A Tale of Two GTs: 2005 Ford GT vs. 2017 Ford GT Comparison
Does the new GT capture the spirit of the old GT? Or does it ring in a new era, with an old nameplate?
The Ford GT is a vehicle that, for the most part, I had completely forgotten about. The second generation GT from the mid-2000s came out when I was too young to actually notice it, and the new GT has fallen into the back of my mind behind newer and more interesting vehicles.
That isn't to say that I don't like the GT, far from it, it's just that if you don't see a vehicle talked about online that much following its launch, and you can't see one on your daily commute, it's easy to forget that it exists.
That is truly a shame too, because the new GT is truly spectacular, and seeing it carve up Goodwood this past year was incredible, but there are several reasons that the new GT is better, but simultaneously worse than its previous generation. Let's dive in, shall we?
We start with the styling, the new GT shares a side profile with the GTs of old, but when you look at it from the front and the rear, the futuristic styling shows decades of improvements to aerodynamics and more modern innovations. Air can travel under the flying buttresses which helps to provide more downforce, while new air intakes help keep the engine cool and channel more air through the car, instead of around the car.
Performance is truly mind-boggling in the new GT. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 in the new GT is similar to the one in the Raptor, except the GT comes with bigger turbochargers and unique camshafts as well as a bunch of other go-fast bits. While the turbocharged engine doesn't make the same sort of pure American sound as the 5.4-liter Supercharged V8 in the 2005 GT, the 3.5-liter makes 100 more horsepower and 50 more lb-ft of torque. The newer GT also manages to be 100 pounds lighter than the previous generation GT.
While these cars share a name, their purposes were entirely different.
The 2005 GT was designed to pay homage to the iconic GT40s of the 1960s. The 2005 GT captured the spirit of the old GTs while looking nearly identical to the first generation GT. Modern amenities were crammed into the interior thanks to Ford's vast parts bin (Doug DeMuro will be the first to remind you that the Focus ZXW and the GT share keys), but that made the GT easy to live with on a day-to-day basis, despite many of them now sitting in air-conditioned garages slowly appreciating in value, as opposed to being driven.
The new GT was designed to go back to Le Mans and beat Ferrari at their own game...again, and it did. The new GT was purpose focused, and the only reason a road car was made was for homologation purposes. The new GT also had a relatively long list of asterisks that came with ownership, like the fact that prospective buyers had to write to Ford explaining why they should own one, and then Ford prevented customers from selling their GTs during the first year of ownership, which meant that this forbidden fruit would continue to remain forbidden for quite some time to come.
In short, both of these vehicles harness an energy that is equal parts exotic and American at the same time. I imagine that the mid-engine Corvette will have a similar feeling. Then again, there aren't a lot of mid-engined American cars that were produced in any large enough quantity to compare it to. The Ford GT continues to amaze and impress the racing enthusiasts on the track while showing exotic manufacturers that American automakers are capable of so much more than burning rubber and straight line performance.