This little red riding Ford, appearing through the mist at last year's Caffeine & Carburetors in Waveny Park, is May's featured car for the 2016 Bearded Best calendar. Since I was unable to locate the owner of this particular car, I figured the next best thing would be to showcase of few of the GTs I have seen in recent years and give my interpretation of what means to be Ford's halo vehicle.
Ford's reborn supercar, the GT, drew inspiration from the LeMans-winning GT40 that was designed to crush Enzo Ferrari's efforts on the world endurance racing circuit after he snubbed Henry II from buying the Italian marque. The modern version featured a supercharged 5.4L V8 mounted midship, put on perpetual display under a glass cover. The intensive use of aluminum, including the space frame and body panels, kept the weight low and the performance high, being able to reach 60 MPH in well under 4 seconds and top out at a lofty 205 MPH. What's best is that all this gusto was accessible via a row-your-own 6-speed manual transmission.
Available for the 2005 and 2006 model years, the GT was an instant classic, with most demanding a substantial premium over their original MSRPs. In total, 4,038 were constructed and they still command deep pockets if you're in the market for one. To further enhance the exclusivity, approximately 100 were converted to GTX1s, meaning the roof was lopped off and twin fairings were installed in its place.
For me, seeing a GT in person is more than just catching a glimpse of a top-dollar Ford, but rather it's feeling that connection to a period in racing that has long since past. It's hard to see a GT and not help but think of all the people who took the helm of the original GT40s, racing for hours on end on tracks that are icons in their own right. The introduction of the GT40 as formidable competition to Scuderia Ferrari for the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans meant the end of the road for Enzo's winning streak. GT40s would go on to win that race as well as the 1967, 1968, and 1969 runnings, forever cementing itself in history books and in motorsport lore.
There is a new GT on the horizon. With the application of the most advanced technology available to the Blue Oval, this successor will guarantee that its predecessor will be remembered for its ability to deliver a experience so visceral in its approach that no amount of technology will be able to replicate it. Keep that in mind the next time a new-age GT rumbles past.