Karl on Cars

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

Tag: Performance

Ford GT Mark II: Ultimate Track Toy for Ford GT Enthusiasts

Ford GT Mark II Driving

The Ford GT Mark II is a purpose-built track toy

Ford Motor Company has made a lot of noise with the street and race versions of the modern Ford GT. In race form, the GT has racked up an impressive list of wins at tracks like Le Mans, Daytona, Laguna Seca, Silverstone, Fuji, Shanghai, etc. Over that same 2-year period the street version of the Ford GT has remained a hot commodity in the exotic sports car world.

Ford GT Mark II Profile

The Ford GT Mark II maximizes downforce with unique body work

However, whether in street or organized race trim, the new Ford GT has been configured under a litany of regulations. The street version has to abide by emissions, safety and sound regulations, all of which add weight while restricting power. Even more frustrating, the Ford GTs racing in the World Endurance Championship and IMSA series also face horsepower restrictions and weight penalties, all in an effort to “balance” the GT’s performance against lesser…uh…I mean other…competitors.

Ford GT Mark II Doors

The Ford GT Mark II can be painted in any design the buyer wants

This begs the question: What if Ford built a version of the new Ford GT without any street or organized racing restrictions? What if the company simply took the GT’s basic platform and drivetrain and configured it in a way to maximize performance?

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Flash Back Friday: 1989 Dodge Shadow Shelby CSX

1989 Dodge Shadow CSX Bandimere Speedway Website

I purchased this 32,000-mile 1989 Shelby CSX in 1993 for just $5,500.

Last week’s Flash Back Friday featured my 1987 Dodge Shadow Shelby CSX, which might have you thinking I’ve made a typo above and I’m just double-posting about the same car. But no, my 1989 Shelby CSX was an entirely different car. Sure, they shared the same starting point (a Dodge Shadow) and they used the same basic drivetrain (an intercooled, turbocharged 2.2-liter inline-4 mated to a 5-speed manual transmission) but that’s where the similarities ended.

1989 Dodge Shadow CSX Plymouth GTX Bandimere Speedway

The CSX and GTX made a great pair during Club Clash events at Bandimere Speedway

It’s worth noting that Shelby also offered a 1988 version of this car, but where the first year (1987) CSX was a black-and-gray model offered with an intercooled 2.2-liter to consumers, the 1988 Shelby CSX-T was missing the intercooler and was only offered to Thrifty (thus the “T” in the name) rental car agencies as a throwback to the 1966 Shelby GT350H rental car Mustang. The 1988 engine was still rated at the same 175 horsepower as the 1987 model, and 1000 were produced each year.

1989 Dodge Shadow CSX Bandimere Speedway Profile

The 1989 Shelby CSX had more aggressive bodywork than the earlier versions

The 1989 Shelby CSX featured several upgrades from the ’87-’88 versions. First, the intercooler returned to the turbocharged 2.2-liter engine, ensuring more power under a wider range of ambient temperature. Second, the engine featured an entirely new “variable-nozzle turbo” technology. The 1989 Shelby CSX is officially called the “CSX-VNT” though I never heard anyone refer to it that way the entire 4 years I owned mine. This was also the rarest of the three Shelby CSX model years, with only 500 produced.

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The New Ford GT Competition Series Is Hot…Maybe Too Hot

New Ford GT Competition Series Front Silver

The Ford GT Competition Series was produced in very limited numbers

The new Ford GT offers a lot of performance, regardless of how it’s configured. Every GT has a carbon fiber chassis, active aerodynamics, a pushrod-activated torsion bar suspension and a 647 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine offering up to 216 mph. That level of performance should satisfy most enthusiasts, but if you want even more performance from your Ford GT there is a “high-performance” version of this hypercar: The new Ford GT Competition Series.

New Ford GT Competition Series Rear

The Competition Series was offered in Shadow Black, Frozen White, Liquid Blue, Ingot Silver, Liquid Gray and Triple Yellow

This version of the Ford GT offers two advantages over the standard model. It’s got a lower total curb weight as well as a lower center of gravity. The center of gravity is reduced by using a Perspex acrylic engine hatch cover and carbon fiber prop rod instead of a standard glass cover and hydraulic strut.

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Ford GT versus Dodge Viper

How does a 2005 Ford GT stack up against a 2009 Dodge Viper? I had access to both over a weekend and wrote a comparison of the two striped supercars based on performance, ergonomics and the reaction of other drivers. You might be surprised at my final assessment.

2005 Ford GT Long Term Dodge Viper

Dodge Viper battles Ford GT  in this impromtu comparison

September 2010: 2009 Dodge Viper SRT-10 versus 2005 Ford GT

September 3, 2010 at 18,843 miles

Between a 2009 Dodge Viper SRT-10 and a 2005 Ford GT, which one causes a bigger stir when driving among normal cars. It’s a good question, as both vehicles slot into that narrow field of U.S. exotics produced on a limited basis (relatively speaking in the Viper’s case), and both models are now officially out of production.

They’re also both “stripey!”

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Ford GT versus Nissan GT-R

I was able to get plenty of seat time in a Nissan GT-R shortly after they went on sale in the U.S. The car isn’t really meant to compete with the GT, but comparing the two was an interesting exercise. Both are exceptional in terms of performance, but that’s where the similarities end.

2005 Ford GT Long Term Nissan GT-R

My Ford GT sits next to a then-new 2008 Nissan GT-R

January 2009: Ford GT versus Nissan GT-R — Beyond the Numbers

January 20, 2009 at 17,320 miles

It’s not every weekend I have access to both a Ford GT and a Nissan GT-R . In fact, I’d say it only happens about once a month.

But it did happen this past weekend, and I spent enough time in both vehicles to get a sense of their unique character traits. Thus, what follows is my completely unbiased appraisal of how these two supercars stack up.

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Ford GT Upgraded JVC Head Unit and Engine Parts

There wasn’t a lot of action for the Ford GT in September of 2007. Only about 10 miles were added to the odometer, with some brief comments about the upgraded audio system and a reminder that it still needed to be re-tested for acceleration to see how much the performance upgrades had improved its zero-to-60 and quarter-mile acceleration. Thankfully, those upgraded did indeed make a difference, but we it wasn’t confirmed until next month.

2005 Ford GT Long Term Display Screen

The JVC head unit continues to make the Ford GT feel more advanced

2005 Ford GT: Aftermarket Audio System Still Rocks

September 7, 2007 at 10,789 miles

After six months and 3,000-miles the verdict on the aftermarket JVC audio head unit (KD-NX5000) is near universal approval. The ability to enjoy Sirius satellite radio, hard disk music, Bluetooth/hands-free phone operation, DVD audio and videos, MP3s and detailed navigation guidance make the GT nearly as technically advanced as, say, an LS 600h. The single best items are the “tilt-able” face place that cuts glare and reflections, along with the bright, clear screen display. Sticking points remain too frequent Sirius signal dropout (especially in canyons or along the coast) and kludgy Bluetooth connections between the unit and a cell phone (you can always get it to work eventually, but it takes too much fumbling each time a new phone has to be paired)…

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