Not a factory backed effort, but this team wants to take a Ford GT to LeMans and is offering sponsorships.
I see some problems:
- no Factory
- no money from Ford, indeed barely any Ford left
- no engine. The 5.4 is not a racing engine and the GT has a terrible history on race tracks of heat soak and severe over-heating (SVT’s own car being withdrawn from track events despite being rebuilt twice). Of course you’ll note that Rousch is on-board… ye olde pushrod engine will probably be used in the end. Of course, what statement does that say about Ford?
- no drivers – yet? Just as important as a reliable car are top-notch drivers.
This will be interesting to watch as it develops… This may end up being an experience like Saleen’s in his first year at LeMans. Heroic, yes, but also an example of lack of funds and thorough preparation.
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The new owner of a Ford GT with only 9 miles on it slammed it into a pole at his country club when he decided to “punch it” and see what happened.
He survived… too bad he is still in the gene pool!
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I got a tip-off from a Ford insider several days ago that the GT, Adrenaline, and SVT itself are dead and buried.
The Detroit News confirmed it last week: http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060203/AUTO01/602030367/1148
These are all subjects I’ve commented on before in my blogs. I’m no fan of what SVE/SVT has become – like so many other things in this company it’s potential was unrealized, after just starting to hint at greatness. Now it’s all but dead, along with it’s unrealized product plans.
Lets get the record straight on this “cancelled” report: the GT was a short-term model anyway. Unlike what is being reported, it wasn’t cancelled – it was due to end anyway. Anybody following the story of the Wixom assembly plant should have known that. Same thing for the alledged LS “scoop” – it’s been very clear for at least two years that the LS was also going out of production..
Let’s keep in mind that it was a total failure – if you look beyond the hype value. The quality issues (the “diaper” and the control arm issues leading to repair costs that probably wiped out profit on the program), were absurd – especially for a car said to be “the pace car for the entire company”. That statement is a bit more true than Ford management would care to admit. And these things also overheat at open track events – just like all other performance Fords. Rediculous… and showing once again the failed potential of SVE/SVT.
You can read my earlier blog “The Shame of the Ford GT” here: http://www.DrivingEnthusiast.net/sec-blog/categories/ford/2005/03/ - highlighting the issues of the GT and of SVE/SVT as a whole. That blog went over like a lead ballon with some folks, leading to a large number of nastygrams from various Ford fanatics who never could have gotten near one, much less afforded one. And a couple of Ford engineers and marketeers who didn’t know what was happening on the other side of the wall. To that I say, too bad – if you stubbornly refuse to see what’s wrong you will continue doing it. And then Car & Driver copied my arguements a few months later in an editorial that made the exact same points.
As for the Adrenaline: who cares! The sorry thing had zero sporting potential, and it wasn’t something that anybody could enjoy driving in anything other than a straight line. It was not a performance vehicle in any meaning of the word. And the supercharged 4.6 engine has had a replacement history that was amoungst the worst ever from Ford. Contrast that engine to a low-tech LS2 (as much as I hate pushrods) as offered in GM’s competitive offerings to the Adrenaline and you’ll see a far lower cost of assembly – and far more profits.
(and anybody who thought it would look exactly like the concept should look at some swamp land I have in Arizona)
And as for SVT, that died a long time ago (just after the durability of their products proved to be little more than a flash in the pan). It was nothing more than a hollow shell anyway, without budget or product plans. Many people have already been moved out, especially given the debacles (take a look at what happened to the surviving GT team – one of the suspension guys has been demoted to designing the solid rear axle for the Ranger replacement – a punishment and professional fate worse than hell) and warrenty costs. And these types of issues where not exclusive to the GT – every single SVT product delivered had problems… getting more and more serious the more and more complicated those products became (and the further away from the base cars they moved). When my own Redfire Cobra was in the shop getting a heart transplant, THREE other Redfire Cobras were in the shop for the same transplant (and Redfire is not a common color). This is not how you make money – and this sure isn’t any indication that the company can build products that remain great beyond the first magazine road tests.
But worst of all is the current leadership of Ford. This is no longer the company under Don Peterson who setup sponsorships of the Glen and Bondurant, who spent money on the Mustang because he understood the need for continuous improvement, and who started the program leading to the creation of the modular engine family (specifically stating that a modern overhead cam engine would be a greater pleasure to drive across it’s powerband).
This isn’t even the comany of Jacques Nasser, who despite controversy (depending on your position – I agreed on the employee rating thing because it’s the standard in the rest of the corporate world!), at least had serious product plans for divisions like Lincoln, who brought Aston and more into the company, and who almost got BMW into the company. And who uttered the famous line “isn’t it about time we put an IRS on the Mustang?” (and then he did!).
Nope, this is a company in bad trouble, with poor overall leadership (some individuals stand out, but collectively it is a failure) and worst yet the complete and utter failure in Bill Ford sitting in the top office. Why anybody should run a major corporation with credentials based solely on privilege is beyond me. And he is the person who forced both Peterson and Nasser out.
A reminder to fans of the company (as I have been and hope to be again someday): you need to drive a lot of different cars from a lot of different manufacturers. See what *can* be done, rather than just accepting the defacto low common denominator. It’s a big world out there for enthusiasts, we are truly in a golden age for all-around performance cars and engineering, and there is a lot more out there for enthusiasts than the dregs of Ford are able to provide.
