Heresy: I Like the Old (New) Ford GT a Lot More than the New Ford GT

13 years ago, Ford introduced a stunning V8-powered supercar. It was not affordable.

At roughly $150,000 — or $188,000 in 2017 dollars — the 2005 Ford GT was out of my reach. More than likely, the 2005 Ford GT wasn’t on your shopping list, either.

But because its price placed the reborn Ford GT in the realm of attainability, nearly 3,600 GTs found homes between the end of 2004 and early 2007. Sure, a lot of them spend much of their time parked in garages. Many scarcely move. And it’s not as though a Ford GT is daily commuter in mid-winter Des Moines.

But because of that Blue Oval badge and value-oriented pricing — hey, the GT cost a lot less than a Ferrari F430 — the Ford GT was common enough and American enough and crazy enough to be The People’s Supercar.

The new Ford GT, on the other hand, is a $450,000 beast with a pair of missing cylinders, disappointing noises, and such exclusivity that spotting one in the wild will be virtually impossible outside supercar havens in SoCal and South Beach.

Forgive me, but I prefer the old Ford GT.

The new, 647-horsepower Ford GT will be quicker. Its monocoque construction is obviously more modern. The new GT’s hydraulic active suspension is surely a wonder. The aero package will be more refined. Its racing connections are instrinsic. The hand-built assembly of a new Ford GT is a nine-day journey in that supercar bastion of Maranello Markham, Ontario.But the new Ford GT, like many a modern performance car, doesn’t have a manual transmission.

The new Ford GT is so snobbish you had to apply to get one.

The new Ford GT’s F-150 Raptor-related 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine (the old Ford GT’s 5.4-liter V8 was F-150-related, too) is a V6.

V6s are fine. V6s are good. V6s can be great. But Automobile says, “The engine can sound coarse and produces a fair amount of drone if allowed to dawdle along at low-to-medium revs in a relatively high gear, and history will not remember it as an all-time orchestra.” Indeed, after the intoxicating noises of the previous Ford GT, the new GT’s sounds are hardly the stuff of which dreams are made.

On an even more subjective level, I consider the new Ford GT’s lengthy midsection to be awkward; its mouthy front end is too in keeping with 2017’s addiction to massive grilles. The overall appearance isn’t generic supercar, but it’s more in-your-face and less obviously pretty.

Perhaps all of this irrelevant. Ford will eventually sell its 1,000 Ontario-built GTs, no matter how I feel about it. (12 have found U.S. homes so far, according to Ford’s sales reports.) Perhaps the opinion of an individual who will never own a Ford GT, probably never drive one, and may not even see one is lacking validity.

Yet what made the previous Michigan-built Ford GT so great was the degree to which Ford made a world-beating supercar at a world-beating price. Impressing us at $150,000 is far more difficult than wowing us at $450,000.

To the pre-teen sitting in the back seat of his mom’s Camry, the 2005 Ford GT he saw flash by his window said something about Ford. That kid looked at Ford and saw an American company that was building a more audacious car — a more visually impressive car, a louder car, perhaps even a faster car — than the supercar elite.

That occurrence, that 11-year-old who saw a GT rumble by, was more than four times more likely than the new Ford GT making an appearance alongside your mom’s RAV4. The new Ford GT is a masterpiece, no doubt. But for $450,000, isn’t a masterpiece assumed?

Ford’s accomplishment with the 2005 GT was therefore more significant. Then again, drivers did suffer concussions after heads struck door frames before every drive, so maybe the old car wasn’t that great. Moreover, if TTAC relations want to let me drive the new GT, I’ll accept the offer.

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

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