Posts Tagged ‘ford gt’

Superperformance GT40

When we saw the new Ford GT at last year’s Geneva show it completely blew us away. Floating on its revolving stand the metallic blue car looked a million dollars but (whisper it) the anticipated list price was to be less than £200k. That is a lot of money to spend on any car but in the world of supercars and hypercars you could be spending close to that on a new set of alloy wheels and a service. The owner of a P1 or LaFerrari would probably have that in small change down the back of the sofa.

OK it’s a Ford which doesn’t quite have the panache of a Ferrari or Lambo but it certainly does have the pedigree. Books the size of War and Peace have been written about the track successes of the company so engineering prowess is a given with any fast Ford. The latest Focus RS is a good example. ‘Blue-collar’ heroes they are calling them because badge-snobs wouldn’t be seen dead in one, even as a passenger. Their loss entirely. Incidentally, there will no less than four Ford GT’s competing at Le Mans this year. Look out Porsche, Audi et al.

But maybe the tide is turning. You see the so-called ‘blue-collar supercar’, the new Ford GT, is sending the car-collecting world into a right tiswas. Word is that only 28 cars will be available to UK buyers out of the planned 1000 to be built over four years and this has caused some anxiety amongst those who not only like their cars but also have lots of money to invest in their cars.

There are stories of individuals flying to the Dearborn HQ to see what strings they can pull to secure one of the first cars whilst shouting “Do you know who I am?!” Well that’s just hearsay but Ford has responded by saying that buying a fleet of Mondeos or offering free use of a Gulfstream jet will have no bearing on your chances of buying one. Maybe it will just be the old-fashioned short-straw routine or a gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Ford-style.

Suddenly the company has gone a bit shy on the exact sales price too. Quite likely one of the most sensible comments made at an HQ board-meeting since Geneva 2015 was that the car was possibly a tad too cheap and rumours are circulating now that you could be looking at Aventador-like pricing. If you think you can get away with it, Ford, then why not?

No doubt the car-collectors and ‘investors’ will be looking to double whatever they pay for their car in a few years time so any list price is quite frankly academic. Given the new GT is a spiritual successor to the original GT40 which is likely to be conservatively worth in excess of 10 million US dollars these days it is no surprise that the new car has created so much attention. Looks like Ford will be competing with Ferrari in the auction rooms as well as on the track.

However, there is an alternative option where the sensible money might be heading. The Superformance GT40.

The SPF GT40 story is not new of course and the South African-based company has been producing ‘authentic’ GT40’s for well over a decade now. So authentic in fact, that the company can legally use the name ‘GT40’ and each car carries the GT40/P chassis number and therefore is eligible for the official GT40 registry. So there.

The appeal of this car to ‘collectors’ and ‘investors’ of course is non-existent. But to somebody who would like to get as close as it might be possible to the Le Mans-winning cars from the 1960’s and who actually wants to drive their cars instead of moth-balling them in de-humidified cocoons then it is quite timely to put the spotlight again on this curious ‘replica’, ‘re-creation’ or ‘continuation’.

Each SPF GT40 is produced by Hi-Tech Automotive in Port Elizabeth, South Africa who just happen to produce cars for Noble. The Superformance brand is owned by the Hillbank Motor Corporation who just happen to be the US distributor for Caterham. Petrol (or gasoline) runs through the veins of the infrastructure.

If you want to buy an SPF GT40 you stop by your local dealer – Le Mans Coupes Ltd in the UK for instance – and tell them what engine you want installed (a choice of three from 430 to 580 bhp + as we write this) and your favourite colour for the bodywork. Hand over around £150k (more or less) and look forward to owning a 200 mph+ hand-built, re-creation of one of the most iconic sports car ever made.

For a car created in the 1960’s there is nothing else that can come as close to a Ferrari from the same period that could draw a crowd in a high street. The shape of the original GT40 has defied the ageing process and can hold its own against the forthcoming Ford GT. It looks like a brand-new re-creation will be a lot cheaper too. A proper race-bred sports car for the price of a modern supercar?

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It’s a long time since we went to a London motor show so the event being held at the Excel Centre in Docklands from the 23rd July until the 3rd August offered us an opportunity to go along and see some of the latest offerings from the world of cars. Click here for a slideshow of some of the cars that caught our eye.

