Dale Amy
May 1, 2002

The Modern Version Of A Classic Performer
Like a cover song, a modern version of a classic car can give new life to it-or tarnish its memory. Fortunately for us, Ford appears to have provided new life for the storied GT40. That's right-the endurance racer that crowned the Total Performance era by taking First, Second, and Third Place at Le Mans in 1966. You know-the one hot rodded to take out Ferrari with American iron. It may well be the ultimate performance Ford, and unlike the comic-book angularity of the GT90, this modern GT40 concept unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit modernizes the dream for today's expectations.

"GT40 is the ultimate Living Legend," J. Mays, Ford vice president of design, explains. "It's a true supercar with appeal equal to that of the greatest sports cars in the world, but with the addition of a heritage no one can match. Essential elements of the original-including the stunning low profile and mid-mounted American V-8-continue in this latest interpretation of the classic."

Though performance is certainly the theme, the idea was to make the new car livable and driveable by today's standards. First off was to make the diminutive original a bit more spacious without giving up performance. To that end, Special Vehicle Team Engineering built a modern, aluminum space frame that puts the fuel cells in the center of the car and allows for larger door openings along with, of course, the use of composite body panels. The result is 18 inches longer and 4 inches taller than the original.

Keen Ford historians will note this car doesn't look exactly like the original, but the changes are subtle. Ford enlisted Camilo Pardo, who has long painted classic GT40s, to perform the redesign. He brought in an original car for inspiration, viewed classic auto films, and scrapped his first idea to come up with the design you see here.