Used 2006 Ford GT
- World-class performance, striking looks, as easy to drive as a Mustang, low price considering its exotic nature, limited-production run.
- Awkward entry/exit procedure, some interior materials don't live up to MSRP, minimal storage space, seats could provide more lateral support.
Edmunds' Expert Review
As a 21st-century update to an American racing legend, the 2006 Ford GT succeeds because of its timeless design, world-class performance and relatively low price.
Ford has been toying with the prospect of recreating the GT40 legend almost since the original model went out of production in the late 1960s. The idea had several false starts throughout the 1990s, including the overly angular GT90 concept car. But just as with the original GT40, the current Ford GT comes from a desire to beat the world's best sports carmaker, Ferrari, at its own game.
During the 1960s, the game was winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and Henry Ford II wanted to prove that Ford could take on Ferrari at Le Mans and win. He succeeded in 1966 when the GT40 swept the podium, putting an end to Ferrari's domination of the world's most respected race circuit. The GT40 went on to win Le Mans in 1967, 1968 and 1969, forever establishing the car's -- and Ford's -- place in the annals of racing history. Fast-forward 40 years and we again see Ford attempting to trump Ferrari's dominance, only this time the focus is on street performance, specifically the performance benchmark set by the F430.
Like the F430, the Ford GT is a two-seat sports car that features a super-rigid aluminum chassis, a midengine V8 and an advanced, fully independent suspension system. Wrapped around these high-tech components is a classic shell that looks as if it just drove out of the winner's circle at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. In fact, one of the biggest challenges the Ford GT team faced was to develop and combine all of the latest technology in chassis, suspension and engine design while retaining the car's classic body lines. The team succeeded, but only because the current model is much larger overall than the original version. That's not a bad thing, as the original's cabin was cramped and awkward while the new model offers plenty of legroom and hiproom. Headroom is adequate for those up to 6 feet 2 inches tall, but taller folks, particularly those who are long in the torso, will find their noggins uncomfortably close to the GT's roof when seated. Technically, the area immediately above the driver's and passenger's head isn't the roof, but an extension of each door that wraps well into the roof panel -- just as it did in the original version. This makes getting in and out of the Ford car a tricky process.
Overall, however, the GT's 550 horsepower and incredibly stable driving dynamics make it one of the most capable cars ever produced. Factor in the car's price, which undercuts similar Italian machinery by tens of thousands of dollars, and you've got a reborn 2006 Ford GT that would make Henry Ford II very proud indeed.
Trim levels & features
The Ford GT is a midengine, two-seat sports car available in a single trim. The chassis is constructed of aluminum and rides on a double-wishbone suspension, front and rear. The exterior body panels are constructed of super-plastic-formed aluminum, and the vehicle rolls on 18-inch front and 19-inch rear wheels. Standard equipment includes HID headlights, air conditioning, keyless entry, power windows and an AM/FM/CD audio system. Options are limited, but include an upgraded McIntosh audio system with a four-channel amplifier and single-slot CD player. Other options, such as BBS forged aluminum wheels, red- or gray-painted brake calipers, and a full-length racing stripe (or side stripe delete option) allow buyers a bit of personalization when ordering their GT.
Performance & mpg
A hand-built, all-aluminum 5.4-liter V8 powers the Ford GT. It makes a total of 550 hp at 6,500 rpm with the help of a Lysholm supercharger and intercooler. Peak torque is 500 pound-feet at 3,750 rpm. The engine is hooked to a six-speed Ricardo manual transmission that directs power to the rear wheels. No automatic or sequential manual transmission is offered. The GT's combination of horsepower, torque and 315/40 series rear tires allows the Ford car to slingshot to 60 mph in around 3.5 seconds and shred the quarter-mile in about 12 seconds flat.
Antilock brakes are standard, but stability control, side airbags and traction control are unavailable on the Ford GT. The passenger seat includes both a child seat tether and ISOFIX mounting hardware.
