Karl on Cars

Let's Talk Cars, Motorcycles and Other Life-Changing Events

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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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Flash Back Friday: 1973 Dodge Challenger Rallye

1873 Dodge Challenger Rallye Front Karl

I purchased my first Dodge Challenger in 1991 while I was still attending college

I grew up a car guy for several reasons, not the least of which were two older car-guy brothers. Their influence had me reading about muscle cars, with a particular focus on Mopars, before I was 15. I was well schooled in all the various Mopar muscle cars before I got my driver’s permit, and while I gravitated toward the Plymouth Superbird and GTX I also had the same fondness for E-bodies that every Mopar fan has. The Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Barracuda are two of the most iconic muscle cars ever created.

1973 Dodge Challenger Rallye Interior

My Dodge Challenger Rallye’s interior was in relatively good shape

I’ve never owned a Plymouth Barracuda, but I’ve had two original Dodge Challengers. The first one, a 1973 Dodge Challenger Rallye, was purchased in 1991, during my last year in college. It was equipped about as well as that year’s Challenger could be, with a 340 V8, pistol-grip 4-speed transmission and factory air conditioning. It was also an original B5 Blue car with a black vinyl top, though when I got it the top was stripped off and the roof was painted black.

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New Ford GT Spec Sheet: The Specifications Behind Ford’s Supercar

New Ford GT Job 1

(NOTE: This caption was embedded in this photo’s digital signature, and while I can change it I’m leaving it here because, unlike too many captions attached to manufacturer photos, this caption is effective and informative) MARKHAM, Ontario, Canada, Dec. 16, 2016–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. Pictured: Anthony Benincasa (left) and Adam Thorndyke.

The new Ford GT’s specs were as guarded as the Coke formula or Kentucky Fried Chicken’s secret recipe when the car was under development. The specs were finally, fully released during the car’s press launch in May of 2017. At that point most enthusiasts had a general idea of the primary specifications, but the below sheets offer it all up in stark black-and-white (with some gray and yellow thrown in) pixels.

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The Mustang Shelby GT350R: Best Track Car Ever?

2017-Ford-Mustang-Shelby-GT350R-Profile

The 2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R looks great in Lightning Blue

It’s not an overstatement to describe the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R as the most fun I’ve ever had at a race track. The Ford Performance engineers were targeting a car with not only power and poise but also uncompromised at-the-limit communication and confidence. And they nailed it.

2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R Engine

The flat-plane V8 engine makes a glorious exhaust note as it revs past 8,000 rpm

Much ado has been made about the GT350R’s flat-plane V8, and deservedly so. The engine revs past 8,000 rpm, creating a glorious exhaust note while offering one of the broadest torque bands you’ll find in a modern, or vintage, automobile. The engine makes 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a slick-shifting Tremec 6-speed that sends power to a mechanical limited-slip differential.

2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R Front

The GT350R can be ordered with optional stripes in various colors

The Shelby GT350R’s drivetrain is undeniably impressive, but it’s this Mustang’s handling capabilities that made me fall in love during the Ford GT Owners Rally in Utah. Hammering this car around Utah Motorsports Campus quickly illustrated both its ultimate grip and its confidence-inspiring behavior at the limit of traction.

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Two-Wheel Tuesday: 1975 Triumph T160 Trident

1975 Triumph Trident T160 Front

The 1975 Triumph T160 Trident was the last stand for vintage British triples

The first bike I’ll be featuring on Two-Wheel Tuesday is a 1975 Triumph T160 Trident. This was the last year of the vintage Triumph three-cylinder motorcycles that started production in 1968. I’ve actually owned two of these motorcycles, one when I was still in Colorado and one after I moved to California. They were identical, right down to color (both had the purple-and-white gas tank). The Triumph T160 Trident was a fabulous ending to a tragic story.

1975 Triumph T160 Trident

This final Trident featured disc brakes, a 5-speed transmission and electric start

In its final year the Triumph T160 Trident finally offered a 5-speed transmission, front and rear disc brakes and an electric starter. It was fully competitive with the Honda CB750, the Japanese motorcycle that essentially killed the British bike industry. Unfortunately, the Honda offered all those features years before the Trident, and by the time the T160 arrived its parent company was already in dire financial straits. The Triumph Trident T160 is the epitome of too little, too late. A few hundred stragglers were produced in 1976, dubbed Triumph Cardinals and sold to Saudi Arabia to serve as police bikes, before Triumph halted all production of its three-cylinder motorcycles.

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