Whoever was lucky enough to see the Ford GT40 take 4 overall victories back in the 60’s at Le Mans, must have been very excited when Ford announced a new Ford GT40 concept in 2002. Especially when in 2005 the Ford GT officially went in production. Bavaria Motors offered us the extremely unique opportunity to drive a 2005 Ford GT, more specific the European GT LHD Model 1 of 101! We decided to take it to the most beautiful city of Belgium: Bruges!
Let’s get back in history
When in the early 60’s Ferrari used Ford to sell their brand for a higher price to Fiat, Ford wanted to take revenge on what Ferrari was best at, racing! Ford developed a prototype based on the Lola MK6 that later became the Ford GT40. They successfully defeated Ferrari at Le Mans 24 hours, 4 times in a row! The GT40 was named after the Gran Turismo-category that required cars with a height of maximum 40 inches which they participated in .
The Ford GT (2005) began life as a concept car in anticipation for Ford’s 100 anniversary. In 2002, Ford unveiled a Ford GT Concept car at the North American International Auto Show. To develop the the production model, Ford recalled Carrol Shelby, the designer of the original Shelby GT 500.
In terms of looks, the 2005 Ford GT is very similar to the Ford GT40, but it’s bigger, wider and most important; 3 inches taller. Even Jeremy Clarckson fits in one! Therefore the potential name was “GT43”. But at the end of the day it was simply called “Ford GT”.
This particular Ford GT is one of the 101 made for the European market and is 1 of only 27 delivered in the UK. Originally ordered by the owner of Lola cars, this car has remained in the UK for a long time, but is since short for sale at Bavaria Motors in Belgium. Eventhough the car was registered in the UK, it’s left handed.
Bruges, the city of love
We decided to take the Ford GT to the most beautiful city of Belgium. Bruges has been called different names, such as “the city of chocolate”, “the city of horse and carriage”, “the city of cobblestones” and last but not least “the city where you fall in love”. And for me it was no different. I fell in love in this romantic city with the 2005 Ford GT, and I was most certainly not alone! When you drive a car like this, you can’t been unseen, not even in a city as Bruges. As we drove it through small and bumpy roads, searching for shooting locations, a lot of people stopped by to have a chat with us. But unfortunately negative reactions came across our path as well. I guess that’s something you can’t avoid when you drive a noisy car like that.
Although I studied for three years in Bruges, I’ve never been so deep into the heart of this city. And is there any better way to discover a city than in a freakin Ford GT?! This particular Ford GT is not equipped with the iconic double striping. The clean configuration made a perfect match with the color shades that Bruges offers. And in the evening, it even turned into a fairytale scene.
Driving a bedroom-poster-icon
For most people, in terms of automotive, when they hear the words “bedroom-poster-icon”, the first cars that come to their mind are the Lamborghini Countach, the RUF CTR Yellow Bird and the Ferrari F40. Well I am from a younger generation where the Ford GT was the new Lamborghini Countach. Besides that it was also the car on the cover of Gran Turismo 4, the game I played like no other. Next to the Lamborghini Murciélago I shot a few months ago, the Ford GT played a huge role in my life as automotive photographer. So it was a childhood dream that came true when I drove one myself at the end of the day!
In most of the bad-guy movies, a red button means no good. But in this case, the red button that says “start engine” means, well it actually means you start the engine. The sound of the upstarting 5.4L supercharged V8, that just lays behind your back, goes through your veins, with an immediate adrenaline-kick as result. I’ll be honest, I was a little scared to drive this car. 550 horsepower on the rear-wheels is not something I am used to! With shaking legs, I pushed the clutch and put the manual gearbox in 1st gear. I was scared because I knew when I let go of the clutch to fast and pushed the throttle to hard, the rear-wheels would start to spin and I could lose control. But after all I got comfortable with the car. The fact that it’s not the most reliable car makes you constant aware of the power that the engine develops on the rear wheels. Losing concentration is no option and that’s why you enjoy this car every second to the fullest!
This Ford GT is equipped with a X-Fab exhaust which makes the V8 roar. On our way home we drove trough a few tunnels, and it speaks for itself that I shifted the car in to 3th gear and pushed the throttle so the V8 echoed throughout the tunnels. When I think back of this very moment, I still have goosebumps all over my body. When I laid in bed that night, I couldn’t sleep. Partly because my body had withdrawal symptoms of the adrenaline, but most of all, when I closed my eyes, I still could hear the Ford GT scream in my ears.
In addition to this article, Beau made a beautiful video that made us re-live last sunday.