5.0 Mustang & Super FordsCar Reviews
California Gleaming in the New Ford GT
Sure, the Ford GT looks wicked at car shows and runs great numbers atthe track--but it really shines on the street
So, the phone rings, and it's the nice folks at Ford's West Coast PublicAffairs with a red GT unexpectedly in their hip pocket. We can have ourway with it for several hours the day after tomorrow. Can we make it?
Well, yeah, sure. But what to do with it besides burnouts at Blimpie?The buff magazines have run the thing to death, so there's no need toget the numbers on it in formal testing, which takes time, money, andplenty of advance planning--none of which we have anyway. There's notenough time to head to Vegas, so a road trip--however logical for aGT--is not in the making. It's during the week, so there isn't anopen-track available. That basically left the real world of stoplightsand parking lots, downtown and urban freeway. Which is just as well, asthe GT was designed as a no-excuse grand tourer, not a prima donnaposer. So we went for the real world.
The real world, it turns out, begins in the parking lot of IrwindaleRaceway, a bottle's throw from the Miller Brewing plant--itself the siteof the long-gone Irwindale dragstrip. As with the GT, some things arenew all over again.
And there, berthed askew in the parking lot, the red bolide sat openedlike a Swiss Army knife on corkscrew maneuvers, its two public-affairshandlers swatting away dust here and there. It sure looked good inperson--low, but not impossibly so; wide, sensuously rounded, yet edgedin just the right spots. It's remarkable just how classic the GT40 shapeis. For 40-something, she's still striking.
Horse Sense: Yeah, it was that good.
For all the hot rods and race cars, one-off factory prototypes, stylingexercises, historical artifacts, and other once-in-a-lifetime automotiveadventures we've had, we were still quietly amped at the imminent act ofsliding behind the GT's wheel. Clearly the genuine article from thefirst glance, you know it's going to be good.
Getting in is easy enough, which can't be said for many cars in thisclass. Yeah, it's a bit low, but the sill isn't that wide, and the doorsopen nearly 90 degrees. They have to, because the "roof" section of thedoor blocks cockpit access at normal door-opening angles. Tall orlong-waisted folks will instantly wonder about headroom; even DannyDeVito would duck when swinging the door shut as the roof section comesswinging in like a blade.
But with the door latched, there's a pocket built into the roof that'sjust enough to give our thinning hair clearance, so head room, whileclose at 35 inches, is not a deal breaker save for the last 1 percent ofthe population. Otherwise, it doesn't take long to know the cockpit isgoing to be a happy place. The important parts--seat, wheel, pedals,shifter--are exactly where they should be. The carbon-fiber seat iscomfy and supportive, and the shifter flicks lightly through its gates.
Aside from headroom, the GT offers generous shoulder, hip, and (at morethan 44 inches) a ton of legroom. Quarters are close around your head,but otherwise there's plenty of room. Passengers even seem a bit faraway thanks to the large center console. A small steering wheel providesknee room, and the pedals are neither too small nor too close together.