,000 miles. Mine hadn’t been done, and less than a week after buying it the belt let go and the pistons crashed into the valves, destroying the top of the engine.

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Ford GT in Liquid Red: A Study in Dramatic Color

New Ford GT Liquid Red VMAX Mode
The glowing shimmer of Liquid Red on a Ford GT is not a Photo Shop filter

As I’ve stated many times, the Ford GT’s design is dramatic, making it capable of looking great in just about any color. With that said, I’ve decided Liquid Red is the Ford GT’s most dramatic color. If you go on the Ford GT Configurator you can see the car in all eight factory-offered colors. And not surprisingly, the Ford GT looks dramatic in every one of those colors — on the configurator.

New Ford GT Liquid Red Rear End
The Ford GT’s dramatic styling perfectly syncs with the the drama of Liquid Red

But I’ve seen multiple Ford GT’s in every factory color, and several non-factory colors, in person over the past 3 years. I can now say with full confidence that Liquid Red translates from the configurator to real life better than any other standard color. There’s a “shimmer” in the paint that almost doesn’t seem real.

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My Ford GT Approaches: I’ve Got a VIN and Estimated Build Date

New Ford GT Red White Blue Rear
Ford GT’s have been rolling off the assembly line since December 2016

I’ve done my best to not bug my Ford GT Concierge. In the 2 years since I was approved to buy a new Ford GT I’ve called the concierge exactly 4 times, with three of them happening in the past 4 months as part of my ordering process. While I know many Ford GT buyers have been calling their concierge on a regular basis, even if their order window was months or years away, I’ve avoided that.

New Ford GT Red White Blue
It looks like my Ford GT is about to begin production

I can’t even claim amazing self control because, honestly, I haven’t had an urge to contact my Ford GT Concierge. From my perspective, if there’s important information to convey they’ll call me, right? While that’s been my approach for the past 2 years I did breakdown and call my concierge last week. With my vehicle order locked in late August it seemed likely they’d have my VIN, and maybe even a scheduled build date by now.

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Two-Wheel Tuesday: 1991 Ducati 851 Superbike

1991 Ducati 851 Superbike
The Ducati 851 Superbike was among the most advanced bikes sold in the U.S. in 1991

On July 15th, 1992 I bought a 1991 Ducati 851 Superbike. This was my second Ducati, after selling my 1987 Ducati Paso a few days earlier. I had graduated from CU Boulder a couple months earlier and couldn’t normally afford a near-new Italian motorcycle, but I sold the Paso for $4,600 (a nice profit after buying it for $3,200) and the same dealer in Fort Collins, Colorado, offered me this bike for $8,700. A 1991 Ducati 851 Superbike cost over $12,000 new, and only a couple hundred were imported to the U.S. Getting a year-old 851, with 1,800 miles on the odometer, for $8,700 seemed like a deal I couldn’t pass up.

1991 Ducati 851 Superbike Gauges
The 851’s gauge cluster, controls and riding position were designed for aggressive performance

These Ducatis had an impressive spec sheet for the era. In 1991 there were only about four bikes offering fuel injection, two were Ducatis and two were BMWs. The 851 Superbike’s 90-degree V-twin also featured four valves per cylinder and water cooling. Horsepower was rated at 93 and weight was about 460 pounds. The Ducati 851 Superbike’s technology and performance was a big step up from my 1975 Triumph Trident and 1987 Ducati Paso. It’s capabilities on Colorado’s twisting mountain roads were, quite honestly, above my skill level at the time, though I slowly expanded my riding prowess. It’s red paint and Italian styling were also quite exotic in 1990s Colorado.

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Ford GT Races at Petit Le Mans and Wins the IMSA GTLM Manufacturer’s Title

Ford GT Petit Le Mans Race Car
The “Fan Walk” at Petit Le Mans lets everyone get close to the race cars

Ford and Chip Ganassi campaigned two Ford GTs at the final Road Atlanta event in the 2018 IMSA GTLM series. Cars number 66 and 67 competed in the final race, and while car 67 had a chance to win the driver’s championship their fifth-place finish wasn’t quite high enough to nab that title.

But Ford’s GT did take home its first manufacturer’s title. With first place finishes in five races this season the Ford GTs only needed to cross the starting line to secure the manufacturer’s title, which meant all the Ford GT owners in attendance could relax a bit after the first lap in the 10-hour race was over.

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Ford Will Produce More Ford GTs — But How Many is Too Many?

New Ford GT Red Silver Detroit 2017
Ford just announced an increase in Ford GT production

This would normally be a Flashback Friday post but Ford recently made a big Ford GT announcement that deserves immediate coverage. Check back next Friday for another trip down memory lane of Karl’s Past Cars. For today, let’s talk about new Ford GT production numbers.

