So, you’ve saved your pennies and have a big enough bank account to write a check for a new Ford GT when it goes on sale this year. But you still may be out of luck. Ford has set up a rigorous, online application process to find deserving homes for the new supercar.
An assortment of affluent aficionados have already let Ford know they’d like one of the limited-edition GTs – which are expected to cost somewhere north of $400,000. Lifting a page from the Ferrari playbook, Ford has decided that simply having the cash won’t be enough to get a GT.
“We want to prioritize people who are going to care about the car, keep the car and drive the car,” Raj Nair, Ford’s global product development director, told The Detroit News.
(Victory, defeat…and plenty of surprises. Click Here for more on the Rolex 24 at Daytona.)
Ford is trying to avoid the sort of situation it’s seen with other automakers who bring out low-volume halo cars, only to have them snapped up by affluent collectors who lock them up in their collections, where they might be admired but seldom driven.
The 250 Ford GT supercars set to be built in 2016 are meant to serve as rolling brand ambassadors, showing what the Detroit maker is capable of doing, holding their own against the likes of a Lamborghini Aventador. Ford hasn’t publicly announced pricing for the GT but has suggested it will come to market at a figure competitive with the Italian supercar, which starts around $400,000.
Among other things, Nair explained, applicants will have to sign a legally binding document requiring them to keep the GT for a minimum length of time, a clause meant to prevent people from quickly flipping one of the supercars for a fast profit. It’s not uncommon for speculators to sign up early when they hear a new Ferrari is coming out, only to sell their place on line to a desperate buyer who really wants to drive the vehicle.
The application also will about what Ford vehicles a GT hopeful previously owned, and often they would drive it. Oh, and it’s apparently a plus to be active on social media, something that would help Ford drum up even more publicity for the supercar.
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Ford has so far said it will build 250 GTs this year. It won’t disclose long-term plans, though Chairman Bill Ford has hinted that it will likely be less than 1,000.
The maker has already heard from high-profile collectors and celebrities, including both Jay Leno and Justin Verlander, the star pitcher for the Detroit Tigers.
The new Ford GT was one of the hits of the 2015 North American International Auto Show and came as a complete surprise, with only a handful of senior executives even aware of the development project.
It brings back a nameplate that was last seen in 2006. Four years earlier, Ford unveiled a sleek sports car concept, dubbed the GT40, at the Detroit Auto Show. Penned by designer Camilo Pardo, it was meant to honor the race car of that name that dominated the endurance race series of the mid to late-1960s. In a historic development, Ford swept past dominant rivals Porsche and Ferrari to go 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The retro remake had to be renamed the Ford GT due to a legal issue. But it proved wildly popular well beyond its brief, two-year production run. Just over 4,000 were built – slightly less than the 4,500 originally planned.
This time, Ford’s Nair told TheDetroitBureau.com, the goal was to “simultaneously” develop both a street and track version of the new GT.
The race model made its debut during the Rolex 24 at Daytona last weekend. It delivered mixed results, running strong at times, but developing a number of mechanical problems that caused the two track entries to repeatedly be pulled back into the Ford garage. Among other things, Ford mechanics had to deal with shredding tires, brake line issues and balky transmissions that would stick in sixth gear.
“With a new car and the timeframe we were on, that was not unexpected,” said Nair, during a trackside interview. “If you come out of the box with a car that feels good, you can fix the reliability issues.”
Ford is still on an aggressive timetable. It will put the GT back on the track for the 12-hour race at Sebring and follow with a series of additional endurance events before heading back to Le Mans where it hopes to repeat the historic win of a half-century ago.
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