Ford will build more $500K GT supercars

Henry Payne
The Detroit News
Ford will increase production of its mid-engine, carbon-fiber GT supercar from 1,000 to 1,350. This 2017 GT, shown at the company's proving grounds in Dearborn, boasts 647 horsepower with a top speed of 216 mph.

Dearborn – The super-exclusive mid-engine Ford GT supercar just a got a little less exclusive.

To meet global demand, Ford announced Thursday it is increasing total production of the coveted $500,000, 647-horsepower beauty from 1,000 to 1,350 – extending to the 2022 model year from the previously announced 2020.

“The Ford GT is one of the world’s most desirable supercars. We were blown away when we launched it in 2016 and received 6,500 applications – outstripping supply by more than 6-to-1,” said Hermann Salenbauch, head of Ford Performance, at Ford’s Dearborn Proving Grounds. “The excitement for this car continues to amaze us, which is why we love doing more.”

Built as a production homologation car so that Ford could return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in 2016 – 50 years after it first won the event with the legendary GT40 race car – anticipation for the scissor-door 2017-2020 GT production rocket soared after the race version won the 2016 French race.

Despite its then-$450,000 base price, demand was fierce. Unlike the first GT supercar which saw limited U.S. production from 2005-2006, the state-of-the-art twin-turbo V-6 2017 car is available in the U.S., Europe and Mideast-Africa, and has brought interest from around the world.

“Because of its heritage as the Ford that beat Ferrari at Le Mans, the GT may be even more recognized internationally,” said Jim Owens, North American Ford Performance manager. The GT is the halo car of the Performance division which includes capable toys like the Mustang GT500, Raptor pickup truck, and Focus RS.

GT orders will open Nov. 8 at for the 350 additional cars; the ordering window stays open for 30 days. The extensive application process requires applicants to prove themselves worthy as owners. Approved buyers have included such notables as NASCAR superstar Kurt Busch, actor John Cena and electronic music producer and DJ  Deadmau5.

The announcement brought mixed reaction from existing owners.

 “I’m disappointed that they are building more than the 1,000 initially promised. It will depreciate the value of the cars,” said Lauren Fix of Buffalo, who bought a 2017 GT with special Heritage livery and titanium exhaust. Only 14 such cars were built of the 138 produced for that model year.

GT owner Karl Brauer, an auto analyst with Kelley Blue Book, was less concerned. “I don’t think the increased numbers will have much of an impact on value. Unlike the 2005 GT, this is a global car with global demand.”

Ford’s Saltenbauch sought to relieve owner concerns that the production extension will hurt existing cars’ investment value. “The car is desirable. Even with a slight production increase, it won’t reduce exclusivity, and we think it will build excitement even more.”

While pricing starts at $500,000, owners say that options quickly put the car's cost at north of $600,000 even before trims like the Heritage model are added on. 

Under contract, GT owners cannot sell their GTs for two years – so few GTs have been resold into the market. Ford sued Cena late last year for contract breach after the actor flipped his GT to another buyer. Cena’s car has since sold to a couple of different owners for $1.32 million and $1.54 million.

While Ford ups production, the race car continues to compete in the international FIA World Endurance Championship (the sanctioning body for Le Mans) and the U.S.-based IMSA Weathertech series where the GT first captured the 2018 manufacturer’s championship.

The carbon-fiber GT, which has a 216 mph top speed and Formula One-style, “keel-wing” chassis, is hand-built by specialty manufacturer Multimatic in Canada. Multimatic makes one GT per day.

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at or Twitter @HenryEPayne. Catch “Car Radio with Henry Payne” from noon-2 p.m. Saturdays on 910 AM Superstation.