2017 Ford GT Production
2017 Ford GT production began on December 16, 2016

When Ford first announced production of the new Ford GT it was set at 500 units produced over 2 years (logically figuring 250 produced each year). Then the automaker was flooded with 6,500 applications in April of 2016, quickly leading Ford to commit to 4 years of production and a total of 1,000 units. The first 750 units were immediately allocated, leaving 250 available for a final round of application and review.

Ford GT Being Built at Multimatic in Canada
MARKHAM, Ontario, Canada, Dec. 16, 2016–Raj Nair, Ford executive VP, global product development and chief technical officer, drove the Ford GT supercar off the line to help celebrate the event along with employees and guests. The all-new Ford GT is entering the final phase of development and production has begun. One of the first Ford GTs is being driven off the line at the Multimatic assembly location with the first behind the scenes look at the assembly line for all-new Ford GT. The Ford GT is the culmination of years of Ford innovation in aerodynamics, lightweight carbon fiber construction and ultra-efficient EcoBoost engines. Photo by: Sam VarnHagen

Yesterday Ford decided to increase new Ford GT production to 1,350 total units, extending production through 2022. For years I had heard rumors that total production could go as high as 1,250, so the new number didn’t really surprise me. What did surprise me was the length of production — 6 years. 

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2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt: The King of Cool, in Car Form

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt Grille
The new Ford Mustang Bullitt’s Highland Green paint looked good under San Francisco’s fog

Ford has decided to bring back the “Bullitt” Mustang for a third time, and I was fortunate enough to drive it during the recent press trip in (where else?) San Francisco. The car will be offered for two model years, 2019 and 2020, and will offer 480 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque from its 5.0-liter V8 engine.

2001 Ford Mustang Bullitt Fog
After getting my 2001 Ford Mustang Bullitt I had to drive it to a certain bridge in a certain city

I owned a 2001 Ford Mustang Bullitt, the first modern model to wear that designation. Many Mustang experts consider it one of the best versions to come off the “Fox” platform, which was essentially unchanged from 1979 to 2004. That Bullitt sported the same Highland Green paint and torque-thrust-type wheels as the original 1968 car that starred in the movie. It also had a highly tuned suspension system that made it one of the best handling Mustangs from that 25-year platform. The exhaust system was also tuned to sound better than the Mustangs of that era. And it did.

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A Collection of Ford GT Configurations

2017 Ford GT Black
Here’s a straightforward Ford GT spec: Shadow Black with black wheels

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Ford GT Configurator is pretty impressive. It doesn’t replace seeing a car in person, as you can never really understand how a car, or a color, looks until you’ve seen it life-size and in person. Of course seeing every possible new Ford GT color, stripe, wheel style and carbon-fiber finish in person isn’t easy. Given that challenge the Ford GT Configurator provides a realistic alternative.

2017 Ford GT White
And here’s the other straightforward spec: Frozen White with black wheels

Every new Ford GT buyer has probably spent more time on the configurator than they’d like to admit. The possible combinations are nearly limitless, even before you add in the custom color options. And even now, with my Ford GT spec locked in, I still like to gaze at the car in different colors. I’ve pulled all the images on this page from the Ford GT Configurator. If you want to quickly peruse every color (but certainly not every possible combination of stripe and wheel options for each color) this entry makes for easy viewing. Enjoy!

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Two Wheel Tuesday: 1987 Ducati Paso

1987 Ducati Paso Profile
The Ducati Paso was sold from 1987 through 1989 in the U.S.

In 1990 I was in college at the University of Colorado at Boulder. My personal fleet consisted of two muscle cars and one vintage British motorcycle. At that point I had zero experience with Italian motorcycles, but I’d always been fascinated by Ducatis and MV Agustas. In November of 1990 I had an opportunity to buy a 1987 Ducati Paso from a BMW motorcycle dealer in Fort Collins. I remembered when the bike was new a few years earlier and this Ducati Paso was being offered at what seemed like a low price — $3,200.

1987 Ducati Paso Rear
My Ducati Paso had an orange tint to what should have been deep red paint

I went and looked at it, took it for a short test drive, then bought it and drove it back from Fort Collins to my apartment in Boulder. One issue I spotted immediately was an orange tint to what was supposed to a be deep red paint. The dealer told me the bike was originally from Alabama and was kept outside. He said the paint had faded from the sun exposure. I later discovered rust throughout the clutch system that had to be drained and cleaned to get it to work properly (presumably also from sitting out in humid Alabama). I had the local Suzuki shop in Boulder perform the work, which they completed without issue.

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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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