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Reviews on Performance and Economy of the 350 Ramjet

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                                COMPLETE REPORT

Welcome to our Decision Guide Complete Report. It puts all the information you need on
this vehicle at your fingertips. We give you objective test figures, and more. Our collective
expertise, combined with the most comprehensive testing program around, lets us truly
put vehicles in the proper context for you. The in-depth reviews, road tests, and
comparison tests included here don't just tell you what a vehicle can do. Our real-world
observations and judgments, based on our many years of experience with all types of
vehicles, help you to understand the qualitative nature of performance.

                                        Ford GT
                                   Base price: $151,245

               Vehicle type: mid-engine, rear-drive; 2-door 2-passenger coupe
                                      COMPLETE REPORT CONTENTS

Content                                                          Section

Detailed vehicle specifications                                       1

Capsule Review                                                        2

Road tests, reviews & related feature articles                        3

J.D. Power and Associates Power Circle Quality Ratings                4

NHTSA crash-test ratings                                              5

Kelley Blue Book detailed vehicle pricing & standard equipment        6
                           COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 1: Specifications

                                      Ford GT
                                      Base price: $151,245
                                      Vehicle type: mid-engine, rear-drive; 2-door 2-passenger coupe

Base price:                                    $151,245
Vehicle type:                                  mid-engine, rear-drive; 2-door 2-passenger coupe
Interior volume, F/R/cargo (cu ft)             53/NA/2 -
Cargo volume, seats up/maximum (cu ft)         23/87
Wheelbase                                      106.7 in
Length/width/height                            182.8/76.9/44.3 in
Turning circle                                 na
Curb weight                                    3485 lb
EPA city/hwy mpg                               13/21
Fuel-tank capacity/range                       17.5 gal/228 mi
Passive restraints                             driver and passenger front airbags
Bed capacity (cu ft)                           43.2-

POWERTRAIN                                     supercharged and intercooled 5.4-liter DOHC pushrod 32-valve V-8, 550
                                               hp, 500 lb-ft; 6-sp man

F                                              ind, control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar
R                                              ind, control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar

F/R                                            vented, cross-drilled disc/vented, cross-drilled disc
ABS                                            standard

                                         Future Product Intelligence

2006 Ford GT The $150k supercar first known as GT40 will be built in Wixom, MI with 500-hp s/c Cobra engine, Lear
interior, Mayflower chassis. The production run is expected to be short, lasting only through the 2006 model year.
                          COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 2: Capsule Review

                                                       Ford GT
This is an incredible car at an incredible price. Well, $151,245 isn't cheap, but the one we tested vaulted to 60 mph in 3.3
seconds and through the quarter in 11.6 seconds at 128 mph. While we didn't take it to its top speed, Ford says it does
205 mph, and we believe it. That's Ferrari Enzo–like performance at a fraction of the price. Power comes from a
supercharged 550-hp V-8, a well-mannered engine that's just as happy going fast as puttering around parking lots. The
handling is also very benign. While the limits are high-it can pull 0.98 g on the skidpad-you have to do something really
stupid to send this car spinning into the weeds. For 2006, there's a "limited edition" Tungsten Grey model that
commemorates Ford's 1966 1-2-3 Le Mans victory. As retro cars go, this has to be one of, if not the best out there. Ford
says only 4500 will be built.
               COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 3: Reviews, Road Tests and Features

2006 Charting the Changes — Ford

October 2005

The '05 Mustang has been such a hit that Ford told dealers to stop taking orders for it in June. For '06, there's a Pony
package, which gives V-6 Mustangs something of a GT look and feel. The actual GT supercar will offer a limited-edition model
to commemorate Ford's one-two-three Le Mans sweep in 1966. More important for Ford is the Fusion, which replaces the
Taurus (still to be built for the time being) and, with a starting price of $17,995, represents the company's bid to recapture a
chunk of the high-volume mid-size-sedan segment. The Fusion uses a Mazda 6-based platform that's shared with the Lincoln
Zephyr and Mercury Milan and as many as seven future Ford vehicles.

Unchanged: Crown Victoria, Five Hundred, Focus, Taurus.

Dead: Thunderbird.

Future: Accelerated redesign schedule to make the Five Hundred less bland. Fusion hybrid in 2008.

On the truck side, the F-150 gets a Harley-Davidson trim package with a "menacing monotone black exterior," expanded
availability of 20-inch wheels, and a new configuration—a four-door SuperCab with a 6.5-foot-long cargo box. The Ranger
gets a "more aggressive" look and expanded choices of options packages and powertrains. The Explorer gets a substantial
redesign. E-series vans will come standard with Roll Stability Control on 12-and 15-passenger models.

