Your handy 2005–06 Ford GT buyer’s guide
Is there a better way to celebrate 100 years in business than by re-creating one of the most ambitious, inspirational vehicles from your past? That’s what happened with Ford’s stunning 2002 GT40 concept car, which previewed the instantly-adored 2005–06 Ford GT production car. While the shape is a clear nod to the original Le Mans-winning GT40, and there’s even a hidden 100th anniversary Easter egg (look closely at the driver’s side headlight), the Ford GT had real performance chops underneath its retro references. No matter how you slice it—gruff V-8, purposeful interior, low-slung silhouette—there’s plenty to love when it comes to the first generation of Ford’s celebrated supercar.
Sporting a cutting-edge superplastic-formed frame, a stunning aluminum-paneled body penned by Camilo Pardo, a bespoke version of Ford’s 5.4-liter Modular V-8 with a Lysholm twin-screw supercharger, a Ricardo six-speed manual transmission, the instrument panel’s structural magnesium cross beam, and a “ship in a bottle” fuel tank, the limited-production 2005 Ford GT wore a relatively affordable sticker price of $139,995. That’s far from chump change, but the GT’s performance in many cases bested that of its competition. Hagerty’s own editor-in-chief, Larry Webster, tested the Ford GT in a 2004 Car and Driver comparison test and proclaimed, “We know of only one car that would surely outrun the Ford—the $659,000 Ferrari Enzo.”
Surely confident following such praise from across the media landscape, Ford instituted a $10,000 price increase on all Ford GTs made after June 2005. Other running changes were far more modest, including a mid-year deletion of a screen in front of the radiator (for added cooling), a revised clamshell release (helper springs replaced the rubber stops), and a switch from solid tubes to stainless flex hoses for the transaxle’s oil pump. Early production versions used a speedy sleeve to stop a leak at the crankshaft, and no problems have been reported with this fix. The most noteworthy mid-year change, however, concerned the rear suspension control arms: Early-build models had a recall (after one car had a control arm failure) in which a set of high-dollar, truly gorgeous billet aluminum wishbones replaced the cast aluminum originals. Later 2005 models were factory fitted with the billet arms, but once the casting issue was resolved all subsequent models reverted to the original design.
Options for the Ford GT were fairly plentiful: McIntosh stereo with a subwoofer between the seats ($4000), BBS forged wheels ($4000), painted center racing stripe ($5400), red or grey brake calipers ($750), and the very uncommon side stripe delete ($0). Ford GT colors included Centennial White, Mark II Black, Mark IV Red, Midnight Blue Metallic, Speed Yellow, and the 2005-only Quick Silver Metallic. A total of 2027 Ford GTs were made this year.
Probably the most notable change for 2006 was the availability of the “Heritage Blue Livery” paint scheme. More commonly known as the Gulf Oil livery made famous by race cars in the 1960s, this was a $13,000 option that found 343 buyers. Ford added a far more subtle Tungsten gray to the color palette, which proved popular and adorned 541 GTs. The other colors remained unchanged: Centennial White, Mark II Black, Mark IV Red, Midnight Blue Metallic, and Speed Yellow.
Other than the new colors, changes for 2006 included a switch from a silver to a black finish on the brackets holding the engine oil reservoir to the frame, and the deletion of a painted clip mounted over the top edge of the clamshell that blended in the gap between the roof panel and rear clamshell. A total of 2011 Ford GTs were made for the final year of production.
Because of the GT’s low production and exclusive clientele, it appears that some important people successfully added a dash of uniqueness to their GT. The first and most obvious example was the GT made for CEO Bill Ford, as it sported door sill plates with his name. Supposedly there’s at least one Ford GT with a radio delete, but there are a few cases of unique colors rolling off the assembly line: A 2005 model finished in Ford’s Sonic Blue, as well as a single blue GT with silver (instead of white) racing stripes. There’s also, supposedly, a 2005 GT finished in the Gulf Oil colors without the unique livery scheme (i.e. Gulf Blue body with orange racing stripes) that predates the 2006 GT Heritage.
At least three pre-production Ford GTs were sold instead of scrapped, including this Nardo test car. Aftermarket coachbuilder Gennadi Design Group offered GT owners—especially those who grew weary of ducking under their doors—a roadster conversion called the GTX1. Approximately 40 were completed, equipped with unique body panels, valve covers, door sills, and a serialized number plaque, all for a $38,000 upcharge.
What to look for
When considering to purchase a Ford GT, it is important to note how unique its blend of cutting-edge supercar design and homegrown, Ford parts bin design makes it both an exciting and unique vehicle to own. Before we proceed, the first thing is to remember to duck down when exiting a Ford GT, otherwise you run the risk of banging your head against those uniquely shaped doors.
