Page 1: Intro
The ultimate Ford has found a home with Jay Leno, the ultimate car-collector. That’s not easy to do, for Leno is a master when it comes to choosing automotive masterpieces. If it goes fast and is hard to come by, Leno’s probably got one – and now he’s got a masterpiece with an historic American pedigree: a bright red 2005 Ford GT.
The wide white racing stripe and hand-built V8 engine is not the only thing that’s special about this car. In the mid-1960s, the original Ford GT40 was created to battle for supremacy on the Le Mans race circuit. In 1966, it placed 1-2-3 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and won the grueling endurance race the next three consecutive years.
"The Ford GT has the cleanest, sexiest, most attractive lines of any GT-type race car," Leno wrote in Popular Mechanics’ July 2004 issue. "A lot of these new cars—even supercars like the Ferrari Enzo—don’t emotionally move you the way a Ford GT’s shape does." Leno’s first ride in a Ford GT was in a prototype with racing legend Jackie Stewart at the wheel last year at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca in Monterey, before he took a few laps of his own. "It was a hoot to drive, it’s very fast," Leno said.
Page 2: Speed
Today, the 2005 Ford GT is a modern interpretation of that legendary racing car, with styling faithful to the original but thoroughly modern underpinnings and a habitable interior. Like the 1966 racer, the 2005 Ford GT is a low-slung, two-seat, mid-engine V8 supercar designed to beat the best from Ferrari and Lamborghini. Unlike the original, the new GT serves as Ford’s halo car, its engineering and performance tour de force.
Mounted behind the passenger compartment and beneath a glass panel in the clamshell engine cover, the 2005 Ford GT’s 5.4-liter supercharged aluminum V8 engine generates 500 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 500 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm. A six-speed Ricardo manual transaxle shunts the power to meaty P315/40ZR19 Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar rear tires mounted to one-piece BBS alloy wheels, which drive the Ford GT to a top speed beyond 180 mph. A helical limited slip differential helps to keep the rubber from disintegrating into a fine haze during acceleration, necessary considering the fact that the Ford GT can get from zero to 60 mph in less than four seconds, grabs 100 mph in about nine seconds and blasts through the quarter-mile in about 12 seconds.
Page 3: About GT
Sparco ventilated seats are constructed with carbon fiber shells and are covered in leather upholstery. Modern comfort and convenience items include power windows, power door locks, power exterior mirrors, keyless entry, air conditioning, and a CD player. To remind the Ford GT’s driver that this is a serious performance machine, the engine is actually visible in the rearview mirror. High-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps illuminate the road after dark.
Within days of taking delivery, Jay had amassed several hundred miles on this new Ford GT’s odometer, and was thoroughly enjoying the latest addition to his collection. Previously, Jay had called his McLaren F1 the car he would most likely take on a cross-country road trip – looks like he may have found a new favorite.
Page 4: Notes
Of his collection, our favorite is his Buick Roadmaster, which looks stock on the outside but contains a 620-horsepower GM crate motor, Corvette suspension, and other modern tweaks.Leno bought the first 2005 Ford GT sports car sold in the state of California, and it was delivered to the NBC Studios on Monday, August 16, 2004. Jay’s red-and-white GT is the second car delivered to a private buyer: the first was auctioned at a fund-raiser to retired Microsoft executive Jon Shirley.