Unchanged: Escape, Escape hybrid, Expedition, F-250 and F-350 Super Duty, Freestar, Freestyle.

Dead: Explorer Sport Trac, Excursion.

Future: SVT Sport Trac hot-rod sport-utility truck with four-wheel independent suspension on Explorer platform, in 2007.

Select another manufacturer
               COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 3: Reviews, Road Tests and Features

Lords of Envy
Armed with six outrageous road cars endowed with racetrack performance levels, we go in search of a place to
exploit them.


August 2005

The makers of the world's greatest sports cars probably should not seek alternative employment in stockbrokerage. It seems
like every time we get a bumper crop of fabulous new supercars from the purveyors of these highly desirable vehicles, it
coincides with a weakening global economy.

Maybe that's how it works. Ferrari, Aston Martin, and others see a booming economy and immediately set to work on a
gloriously indulgent new coupe or convertible, only to have the ticker numbers steadily decline during the car's development
period. By the date of the new car's introduction, everyone has cashed out of the market and is sitting tight for a new
administration to change the picture.

Fifth Place (tie)
                                                                                                  Aston Martin DB9
Aston Martin DB9

This new car from Aston Martin is a peculiar mix of gentility and macho
manliness. Endowed with a sculpted aluminum shape that stops the masses in
their tracks and a silky 5.9-liter V-12 that snarls like a vintage Le Mans racer, the
car has street presence in spades.

It also has an interior that is as carefully tailored as a Savile Row suit, with
flawless leather hides, lovely contours, and handsome wood accents. With 449
horsepower on tap and a broad torque delivery, the Aston DB9 feels like a very
fast car—until you get to the drag strip and find these other guys lined up, too.
Then, the DB9's 13.2-second quarter-mile is about a second off the pace.
                                                                                        Highs: Gorgeous bodywork, torquey V-
                                                                                        12, elegant interior.
Will the stalwart pillars of the community who aspire to these cars care about
that? Probably not. The Aston will strafe the fast lane with the best of them. And
                                                                                        Lows: Knotty ride, feeble A/C, easily
if you restrain your street-racer instincts a little in the mountains, the DB9 also
                                                                                        overheated transmission.
makes a pleasing high-speed tourer. But it doesn't like being hurried in the
twisties, and it works best with a smooth, deliberate driving demeanor.
                                                                                        The Verdict: A beautiful car for a
                                                                                        mature James Bond.
Chassis calibrations seemed a bit paradoxical to us, with relatively high spring
rates producing a fairly gnarly ride, yet there was noticeable roll gain in corners. Every participating editor noted the car felt
heavy and a bit ponderous. Even so, it beat the stability-control-managed AMG SL65 in our lane-change test, despite the
slowest lap time at the Streets of Willow, 0.6 second behind the Porsche.

                                           The controls seem unusually heavy for a car of this caliber, with a steering wheel
                                           that was hard to pull off-center and was always resistant to quick inputs. Ditto the
                                           brake pedal, which was wooden in feel and took considerable pressure to produce
                                           strong retardation. Although the six-speed automatic transmission did a fair job of
                                           emulating a paddle-shift manual—with a taut step-off and snappy upshifts courtesy
                                           of its tight torque converter and quick lockup—the transmission fluid overheated
                                           several times in hot conditions when driven hard, flashing a warning light and
                                           defaulting to higher gears, where it ignored requests from the paddles.

                                           As one editor noted, on its own, this car feels great. It's the fast company it kept in
this test that highlighted its shortcomings.

In aesthetic terms, the DB9 is a delight. It surrounds the occupants with a sense of
well-being and privilege. But we did find a few ergonomic contradictions. For one,
the tachometer needle rotates in a counterclockwise direction. Also, although the
pushbutton transmission selectors mounted high on the dash were easy to see and
use, many of the secondary switches are small pushbuttons in the silver-tone center
console. The tiny white pictographs and script are extremely hard to see against the
silver background and certainly will be so for the bifocaled, middle-aged clientele we
believe are the likely customers for this car.

                                           Our final complaint was about the air
                                           conditioning, which struggled to provide a comfortable ambience in the admittedly
                                           hot conditions of our test and then would quit temporarily when the engine
                                           temperature began to climb. Perhaps these are signs that we were asking too much
                                           of this neoclassic chunk of British tradition. If we'd driven like gentlemen, maybe
                                           none of this would have happened.

Fifth Place (tie)
                                                                                               Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG
Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG

Anyone driving the SL65 for the first time will report back—probably with big
eyes—that the thing accelerates as if it had a military ramjet in the back. But the
real story with this car is that it is intended as a high-speed luxury convertible
capable of hauling you and your luggage to your vacation home in comfort and
relative quiet.

