Ford’s supercar is reliable, easy to use and a great platform for further tuning. We find out how to buy a good one

The Ford GT, launched in 2005, was the company’s modern reinterpretation of its legendary GT40. It bore many supercar hallmarks, including advanced construction techniques and materials, high-end braking and suspension components and a mid-mounted supercharged 5.4-litre V8.

Much to the delight of enthusiasts, all of the engine’s 550bhp and 500lb ft was sent to a limited-slip differential at the rear via a six-speed manual gearbox. The 1520kg GT was devastatingly rapid as a result, with an electronically limited top speed of 205mph and a 0-60mph time of just 3.5sec.

“People just love to see them,” says David Jones, owner and director of Ford GT specialist GT101 Limited (gt101.co.uk, 01206 562800). “Every journey is an event. I remember pulling up in a service station and this bloke was just stood there. He wouldn’t leave until I left; he just wanted to hear it run.”

All-new Ford GT revealed in Detroit

With only 28 cars officially imported, and a total of some 120 thought to be in the UK now, buying a GT grants you access to an exclusive — albeit expensive — club. You’ll pay around £180,000 for a low-mileage GT in excellent condition, or around £225,000 if it’s a Heritage Edition car in Gulf colours.

“The cars are robust,” says Jones. “The engine is over-engineered. It will run up to 800bhp on standard internals and uses a timing chain, so there are no dilemmas with belts.”

There are, however, a few key things to look for. “The half-shaft bolts are probably the most well known issue,” says Jones. “They fail, the coupling out of the gearbox detaches from the half-shaft and you can’t pull away — usually in the middle of a busy high street, with everyone looking at you.” Ford updated the bolts and a specialist can easily identify if they’ve been replaced, but at worst it’ll cost you £1500 to put right.

There was also an early recall for suspension control arms, following the discovery of a potential fatigue point. An interim fix was to replace the parts with machined billet control arms, which were then superseded by forged arms in 2006. “It’s a good tell-tale for crash damage,” adds Jones. “If you look at one corner and it’s got forged arms, and the others are billet, for example, then it generally means it’s had an accident.”

Browse the PistonHeads classifieds for Ford GTs

Otherwise, the GT is a relatively cost-effective supercar. Services are required every year or 5000 miles and will cost between £1200 and £1500. Similarly, braking consumables are comparatively cheap. Pads cost £400 all round, for example, and it’s £200 a corner for discs. Front tyres, which should last around 15,000 miles, are £180 each. Unsurprisingly, the rear tyres last a fraction of that — around 5000 miles — and cost £360 each.

The twin-plate AP Racing clutch, if treated with some consideration, should last around 25,000 miles. Replacing it will cost £4000, including labour and parts. That may sound expensive, but it’s around half the cost of the same job on a Lamborghini Gallardo.

Fortunately, the transmission itself is tough, even with tuned engines at higher power outputs. “The engines are supposed to output 550bhp,” says Jones, “but they always make between 570 and 575bhp on the dyno.” One of the most popular upgrades is a smaller supercharger pulley and an ECU remap, which boosts peak power to a still reliable 630bhp for £1700.

Interiors for the most part prove equally durable; even cars nearing 60,000 miles rarely show signs of wear. Practicality isn’t a strong point, though; the doors can be restrictive and there’s only space for an overnight bag, but on a cruise the GT will average around 20mpg, granting it a range of 200 to 250 miles on a full tank.

“From a driving point of view, they’re a big pussycat,” says Jones. “They look big and you’re sitting on the wrong side, but once you’ve got past that, they actually feel quite small. They’re no harder to drive than any other Ford.”

Ford GT problems:

CENTRAL TUNNEL The GT’s is made from a magnesium alloy, which is then painted. It can corrode, though, and this can break through the paint. The only fix is to strip it back and have it repainted.

MCINTOSH AUDIO The optional McIntosh stereo uses a subwoofer that intrudes into the cabin and removes a useful stowage bin. A kit is available that relocates the sub and reinstates the storage space.

FAILED GAUGES The instruments can pack up, seemingly without reason. Replacements are available but cost upwards of £750, and they might just fail again. New direct-fit gauges, supposedly fault-free, should be made available soon.

FLOOR MATS If the adhesive that bonds the rubber degrades, the foam filling will ooze out. Quality aftermarket mats are available.

REAR BUMPER DELETE A host of aesthetic mods includes rear bumper removal (it’s only there to meet impact regs). It’s a straightforward mod, and reversible.

Read more used buying guides

Browse the PistonHeads classifieds for Ford GTs

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