While rear visibility and the entry/exit process are typical of an exotic car, the GT's on-road behavior is closer to a typical sport coupe in terms of drivability and ease of use. The clutch pedal and shifter operate smoothly, the steering provides excellent feedback without unnecessary heaviness, and the engine remains docile when idling through slow-moving traffic. Conversely, when driven like a racecar, either at a track or on open roads, the 2006 Ford GT provides the kind of stability and confidence that makes other exotics feel nervous and unsure. Everything happens in a smooth, progressive manner, giving the GT an advantage over its direct competitors and making it competitive with cars costing two or three times as much.
The interior is a combination of retro design and advanced materials. The wide gauge cluster, metal shift knob and large toggle switches pay homage to the car's 40-year history, but the magnesium center console with illuminated climate controls offers a futuristic twist. The carbon-fiber seats, center-mounted tachometer and supercharged engine, as seen through the cabin's rear glass, are clear indicators of the Ford GT's primary purpose. A large, red button is used to fire the 550-hp V8.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
It looks like any everyday Ford GT, but John Hennessey says there's 1,000 horsepower under its rear deck. This is Hennessey Performance Engineering's twin-turbocharged GT1000 and it has just roared to life as if the gates to hell have blown open.
Time for some hyperbole. Blipping the throttle has it pivoting over its keel like it's been hit by a tsunami. The sound is so intense, the shockwaves could be used for CPR. This car has the power to move continents and disrupt the very rotation of the earth.
Then we drive it. And when the turbos hit it's as if the car has been grabbed by the gravitational pull of a black hole. Time, space and your facial features seem to warp into a frappe of subatomic particles.
Four full digits' worth of power -- it's the sort of thing that gives insanity a good name.
Belts? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Belts!
Ford built the GT with a belt-driven, Eaton-made, Lysholm-type screw compressor heaving 12.5 pounds of boost into the all-aluminum DOHC 32-valve 5.4-liter V8. That was enough to produce 550 horsepower.
Not bad. But more is more. And more is better.
Hennessey replaces that supercharger with two massive Garrett ball-bearing turbochargers that swamp the engine with up to 19 pounds of boost through an air-to-water intercooler and Tial wastegates.
All that compressed charge enters the engine through the monstrous maw of an Accufab CNC-machined billet throttle body that feeds a custom-fabricated intake manifold. Hennessey didn't have to touch the engine's internals or even remove the heads, but the fuel system has been upgraded to supply gushers of gas, the engine management software is full of fresh algorithms and an upgraded mass air sensor has been installed. And of course, the exhaust goes out through custom stainless-steel pipes.
Hennessey retains the GT's stock Ricardo six-speed manual transaxle, but upgrades the bolts in the CV joints to handle the thrust.
Running at 17 pounds of boost, Hennessey says the twin-turbo GT will rip the rollers of its chassis dyno to the tune of 870 hp at the rear wheels. Use any reasonable rule of thumb to account for drivetrain losses and this puts the car at almost exactly 1,000 hp, Hennessey claims. And if that's not enough, the wick can be turned up to 19 pounds and that number leaps to 920 hp at the rear wheels -- which has to be near 1,100 hp.
"Just run the tests with it on the low setting," John Hennessey wrote to us. "The high setting will likely have too much wheelspin."
Geez, you think?
And all Hennessey charges for the twin-turbo conversion is a mere $45,000. But that includes a one-year warranty -- should you live that long.
The Rush for the Horizon
Turbos, particularly huge turbos like the ones on this car, need to spool up to produce boost. In the GT1000, that's not until the tach needle has swept past 5,000 rpm. And the Hennessey GT bogs down on hard launches if the dance between the clutch and accelerator isn't perfectly choreographed. But get the dance just right, and the Hennessey GT will rip to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and devour the quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds at 137 mph.
Of course there's wheelspin in every gear, and if the car were tuned specifically for launches that 0-60 time would drop below 3 seconds and the quarter-mile would blow by in the mid-10s. Just look at that quarter-mile trap speed. That's 137 mph, a full 17 mph faster than what the epic R35 Nissan GT-R turned in for us during our full test. And it's 18.5 mph faster than the Porsche 911 Turbo.