We’ve previously seen several major and serious engineering issues with the Ford GT. Now Jeremy Clarkson reports that Ford got the little details wrong as well. His own Ford GT – purchased personally and at enormous expense – is so bad he has been forced to return it.
Jeremy Clarkson is not your usual automotive journalist (the understatement of the century!). He reports it as it is, not as the PR folks would have you believe. Kudos to Jeremy!
This is a car he really wanted to love. Instead, it was an all-too typical Ford and failed on multiple fronts.
It’s another example of the “Shame of the Ford GT”: http://www.DrivingEnthusiast.net/sec-blog/2005/03/31.html
At Ford, a Supercar Delivers a Super Headache
The trials and tribulations of developing the Ford GT
BY WALLACE A. WYSS
ILLUSTRATION BY STEVE AUSTIN
The Ford GT was expected to be the cat’s pajamas of American cars, an exotic to rival the Ferrari Modena 360. This sensational project to produce a street version of Ford’s most famous race car, the Le Mans-winning GT40 from the ’60s, began five years ago with Ford’s hailing it as “a technological wonder wrapped in the Ford GT40 concept car.” It indeed met all its performance expectations, but it also wound up a $150,000 Ford with egg on its face.
The first running preproduction models were shown at Ford’s centennial celebration in Dearborn in 2003. They were touted as ’03 models, but that was a fiction created by Ford insiders for the benefit of management and the press. By making the GT the centerpiece of the celebration, these insiders were able to raid funds earmarked for the centennial that would instead go toward developing the exotic car.
The real production models are ’05s, and when the GT officially went on sale in the summer of ’04, the collector/investor crowd swarmed. Listed at $143,345, that number swelled to $157,000-plus with all the options. Dealers then marked them up as high as $220,000, some bypassing the showroom and offering them to the world on eBay, where they could pit one potential buyer against another. The feeding frenzy was fueled by the knowledge that Ford could make just nine GTs a day, or 1500 a year, which meant there weren’t enough to give even one each to every Ford dealer in the country. This feeding frenzy happened before a little dark cloud on the horizon mushroomed into a thunderstorm.
At issue were flaws. Although 15 crude mules were built and tested on racetracks across America, using a different chassis, different engine, different gearbox, and different body, and further tests were run on preproduction “’03 models,” apparently all these tests failed to sniff out problems cropping up on production models. The shocker now being reported is cracks found in a suspension control arm. The warning letters sent out by Ford were chilling, reportedly telling owners not to drive the car under any circumstances. Almost 400 cars were recalled for replacement arms. New arms cut by Roush from billet stock were a quick fix until new forged aluminum ones could be engineered.
There were other problems: a defective electrical component that caused the battery to drain, a climate-control bug, power-steering and engine-coolant leaks, a steering-column rattle.
But the A-arm glitch was humiliating. Supplied by Citation Corporation in Alabama, the originals used a novel Japanese casting method nicknamed “squish casting” to achieve higher density in the aluminum. Although the same material and method of manufacture are already in use on some foreign cars, including Alfas and Porsches, the arms, as supplied, were inadequate on the Ford GT.
At the point the first cracked A-arm was discovered last December, only 448 GTs had been produced, according to Automotive News. Of those, 289 had been shipped to dealers and just 106 had reached owners’ hands. Ford had the cars trucked back to the factory for the fixes.
So Ford had taken a chance on a new-for-Detroit method of manufacturing the A-arms, and now it is paying the price
DETROIT, MI. – May 12, 2005: Rockstars Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony “can’t drive 55″ after receiving the keys to their new Ford GT supercars prior to their concert at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.
Continue at source: Autodeadline.com: Showcase Photos
You have probably been seeing some information on some of the Ford GT issues… but you probably aren’t aware of how many there are or how serious they have become. Some of them have wound up in the press over the past few months. There are currently as many as 8 fixes being performed under service by Ford dealers on every Ford GT built before February… the production line was shut down for several weeks while some more-recently major fixes were designed and incorporated into production. IMHO, all of them are fundamentally due to poor engineering and rushed or partial testing on SVE’s part.
Some are minor, such as a seat belt that chaffs (but is still required to be fixed because of legal ramifications). Some are irritants such as a module that drains the battery (same issue our ’03 Cobra had, and the same part). Apparently the design engineers for these two simple parts are all new to their job…? And then there are the major issues. Showstoppers. Dangerous?
1) Ford issued an extremely rare “do not drive” order to all current owners of the Ford GT (they were told not to drive their cars, and that the cars would be picked up by transporters because they could not be driven to the dealership) because the control arms could break. This actually happened on a test car - although not until well after production and delivery had been in progress. Ford is replacing all 8 control arms with newly designed forged arms manufactured by Roush, rather than the original arms which utilized a casting process that is commonplace elsewhere but new to Ford and it’s (former) supplier Citation Corp. The control arms are shipped in a foot-locker sized box, all nicely wrapped, directly from Ford. The dealer charges back Ford $5000 for the cost of the these particular parts.
As reported by AutoWeek, there is yet another glitch in the Ford GT. This time it’s a leak from the rear crankshaft seal. This thing is starting to act more and more like a Chevy.
Can SVE engineer anything right? And why isn’t thing stuff being caught in pre-production testing? Why do all SVTs have such problems after being released? Problems like this should be caught during testing, not during use by their owners.