Ford meant business with the GT90 concept car. In fact, the company had poured a cool $3 million into its development. Things got serious because the GT90 was said to be Ford’s answer to ground breaking design and engineering coupled with the latest technology and driver features.
The results produced by the GT90 would have a ripple effect, impacting the future of Ford production vehicles. The concept car was designed and built by an elite team of SVT Ford colleagues and took only 6 months from idea to development.
For the task to be completed so quickly, the team built on current established influences such as the Jaguar XJ220 which was already streets ahead of its competitors. GT90 first made its striking appearance at the Detroit Auto Show in January 1995. Visitors to the well-known show were not disappointed. It stood boldly as a bright white and blue vision of glory.
This quad-turbocharged V12 mid-engine produces 720 horsepower with 660 pound feet of torque. Ford is claiming that it can achieve speeds of 253 mph. If this is true, it makes the vehicle one of the fastest cars in the world, beating even a McLaren F1, known to be one of the fastest supercars in the world.
Using the Ford Modular engine as a basis, the GT90 combines a 48 valve 6 litre V12 engine together with four Garrett Systems T2 turbochargers, giving it a 720 horsepower capacity. The engineering team devised an ingenious concept to merge Lincoln V8 engines together. The last two rear cylinders were removed from one engine and the first two front cylinders were removed from the other. The two engines were then welded together to create a V12, 90-degree engine which achieved maximum power by using a 90.2 mm bore and a 77.3 mm stroke.
It is equipped with the XJ220 FFD-Ricardo five speed manual gearbox. Shifting is comparatively light, considering that it is meant to handle a major torque load. The double wishbone suspension ensures the vehicle is able to perform with precision even at fast speeds.
Following Ford’s new ‘Edge’ idea, the GT90 is a combination of levelled surfaces, dramatic angles and triangular shapes mixed together with highly advanced technology. The GT90 was the first ‘Edge’ design, which paved the way for the Ka and Cougar designs.
The GT90 is clearly influenced by its GT40 predecessor, beautifully combining traditional and modern styles. Just like racing car vehicles, the GT90 is sculpted from carbon fibre, both its interior and exterior. The chassis has a honey comb designed aluminium monocoque, ensuring the GT90 is agile and light weight. The driver is dramatically cocooned in a unique, laminated, tinted glass bubble and an aerodynamic spoiler is triggered into action when the vehicle reaches high speeds.
Ford's intention behind the concept car was to produce a vehicle that effectively utilised space, speed and technology; which it does magnificently. Emphasising its futuristic appeal, the V12 exhaust outlets are protected with tiles similar to those found on the space shuttle. These protect the exhaust outlets of the V12. To access the vehicle, a small yellow panel on the B-pillar is touched for the door to smoothly swing open. You will be surprised at how accessible the vehicle is especially when you consider this is a supercar.
When seated inside, you cannot help but feel you are about to fly a jet with the concave cockpit, low and narrow door sill, and the glass that runs from the roof to the floor. The interior is decked in brilliant blue suede leather. Understated is not a term to be applied to this vehicle. The console is made of carbon fibre with catching blue laminated gauges. Brushed and polished aluminium coats the shift gate, linkage controls on the centre console, and the key to the vehicle itself.
The impression created is one of a futuristic high class sports vehicle. Ford’s engineers had fun with the show circuit GT90 model. Options include tires specifically commissioned for the GT90, with the model name carved into the tire tread. Interestingly, its doors and lights can be accessed remotely using the control.
After its success at Detroit, the GT90 then went on to star in the Auto Show Circuit 1995 and from there it went global, visiting venues such as Tokyo and Frankfurt. With only a few sightings, demand to see the GT90 was growing and so it travelled to the Ford of Europe exhibit at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2008. The vehicle finally found its home state side, in Alabama where it became part of the Mustang 45 Anniversary Celebration display.