2005 Ford GT : A car ZERO problem.
(Comment from an American owner)
I put 31,000 miles on mine in 13 years, including two trips from LA to Monterey (got to run Laguna on one of those), a trip to Vegas, a trip to Santa Barbara, a trip Palo Alto, a trip to Salt Lake City (was pretty cool showing up for the 2017 Ford GT press launch in my own GT...) and a trip to Denver and back for the 20-year high school reunion (driven non-stop, both ways).
The reason you should drive the 2005-2006 Ford GTs as much as possible is because YOU CAN drive them as much as possible. They have a truck engine, a stout transmission and an extremely well engineered chassis. If the annoying Auto Meter gauges hadn’t been an issue the 2005-2006 GTs would rightfully have a reputation for ZERO issues. And in the world of over-priced exotic cars, losing the occasional gauge is a pretty minor problem. Certainly not cause for a flatbed, like so many other issues in the exotic car world.
I’ll never forget the epiphany I had on my drive back from Denver. About 4 miles before the I70/I15 interchange (which for people who don’t know the area is in the middle of nowhere) a light rain started to fall. I remember reaching for the wiper switch while thinking ”Hmm...I don’t believe I’ve ever used these before...” Of course they came on, worked fine, and I kept driving. It was, you know, almost as if the car was a real car or something.
And then I actually got angry. It occurred to me that there are literally thousands of these cars sitting in various states of bubble wrap all over the planet instead of being driven. What an insult to the very capable engineers who built (and stress tested) these vehicles to be used as REAL CARS, not garage furniture. BTW, when I drove to the 2017 Ford GT intro, just north of this same freeway interchange in Utah, a light (couscous-sized) hail fell on my GT for a few minutes. And, as always, everything was fine.
In my 13 years/31,000 miles the car stranded me exactly...ZERO times. Though I should state for the record it stranded Doug DeMuro (the car’s current owner) within a few months of buying it from me, requiring a flatbed. The cause? Negative battery cable connection — a somewhat common problem that, had he or I known, could have been fixed in a few minutes by the side of the road. I’d never experienced it so when he called me I couldn’t help, but as soon as he called Mr. Brooks (after the car was at a shop) it was identified and fixed in minutes, and he was driving.
Anyway, as for tips on enjoying these cars as they’re meant to be enjoyed:
1. Watch out for the cold tires. You probably know this, but it can’t be overstated. Even with my experience I unintentionally spun 90 degrees, twice, in my car, both within 5 minutes of starting to drive it (no damage either time, but both times I couldn’t believe I forgot the cold tire rule). And that was with the Bridgestones. If you’re still using the original F1 tires...well...just don’t.
2. There is more space in the car than most people realize. Creative packing/placing of items makes all the difference. My GT’s interior was lined with items behind the seats, in the passenger footwell and in the small cargo area on the drive back from Denver (with my wife). But the total volume of cargo we were carrying would have surprised most GT owners. As others have stated, the key is soft, malleable luggage and/or simply placing individual items (like shoes) where they fit, not in a bag. If you can move either (or both) seats forward from their furthest back position you can fit a lot of tall items behind them.
3. Park on end spaces or away from others. I very commonly was backed into a space with greenery or nothing on my driver’s side. You can always pull the car forward to let your passenger in, as long as you can get in the driver’s door.
4. And tell every passenger, about 10 times, to “watch your head” on the doors. Five times during entry and five times during exit should do it. Like the cold tires, there’s no such thing as focusing on this item too much. People forget, even after they say “Oh yeah, I got it” and it’s completely counter-intuitive to think there’s a door/roof hovering out there, away from the car. The physical reminder is painful at best and could cause serious injury at worst (one of the Motor Trend writers had to get stitches...).
5. WRAP YOU CAR — I never wrapped my 2005 GT because I didn’t trust the technology back then. My car’s paint held up surprisingly well given the odometer reading, but get close and the pits along the leading edge, and the lower rocker panels, are depressing. I’m a huge fan of this tech today. It’s really gotten good. Of course the shop applying it is critical too. Centerpunch, I think you’re relatively close to Columbus, Ohio. If you can get your car to Esoteric Detailing it’s worth the trip. And the cost.
6. Fuel range can vary from 180 to 250 miles. It’s really all in how it’s driven. During my Denver run I got 280 out of one tank because at a constant 75 mph the tach is reading around 1,600 rpm. But when going between Grand Junction and Denver it’s easy to drain the tank over those passes if you shift and gas it a lot. Actually, I distinctly remember leaving it in 6th gear on the run up to Eisenhower tunnel from Denver, without dropping below 70 mph. With the stage one upgrades the car makes great torque, even below 2,000 rpm.
7. Put a Battery Tender quick-release fitting on the battery, and run it up past the cargo liner for easy access. This isn’t a quick process because the original battery tie-down bolts are a pain in the ass, but it’s worth the one-time PITA process to make it easy to hook up.
8. Be willing to deal with attention...but it’s good attention. People universally love this car. I’ve driven nearly every type of exotic car, and people DO NOT universally love most exotics. Some people openly dislike them. I was sitting at a red light in the passenger seat of a convertible Lamborghini last year during the press launch, in Newport Beach, and as the cross-traffic was making its left turn in front of us a guy yelled out “Asshole” as he drove by. Pretty funny when it’s not even your car. But the GT never get’s that type of attitude. People love it. Be friendly and they’ll love you too.
9. Make sure you use good fuel. There’s no knock sensor on these cars, which I didn’t know until I heard it pinging a few years ago and asked Rich Brooks how that was possible. Turns out I had bad gas from a bad gas station, and I’ve avoided that brand ever since (and never had another problem). As bad as pre-detonation is on any engine, it’s really bad on forced-induction engines, so don’t skimp on gas quality and use a stabilizer if it’s going to sit for awhile. I like the Sea Foam additive.
10. As stated above, watch out for the negative battery ground issue. Not sure you can call it “common” but it happens enough that every GT owner should know about it. If you know the battery is fine and you get zero power when you turn the key on, this is very likely your issue.
11. If you can still find them, get the Ford Performance short shifter, trans cooler and exhaust system. All of them make the car better. No downside to any of them.
12. Be prepared for gauge failure. Unless your small gauges have all been upgraded to newer Auto Meter gauges, it’s going to happen at some point. And even with the upgraded small gauges the larger (tach and speedo) gauges haven’t been re-designed by Auto Meter, so they’ll likely fail at some point. BTW, in the spirit of “DRIVE YOUR GT“ I’ll note that, from my personal experience to everything I’ve seen, I genuinely believe corrosion causes the gauges to fail, and the corrosion happens from sitting too much. None of my gauges failed for the first 7 years of ownership. Then, for various reasons not of my design, my GT went into semi-hibernation around 2012. At one point it had sat for months before I went to start it, and that’s when the oil pressure gauge was dead. I’ve lost the tach and vacuum gauge since then, and I’m convinced it was the sitting around that caused them to fail. Most of these cars sit too much so I think everyone just assumes it’s a universal problem, but my experience of driving the car regularly for 7 years, and then not driving it much for a couple years, suggests otherwise...
These cars really should be driven and enjoyed. Not many exotic cars look as good as the 2005-2006 Ford GT. Combine that with their rock-solid dependability/durability and they are easily the best real-world exotic ever made.
L'esthétique pour passion et aucun goût pour la vitesse.