Strange place that part of Docklands. You can still see some of the old warehouses from when London was the busiest port in the world rubbing shoulders with new-age linear architecture offering us a glimpse of what the place will look like in twenty years time. The flight path for London City Airport offers an interesting backdrop with planes flying so low you feel you can reach out and touch them as they fly past. Then there is the lagoon which at this particular event was lined on one side with some very nice boats including the inevitable Sunseeker or two.

Yet it feels empty. It’s almost as though there is no rush to turn the area into a stunning location for world-class events and living accommodation. Sure there are more hotels now in the area and there are certainly a lot more eating places but it gives the impression of being unloved. Maybe the Olympics will change all that.

On to the show itself. Firstly, don’t go there expecting to see all your favourite manufacturers represented – they are not. London is still not regarded as a premier event for the car makers but you will still find a few key names displaying their wares and at least there is plenty of space to walk around. Earls Court was handy in the old days but the crowded aisles would offer good practice for rugby scrums. It feels airy at Excel but somebody should have turned on the aircon. OK it was a particularly hot, sticky day on Tuesday but the inside of this modern building should have been like a fridge. Inexcusable!

So what did we see? Well of course the ‘highlight’ of the show was probably the launch of the Lotus Evora. Nice car and one that is likely to score a few points for the company. The overall design works when you see the car in the flesh. Photographs do not do the car justice in our humble opinion and it certainly looks well screwed together. Click here for slideshow of the Evora.

Ford had a sprawling stand that seemed to take up almost half of one of the halls and it looked like they had at least one of every model in the range represented. Pride of place went to the new Focus RS painted in a colour remeniscent of the stuff that comes out of Alien when it gets stabbed by Predator. Wear sunglasses if you intend to stand close to the RS! A nice red example of the GT was present together with the famous 1970 London-Mexico Rally winning Escort (FEV 1H) driven by Hannu Mikkola to remind us of Ford’s one-time supremacy in competitions. Click here for a slideshow of the RS.

Land Rover were close-by with RR’s, Discos, Defenders etc but the pole-dancer on their stand was the LRX. The car (SUV coupe?) looks neat in the photos and standing in front of the design concept you couldn’t help thinking that LR would have a real winner on their hands if they were brave enough to put the car into production. Aggressive styling from virtually every angle gives this car tremendous presence and it looks like it has bags of room inside too. Click here for a slideshow of the LRX

Then we stumbled across a gaggle of electric vehicles offering a ‘green’ alternative to those that obviously have no interest in cars – why do they have to look so dull and boring? They should all take a look at the Lightning GT if they want us to save the planet without having to wear socks and sandles. Lightning had one model on show but boy was it a stunner! A svelte, evocative design with the equivalent of 700 BHP on tap offering 0-60 times of less than 4 seconds and you can select the soundtrack of a V6 or a V12 while you’re at it. Suddenly electric cars get interesting!

A few yards along from the green campaigners were the big guns from the States reminding us that big, brash, loud cars from the US are still alive and very much kicking. Even the smallest of the Hummers could have squeezed a handful of those tiny electric offerings into its luggage space. Chevrolet, Cadillac and Chrysler put on a show that said if we haven’t quite arrived in the UK yet – we’re coming! The orange Camaro convertible looked a cracker. A little bit retro but none the worse for it and looking a damn site prettier than its rival the Mustang.

Honda also had a busy stand with the OSM (Open Study Model) offering some clues to their style direction for the S2000 but with the inevitable low-emission agenda. Certainly the car looks great and like most of the concept cars spinning around on glass turntables it was a little frustrating not be able to get up real close and peek inside. Click here for a slideshow of the OSM.

One stand featured a large collection of very rare (and very expensive) machinery including Koenigsegg, Pagani, Ferrari 612, 599 and 430 Scuderia, Aston Martin, Maserati, Spyker and McLaren SLR. Elsewhere at the show Alfa were showing an 8C (gorgeous but much smaller in the flesh than you might imagine) plus their new MiTo – hmm, not sure about the front-end on that one.

Finally before becoming overwhelmed with the heat and rushing for the exit doors we spotted the new XKR-S spinning around on Jaguar’s stand looking particularly fetching dressed in black. Click here for a slideshow of the XKR-S.