If you’re a die-hard Ford fan, it’s likely that you’re already familiar with the Ford GT40 Le Mans-winning racer. You might also be familiar with the 2002 Ford GT40 Concept, which evolved into the production-spec Ford GT built from 2005 thru 2006. And perhaps you are aware of the 2016 Ford GT that took the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit by storm just a few days ago. But what’s the Ford GT90?
First showed at the 1995 NAIAS, Road & Track tested this concept car for its April 1995 issue. Said to have gone from sketches to a running quad-turbo 4.0L DOHC V12 prototype in less than six months, perhaps the most impressive part of the GT90 is how quickly the engine was created: John Coletti, the manager of Ford’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division at the time, electric beam-welded the first 3.5 cylinders and the last 2.5 cylinders of Lincoln V8 blocks. Supporting hardware, like pistons, came from Ford’s parts bin aside of the crank and cam, which were engineered by Roush Technologies. Horsepower was said to be 720 with 660 pound-feet of torque backed by a 5-speed manual (remember those?).
Thanks to Ford’s ownership of Jaguar at the time, Coletti was able to borrow underpinnings from the Jaguar XJ220 but stretched the wheelbase from 104 to 116 inches − roughly the same as that of a Formula 1 car. At the time Coletti said, “How about a $150,000 car that outperforms the F40, EB110, Diablo — supercars costing many times more? Consider all the concept cars at Ford Motor Company… If you want a rallying point, a symbol of excellence, which would you build?”
So even though GT90 may have been the bee’s knees in 1995, we’re glad Ford waited another decade and paid a more proper homage to the GT40 with the 2005-20016 GT.