Back in 2005, the Ford Motor Company wanted to do something special to celebrate their 100th anniversary. What they did was come out with a special, limited-production car called the Ford GT. This mid-engined supercar was inspired by Ford’s famous GT40 racing cars from the 1960s.
The Ford GT has a supercharged V8 engine that makes a whopping 550 horsepower! Aside from a roll cage, this thing is basically a street-legal racing car. Like all good things, the Ford GT was only around for a limited time. After two years and 4,000 vehicles, Ford ended production of their high performance supercar.
There are no shortage of cars borrowing the Ford GT’s performance and its heritage today. The 2005-2006 Ford GT provided the design inspiration (and the powertrain) for the Mustang Mach 40 which captured the Best of Show at SEMA 2012. It has also inspired the Galpin Auto Sports Ford GTR1 at this year’s Pebble Beach show.
What you may not know is that Ford also made some in-house concept cars based on the GT platform. In 2004, Ford debuted this Shelby GR-1 prototype at Pebble Beach. I spotted it on display at the Arizona Auto Show the following year, parked alongside the 2004 Shelby Cobra Concept Car.
The Shelby GR-1 chops over 2 feet off the regular Ford GT chassis and has the same suspension, steering, and other components as the production car. Instead of the mid-mounted supercharged 5.4L V8, Ford and Shelby decided on an traditional front-engine setup with an all-aluminum 6.4L V10 engine making 605 horsepower! The car is electronically limited to 200 mph, but designers say it could easily do more.
It’s a shame that Ford never put the Shelby GR-1 into production. I suppose the timing was all wrong. With Ford preparing to launch the GT supercar in 2005, who would have ever bought one if a lighter, smaller, and faster car were available with most of the same components?