When the nice folks who operate the Model T Automotive Heritage Center at Henry Ford’s Piquette Avenue plant gave me access to the facility so I could shoot the cars there for your 3D enjoyment, I expected there to be a nice selection of Model Ts. After all, the car was in production for almost 20 years and though Henry insisted it was the perfect car, the T nonetheless underwent significant changes over the years. I was not disappointed. Though the museum does not own many vehicles itself, Ford collectors consider it an honor to have their cars displayed there, so indeed there was a fine assortment of Model T models and model years along with some interesting variants like the Pullford tractor conversion or the Model T snowmobile with tracks in the back and skis up front. I also expected to see, perhaps, some Ford cars that predated the Model T, and maybe a Model A or two along with an early V8. In that, too, I was not surprised. What I did not expect to see, though, was the fastest production Ford ever, a 2005 Ford GT that was clocked at 205 mph while testing on the high speed banked oval at Nardo, Italy in 2004. Since customers’ GTs were electronically limited to a bit more than 150 mph, this makes this GT the fastest production Ford car ever.
FoMoCo donated the car to the museum to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Henry Ford’s record 91.37 mph run in his 999 racer on frozen Lake St. Clair in January of 1904. This particular GT was the 15th made, a validation prototype, and after its test duties were done, Ford Motor Company donated it to the “T-Plex”, as volunteers call the facility. I suppose we could quibble over whether or not a validation prototype is a “production” car, but validation cars are built from production components on the regular assembly line. In any case, the only difference between this particular GT and true production models is the aforementioned speed governor.
It’s a true test car, not a show car. There are some flaws in the paint, and a couple of panels don’t fit perfectly, but frankly it looked great sitting amidst its automotive ancestors. Ford also donated a body in white GT, and you can see how the aluminum monocoque is made of welded stampings along with very large castings. It looks particularly interesting in stereo. As for the skin that drapes the chassis, I happen to think that Camillo Pardo’s iteration is better looking than the original GT40. It’s also a much more practical car than the original which was, after all, a purpose built racecar with only enough manufactured to get past the homologation rules. As I said, the Model T factory is a suitable setting for the GT. The Ford Model T proved that Detroit could build a car. The Ford GT model proved that Detroit could build a supercar.