Ford Authority

The Ford GT Went From Concept To Production Car In Just 15 Months

The story behind the first-generation Ford GT supercar is easily as interesting as the Ford GT40 that served as its inspiration. In fact, the original goal behind the project was to simply build a concept, thus Ford designers began cranking out sketches back in 1999 while holed up in a secret location under the confidential code name “Petunia.” After many long nights, the original Ford GT concept was revealed to the public at the 2002 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Camilo Pardo, the chief designer of the 2005 Ford GT program, recalled the story of what happened next in a recent interview with Hot Rod. The concept “communicated and connected with everybody. It was emotional, they really loved the car,” he said. Regardless, the concept sat in the design studio for a while, with no plans in place to make it a production car.

That is, until the automaker’s chairman, Bill Ford, got the itch to build something special for Ford’s centennial celebration in 2003. He pointed to the Ford GT concept and asked Pardo and his design team, “can you build this?” And just like that, a concept had been green lighted for production. Problem was, the team didn’t have much time to make it happen.

“Now we’ve got to do aerodynamics, engineering, everything, all in 15 months. We had to make a car that you can give the keys to anyone – the media, journalists, Dan Gurney, Jackie Stewart, anyone, including Jay Leno,” Pardo said.

The team started the engineering process by placing the Ford GT concept in a wind tunnel, where they quickly discovered that it was aerodynamically unstable. “I can remember talking to Dan Gurney. He was like that thing felt like it floated down the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans,” Pardo said.

Thus, the development team used computational fluid dynamics programs to design the car’s aerodynamic aids to smooth things out. It was a difficult process filled with roadblocks, but that’s a story for another time.

We’ll have more on the fascinating story behind the first-gen Ford GT and its chief designer soon, so be sure to subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford GT news and around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Materialman

    That Ford GT looks so much better then the latest version.

    1. Ford Fan

      I am afraid i have to disagree with you on that.

  2. robert baker

    We need a CAR for every one not just for the rich. and now!

  3. Raymond Ramirez

    Using “computational fluid dynamics” to make an aerodynamic design is a far cry from the wind tunnels and smoke streams of the past. It is now possible to design a new vehicle 100% by computer, and run all types of virtual tests before building a single new part. If 3D printing was capable, we can make cars entirely by computers so a customer can add custom features when ordering, and have their product in less than a week.


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