This is how bad history is going wrong.
Text: Fabian S., Mickael B. Images : Ford ©
A lot is going wrong during the first weeks of this new year. Browsing through social media, one gets the impression that almost everybody has renamed himself in Charlie after the very sad events that just occurred in Paris. Less amply mediatized, another non deadly tragedy has just happened on this Monday morning: Ford has announced the technical details on its new upcoming Ford GT.
The Ford GT, first of the name was presented back in 2002 at the Detroit Autoshow as a brilliant concept-car, inspired from the GT40, from which it had the name. The final production version was with the Porsche Carrera GT, one of the last classic supercars: a big displacement, rear-engine, rear-wheel drive, manual gearbox piece of art. Even though it wasn’t 40 inches high like the original 1964 GT40 from which it was inspired, you could both see its ancestor’s lines, and feel its unique atmosphere. The GT40 is probably one of the most significant racing legends ever. The 2004 Ford GT was probably the best tribute that could have ever been built to this car. It had everything. Although the traditional 5.0 litre V8 was taken from a Ford F-150 pickup truck, it had been heavily reworked with a bigger supercharger, developing almost 550 horsepower. With a fully aluminium chassis, an excellent six speed manual gearbox, it could almost compete with much performant supercars.
The new one comes with fifty more horsepower than its predecessor, which is actually good news. More power is always good. But now comes the clue. Ford, as one of the very few American OEMs, has succumbed to the trend of downsized engines, in opposite with Chevrolet or Dodge who managed to stick with their enormous V8s and V10s respectively for their Viper and Corvette flagships. You asked for a supercharger in this legendary car? Think again. Ford´s chief engineer might have thought that Porsche´s newest coup with the 918 has a pretty neat unique selling point: it only needs 3 liters of displacement for a net output of almost 900hp. Plus, he must have been so proud of its newly developed four cylinder Ecoboost engine for the Mustang that he decided to develop a V6 version of this engine in his new ultra high performance supercar, as Ford like to call the new GT. Easy: no expensive development for a hybrid system but still a contained thirst for an American car. Yeah, only knowing Ford, the finished car will probably never achieve reasonable consumption figures. Moreover, one of the key elements in the original Ford GT was the incredible sound of the V8, which bellowed from the graves, bursted to life at 4000 rpm, and rumbled until 6500, and could make even an Aston Martin Vanquish hooting… No doubt then than the future owner of this brand new GT will be very disappointed of a rather standard twin-turbocharged V6 engine.
The chief engineer might then have had a quick look at the interior of Porsche´s very car, to notice the infotainment system. Probably one of the most elaborated systems you can find in a car today, the Stuttgart based sportscar manufacturer has invested a lot of cost and effort to demonstrate to the world how capable they are. A real “tour de force”. Not so in Detroit. After his engine decision, Mr. Chief Engineer might have taken the elevator to meet his colleagues, responsible for onboard electronics. Having heavily praised their newest SYNC 3 navigation system, the IT department convinced him that their system might be equally as good as the one of its german rivals. In the event you buy the new GT, that might explain why you will have the same GPS as your neighbor´s Fiesta, only your car will be at least ten times as expensive as his. Do you have any problem with that?
And then there is the design. Evidently being a subjective issue, why on earth have they opted for LaFerrari or McLaren P1 style doors? I mean the GT40’s door had indentations, an element that made them very singular, and which almost symbolized its successor, the GT. Of course, these doors were not very practical, but who really cared? You don’t get attached to a car because of its qualities, but because of its defaults. Although the front is rather similarly looking to its two ancestors, apart from the splitter, which seems to have been taken directly from Porsche’s 918 Spyder or Mercedes-Benz GLE 63 AMG, the rear is just complete non-sense. The only remaining elements from the original GT40 or the GT are the two exhausts and the two rear lamps. That’s it. The rest is a sort of a mixture between… Well… Something between the Eiffel Tower, a Ferrari Laferrari, a Lamborghini Veneno and a Caparo T1. It hurts eyes. It is tortured. There are broken lines everywhere. No more of that classy racing elegance from its ancestors. With your average hipster elytra doors. Fantastic.
And that’s even before we get to talk about the interior design. No more cocooned atmosphere inside. In the Ford GT, with all the switches, this simple but superb aluminum gearlever, you really had the impression to be back on the Hunaudieres straight line, racing against the Ferrari GTOs. Now let’s review what do we get? Well, not much. The original atmosphere has disappeared and has let place to a very lean environment, which doesn’t fit the original soul of the Ford.
Fabian: “While there can be a conceptual debate on the trend the breed of supercars form Italy, the UK and Germany are following, they have been engineered to the highest possible standards, this doesn’t seem to be said about the new Concept from Detroit. Being a boy of the nineties, all this pseudo political correctness is a sacrilege. Give me back the supercars form my childhood: both GTs, the old Ford and the Porsche or the Enzo were old school supercars. Moreover supercars as such will never be eligible for the Green Car of the Year, no matter what technology will be implemented, so why bother about it. They are supposed to make people dream and not intended to be air purgers. Words like Ecoboost and SYNC 3 are everything but sexy.“
Mickael: “With the last generations of Corvettes and Vipers keeping the magic recipy that made every great supercars: simple design, big engine, rear-wheel drive and a manual gearbox, I had good hope that the Ford would have followed that trend line. Sadly though, they have chosen to follow the other trend from Europe, to go for small turbocharged engine, pretending whatever false fuel economy (which the owners of such a car won’t bother at all), a design which doesn’t respect anymore its heritage, and a flappy-paddle gearbox that disconnects you even more from the road. Great cars as we loved them, real men’s cars, are completely disappearing, to make place for easy, soulless, fast and disconnected cars. Driving pleasure is a reward, for putting effort, a demanding process and automotive brands seem to have forgotten that.”