Almost everyone has heard of the Hatfield and McCoy feud, and most scholars of American history know about Hamilton and Burr. If you’re a kid, Tom and Jerry is one especially vicious rivalry. For us car folk, the only one that truly matters is the faceoff between Ford and Ferrari.
What started as a business deal between the two companies that went south quickly escalated into an all-out war between Enzo Ferrari and Henry Ford II, two equally strong-willed individuals. The result was, without a doubt, one of the greatest race cars of all time, the Ford GT40. Ford didn’t forget its history decades later, and 40 years after the feud Blue Oval fans were gifted the 2005–06 Ford GT—an homage supercar that defined the retro trend of the 2000s.
How the seeds were sown
After negotiations fell apart between the two companies, the slighted Ford mobilized its vast resources to very publicly give Ferrari the middle finger and decimate Enzo’s cars on that track where it mattered the most: the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Using the Lola GT as a starting point, Ford further developed the concept of the car into the GT40. Following an embarrassing appearance at Le Mans in 1964, Ford enlisted the help of its new friends at Shelby American to sort out the car. After another failed Le Mans attempt in 1965, the GT40 was ready for the 1966 series. Driver, Ken Miles easily won races at Daytona and Sebring leading up to Le Mans. The GT40 was favored to win and it won big. Ford scored an astonishing 1-2-3 sweep at Le Mans. In retrospect it’s even more humiliating for Ferrari. Since 1966, Ferrari has never taken an overall win at Le Mans.
A GT for the new millennium
On the eve of Ford Motor Company’s 100th birthday, Ford stunned the world by unveiling the best-ever birthday present to themselves: the 2002 GT40 concept. This modern take on the GT40 was as heavily inspired by the race car, although a little taller and sprinkled with more creature comforts. Reception was so positive that Ford announced it would put the car into production.
The production cars were ready for delivery by the 2005 model year. By this time, the GT40 name had been dropped for just “GT” (Ford did not retain rights to use the GT40 name). The car was equipped with a supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 making 550 horsepower, which could propel the car from 0–60 in 3.4 seconds.
All this supercar performance could be had for around $150,000. That’s $30,000 less than the base price of the GT’s chief rival, the Ferrari F430. Not only was it less expensive, but it was faster. To add icing on the cake, the GT was more exclusive than the Ferrari. As is the case with the current GT, there was more demand than supply, meaning you had to be selected for ownership.
For the second year of production, the GT was left mostly unchanged with the exception of the Heritage package. Instead of the standard paint options, the Heritage edition was painted in the iconic Gulf Livery. While considered ostentatious to some at the time, the Heritage is now seen as the best-looking GT of the series.
Aging well, in looks and value
The GT’s interest has steadily grown over the years, and even with a new GT on the market, interest is strong and prices average about double of the original MSRP. Currently the GT carries a Hagerty Vehicle Rating of 66.
[The HVR is a 0–100 point scale that measures how a collector vehicle is performing compared to the overall market. A score below 50 means a car is lagging behind, 50 means a car is keeping pace, and a score above 50 indicates a hot market—the higher, the hotter.]
The GT’s score of 66 is a bit of a rebound from a low score of 20 in February. This four-month bounceback is among the largest month-over-month gains in HVR score among all of the vehicles we measure.
Does this mean that the GT is primed to see more increases in value? Not necessarily. What it does mean is that the GT market is more active and healthy in terms of cars offered, sold, and quoted than where the overall market was a year ago. It doesn’t mean prices are about to shoot off into the stratosphere.
A legacy that will last
The GT is an incredible automobile even by today’s standards. These cars are as raw and powerful as they are beautiful. The lines and retro styling have aged incredibly well, and for prospective buyers, there is an immense supply of collector-grade cars out there. Most of these cars were seen as instant collectibles and were put away in new condition. In the GT world, 2000 miles on the odometer is considered high usage. The best examples in the world should have single- to double-digit odometer readings. Moderate usage lands more in the 500–1000-mile range. Cars with much more than 5000 miles are still expensive cars, but they do not demand astronomical prices in comparison.
The GT only came with few options: racing stripes, painted calipers, BBS forged wheels, and McIntosh stereo. Having all these options does make a difference in desirability when paired with low miles. Due to the exclusivity (343 built) and fantastic looks, the Heritage Editions command the highest prices, especially when fully optioned.
Prices range from $213,000 in #4 (Fair) condition to $392,000 in #1 (Concours) condition. Add $4000 for factory BBS wheels, $3000 for factory stripes, $2500 for the McIntosh audio system, and $900 for painted calipers.
The GT is truly a special car. Ford proved to the world in the ’60s that it could compete with the best in the world at Le Mans and win. Decades later, the 2005–06 Ford GT proved itself a car that could best the world’s performance benchmark again. And for all of it, going back more than 50 years now, we all have two stubborn, resentful automotive giants to thank.