Once you clear the door’s hurdle, make sure your test drive doesn’t include starting in third gear, as the gated shifter renders that mistake easier than you might expect. Though this is a supercar, a pre-purchase inspection for a GT should proceed much like any other collector car (i.e. make sure every feature, button, and switch works as intended) but be extra careful of the tires: Dry-rotted tires are commonplace on low-mile vehicles and performance (not to mention) suffers significantly because of it. Considering the GT’s power and its lack of traction control, tire condition is crucial. If the rubber is 7+ years old, factor tire replacement into the asking price in order to safely enjoy driving it on the road. And when driving, allow time for the gearbox to heat up before driving aggressively; sometimes shifting will be difficult until it warms up.
While this isn’t an exotic in the way of a Ferrari or Lamborghini is, having service documentation is essential justification of a GT’s advertised condition. While Ford’s off-the-shelf components will be somewhat affordable to repair, make sure the dry-sump oiling system pump belt has been serviced (as per owner’s manual requirements), its aluminum body is free of collision damage (especially if you are looking at a rear bumper-delete GT) and signs of errant belt buckles scraping paintwork near the battery. Perhaps all that’s needed is a quick visual inspection and a running of the VIN through a service like Carfax, but a better solution is having a professional inspector examine the body for signs of “off the books” accident repair. If you see issues that neither you nor a local shop can address, contacting the GT Guys to discuss your concerns might be a good plan of attack.
Much like the body, the leather-lined interior should remain scratch and scuff free, especially around the lower half of the door cards. There is an issue with corrosion on the magnesium center console, and refinishing may or may not permanently resolve the issue. A very well cared for Ford GT will have minimal wear on the seats, showing previous owners took the time to enter/exit carefully into the cabin. Other common problems unique to Ford GTs are dashboard gauge problems, half-shaft bolt failures (addressed in a recall), fuel filler door issues (mitigated by not letting the fuel nozzle rest when refilling the tank), and the omnipresent Takata airbag inflator recall. Speaking of shared components, much of what you see inside the GT comes from other vehicles in Ford’s portfolio; interior door handles are from an Econoline van, the steering column is a leather-wrapped version of the one in a Ford Focus, switchgear is lifted from Ford of Europe’s parts bin, and the dashboard vent registers are from the Ford F-150. That said, spotting these cost-cutting measures is difficult for the untrained eye and has the added benefit of making parts replacement easy. Downright cheap, even, consider this car’s rarity and status.
Like the more attainable Fords, the Ford GT has a host of aftermarket upgrades available and some are very desirable. Modifications include a smaller supercharger pulley (with corresponding ECU tune), a Whipple supercharger upgrade, or even twin turbos that can unleash north of 1000 horsepower with only modest effort (i.e. still using the stock motor and 16-fuel-injector induction system). Smaller-scale modifications include an aftermarket cat-back exhaust, transaxle cooler, center console armrest/storage, armrest pads for the door cards, racing harnesses, rear bumper delete, aluminum dress-up bezels for the seats, and even a 2-DIN stereo bezel designed to accept modern audio equipment. If you aren’t looking at a bone-stock Ford GT, ask if the original parts come with the sale, as this helps broaden the car’s appeal and retain its value.
The Hagerty Valuation team has gained significant insight in to recent transaction prices for the 2005–06 Ford GT, but please check here for the most up-to-date values. There was a significant increase in value from 2012–16, as condition #2 (Excellent) examples rose in value a robust 88 percent. Things have leveled off, because from 2016 to today the value is up only 4 percent, but the ceiling could turn out to be much higher. As with many low-volume supercars, most of these examples have three or low-four-digit odometer readings and are essentially in like-new condition.
Over the last five years, the average price at auction for 2005–06 Ford GTs was $330,680. Our data suggests you can count on a $4000 premium for BBS wheels, $3000 for factory stripes, $2500 for the McIntosh stereo, and $900 for painted calipers. Notable sales in recent memory include a 2.4-mile 2006 Heritage for $533,000, along with $522,500 for Chassis #2 with only 223 miles on the odometer. And to show the GT’s meteoric rise, GT #2 sold for $242,000 in 2012 and for $451,000 in 2015. If you are looking at one of the 200 Ford GTs sold in Canada, note they cannot be legally imported to the U.S.A. (yet!) because of federal safety regulations. European GT enthusiasts have about 100 units officially imported to Europe to consider, and they tend to command a premium in that market.
Hagerty’s insurance data shows that 2005–06 Ford GT quoted values are up 4 percent over the last three years, while the number of quotes is up 12 percent in the last 3 years. On the demographics front, Preboomers make up 6 percent of quotes for Ford GTs, which is about on par with that group’s 7 percent of the total collector car market. Considering the car’s price tag, it might come as no surprise that boomers comprise 54 percent of quotes compared to 39 percent of the overall market. Gen Xers, millenials and Gen Z make up 26/10/3 percent of quotes and 31/10/3 percent of the market, respectively.
The Ford GT is a homegrown American hero that has earned the admiration of a wide spectrum of car enthusiasts, as its competitive performance and heritage-based style made it an instant classic. Its success even convinced Ford to make a successor. How many other cars from the 2000s scored this kind of reputation right out of the gate? If you’re interested in becoming one of the few that own Ford’s finest, look for the one that you’ll truly want to own, in the best condition you can afford, and with a documented service history if at all possible.