And it's a lot faster than the standard Ford GT we tested in our 2006 American Exotics Comparison test. That car rocked to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and consumed the quarter-mile in 11.8 seconds at 125.9 mph.
With its relatively narrow power band (Hennessey asked that we shift between 6,500 and 7,000 rpm during our tests -- remember, the big power comes on at 5,000 rpm), the Hennessey GT is a much more narrowly focused car than the standard Ford GT. After all, Ford built the GT to be usable every day, even by those who never get to a racetrack. On the other hand, the Hennessey GT is built for events like the Texas Mile, where its raging acceleration from 100 mph to 200 mph can be used.
What's the top end on this car? We simply didn't have the space to find out. But Hennessey claims "north of 240" mph. About the only way to make a Ford GT go any faster is to ship it in the belly of a 747.
Fortified by Ford
Considering the comprehensive competence of the Ford GT, Hennessey didn't have to do much to upgrade the rest of the car to match the engine's output. The stock shocks and springs have been replaced with a Penske coil-over system (that's a $6,500 upgrade), and Hoosier R6 racing tires (255/40ZR18s up front and 315/40AR19s in back) have replaced the rubber.
Before you go ordering up a set of Hoosier R6s for your commuter Camry, keep in mind that these are hard-core racing tires -- essentially slicks -- that are incompatible with any sort of moisture on the road. On the Tire Rack site, there's an admonition warning that reads, "It is unsafe to operate any Hoosier Racing Tire including DOT tires on public roads. The prohibited use of Hoosier Racing Tires on public roadways may result in loss of traction, unexpected loss of vehicle control or sudden loss of tire pressure, resulting in a vehicle crash and possibly injury or death." Then again, if you have a 1,000-hp car, you should already be comfortable with the idea of your own mortality.
The one aesthetic modification to the Hennessey GT is the excision of the rear bumper and the installation of new panels to cover the holes. It does nothing but good for the GT's looks.
The Ford GT is one of the most civilized supercars ever built. Around town it will trawl like a Taurus if it's asked to and the ride is stiff, but not so brutal as to shatter your coccyx. If it weren't for the GT's criminal lack of storage space, it would make a perfectly tolerable commuter.
And kept below 4,000 rpm, the Hennessey GT is really not much different. It putters along at part throttle like a plumber's well-worn F-150 -- just another corpuscle in America's traffic bloodstream. You can merge onto the freeway shifting at about 3,000 rpm, and the feeling of urgency isn't much different from, say, a Mustang GT. But terror lurks at 5,000 rpm when those turbos hit and then there isn't a freeway long enough or broad enough to contain it. And it sucks down fuel ferociously -- you can almost hear the pumps in Saudi Arabia working harder to feed it.
The Hoosier tires are best left on a racetrack where they can be kept boiling at temperatures where they're effective. Zigzagging furiously on the return to the start to keep heat in the tires resulted in one 70.2-mph run through the slalom, but otherwise, compared to the stock GT the Hennessey car is much more unsettled during less-than-extreme running. There was more understeer and the stiff sidewalls transmitted more road racket into the GT's structure.
Braking was an expectedly excellent 103 feet from 60 mph to a dead stop. Fade? None.
The Big Dig
Add everything up and the Hennessey GT is just about a quarter-million-dollar automobile -- almost exactly the median price for a house in the United States.
But for the person who's addicted to speed, this is one of the world's greatest thrill rides. It doesn't build speed with antiseptic competence like a Bugatti Veyron, and it has a merciless personality that speaks to some drivers' souls in a way a Nissan GT-R or Porsche Turbo can't.
If you're the right person for this car -- and since Hennessey is currently building his sixth GT, there are at least a half dozen of you out there -- there's simply no substitute. There's really only one thing for you to do: Sell your house.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2006 Ford GT Overview
The Used 2006 Ford GT is offered in the following submodels: GT Coupe. Available styles include 2dr Coupe (5.4L 8cyl S/C 6M).
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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Ford GT?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.