Today must be as good as it gets for Ford employees. The announcement of a new Ford GT wasn't a total surprise, but it was enough of one to send the Detroit motor show into a frenzy and the internet into orbit.

There's still time for an interloper, given we're only halfway through the first day, but I'll be amazed if Ford hasn't won the publicity war at its home show.

The GT40 really is a king hit, and the execution hints just enough at the past while still looking desirably modern.

What impresses most is that the return of the Ford GT was apparently only decided a year or so ago.

Given its execution, that's an incredibly short space of time, although you'd wager a few Ford designers have dreamily doodled it on the back of their notepads over the years. Still, such agility from such an enormous industrial giant is great to behold. It put me in mind of the old saying about success being about 99 per cent perspiration and one per cent inspiration.

Later in the afternoon, Ford chief executive Mark Fields held a question and answer session with a group of students. It was fascinating to watch the energy and interest he put in to listening and answering their questions.

Globalisation, innovation, autonomy, mobility, urbanisation, connectivity, Apple, Palo Alto... The list of question topics went on, but rarely focused on the cars themselves. That alone was telling.

But then Fields admitted he and his senior managers regularly spend days in Silicon Valley trying to learn as much about new technology as they can, because he feels that unless he understands it personally he won't be in a position to dictate company policy for the future.

"I'm investing today on things that won't influence our course for another 15 years," said Fields. "But what's clear is that we don't invest in the future then we won't be able to respond when the time comes."

Moments like the Ford GT launch today might surprise us, but they don't just happen. Even reinventing the past requires heavy investment in the future - and it's great when those two things align.

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