A limited-production, mid-engine, 550hp Ford GT that pays homage to the automaker’s legendary GT40 race cars of the 1960s. That’s what you get someone like renowned hot rod designer and television personality Chip Foose to celebrate his 50th birthday. Scratch that. That’s what the founder of Foose Design and star of Velocity channel’s Overhaulin’s wife gets him for his birthday.
Ford first introduced what would culminate into the GT in concept form at 1995’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Seven years later another concept was revealed, and then in 2005—for just two years—the automaker began selling what would amount to a mere 4,038 units of one of the most impressive and iconic American sports cars ever made.
In typical Foose form, his own 2006, aluminum-bodied two-seater hardly escaped the sort of treatment he’s become known for. Here, modifications remain minimal and conservative compared to past Foose creations, yet remain strikingly obvious. Like the entirely one-off, aluminum-alloy wheels complete with modestly applied orange accents that the Hot Rod Hall-of-Famer designed himself and had machined solely for the GT. Look closely and cues from the famed GT40 are obvious here, too, like the wheels’ raised spokes and center caps reminiscent of the original race car’s knock-off lugs. Subtleties like the directionally wound safety wire surrounding the center caps aren’t as conspicuous but pay equal homage to the classic racer and alert those observant enough of the sort of details that don’t escape Foose. Orange vinyl complementary to the wheels augments the optional factory-applied striping that transcends from front to rear, terminating at the back where Foose removed the bumper and cut back the frame extensions, resulting in a more streamlined hind end.
The twin-screw-supercharged, 5.4L V8 with its forged bottom end, dry-sump oiling system, and cylinder heads based upon the earlier Mustang SVT Cobra R engine was left untouched and is complemented only by a bespoke MagnaFlow exhaust system made up of a pair of the company’s performance mufflers and mandrel-bent, stainless-steel tubing that transcends from 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter. The lone power adder results in double-digit gains and does its part in accentuating the GT’s already recognizable chorus. Behind the 20-inch, six-spoke rims and next to the factory-appointed Brembo brakes are adjustable coilover shocks from KW Suspension that allow Foose to regulate ride height in accordance with the Pirelli P Zero tires as well as independently control each shock’s compression and rebound capabilities. Rationally speaking, all of this is really all that any car already capable of 3.3-second 0-60mph sprints could ask for with a straight face.
And that’s exactly where the modifications end. You might expect more from the likes of a project revealed at last year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas built at the hands of the same godfather of customization who unleashed the Hemisfear upon that same industry-only trade show eight years prior, but your expectations would go unwarranted. According to Foose, the blueprint for the American supercar he’d long dreamt of owning was simple: to remove the ugly and add just a few accents while keeping it simple and clean. No more than a month was dedicated to doing all of this, either, the results of which Foose’s design cues are obvious and executed without so much as disturbing the platform’s decades-long heritage.
Words by Aaron Bonk