The thrust available from this 604-hp monster with 738 pound-feet of torque is its
calling card, and it helps the SL65 keep up with nimbler cars in the mountains,
where its 4480-pound weight starts working against it. The Benz isn't particularly
ill-mannered in the hills, understand, it just won't be jammed into corners. Even    Highs: God's own engine, high comfort
with the active roll-control system switched to sport, the SL65's large mass         and equipment levels, convenient
produces understeer, and the driver is soon admonished by the electronic stability convertible top.
program (ESP) to back off. As boss Csere noted, the rule here is: slow in, fast out.
                                                                                     Lows: Substantial heft, substantial
You can tighten the line during moderately fast cornering by simply giving the       price, substantial appetite for fuel.
Benz some gas. Our editors quibbled about steering quality in this car, but most
felt that although the effort was light, the mechanism produced accurate results.       The Verdict: The most comfortable
In character with the rest of the car, refinement takes precedence over                 high-speed tourer in the bunch.

                                           Nonetheless, the car's skidpad performance was respectable at 0.92 g, as was its
                                           lane-change speed of 69.1 mph—faster than the Porsche 911 Turbo S, despite the
                                           fact that the ESP cannot be disabled entirely. Or perhaps because of it. The
                                         integration of the various electronic systems has been meticulously engineered to
save overly enthusiastic drivers from themselves.

The sound the V-12 makes as it comes on boost is an extraordinary blend of mechanical and pneumatic acoustics—a giant,
percussive whoosh as the engine pins you back in your seat between 2000 rpm and the 6000 redline, in every gear. Check
out the passing-acceleration figures. Even counting the downshift that greets a big prod at the pedal, a 2.3-second 50-to-70-
mph time speaks of being able to pass anything, anytime.

Ironically, our acceleration results are slower than expected, even though the car
meets the factory claims for 0-to-60 times. That may be due to the intense heat
(over 90 degrees) at our desert test site, where repeated runs had the car's coolant
gauge reaching the top of its scale, whereupon the engine computer cuts boost and
probably retards ignition spark, too, for good measure. That slows the SL65 right

                                         It did the same thing at the Streets of
                                         Willow, where we could record only one
                                         lap before an identical situation arose. One
                                         look under the hood suggests an explanation. There's a tightly packed cluster of hot
                                         plumbing under there, and engine-bay airflow is clearly not up to the task of
                                         scavenging it. Still, we can't think of anywhere you could use full power for long
                                         periods of time in this car in normal circumstances. Except maybe on the autobahn,
                                         where high-speed airflow would doubtless cure the problem.

                                          Where the SL65 stood apart from the others was in the quiet, smooth way it goes
about its business. The others get in your face. This one plays it cool.

Fourth Place
                                                                                            Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet
Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet

This 911 Turbo S may not be the fastest car in the group (with the second-highest
power-to-weight ratio after the Aston), but it does boast a convertible top that
has been wind-tunnel-tested to 210 mph. That's comforting in a car that builds
speed with the determination this car shows. Despite having the lowest
horsepower in this test, the Porsche's 0-to-60-mph time of 4.0 seconds was
second quickest. It would probably have been even faster were it not for the
serious rear-wheel hop that occurs just about at the point of maximum hookup.

A concerted high-intensity thrust in each gear is achieved without any fuss and is
accompanied by a roar like a jet on full afterburner, with an overlay of that          Highs: Exciting power delivery, intimate
resonant exhaust blare so familiar from 40 years' worth of racing 911s.                interior, everyday practicality.
Surprisingly, the Turbo S is the third-heaviest car here, due in part to its all-
wheel-drive system and steel bodywork. But it never feels anything other than          Lows: Dated design, busy ride, slightly
fast and responsive.                                                                   untrustworthy chassis.

Another surprise: The Porsche felt quite lively and communicative. We remember     The Verdict: Still a solid purchase for
the car's being almost sterile in comparison to a Ferrari 360 Modena it competed   the Porsche faithful.
against in an earlier engagement. Perhaps it's just the passage of years, but the
somewhat jiggly ride and tendency to dart off-course at high speed contradicted our earlier impressions. True to Swabian
form, the Porsche has taut, well-damped controls and responds best to deliberate inputs.

                                         The proximity of the windshield and the short nose with its prominent fender bulges
                                         lend the driver a pleasant sense of intimacy with the car, and even if the dashboard
                                         retains that old blob-on-a-log design, its textures and color scheme have been
                                         vastly improved. Without the handsome new classmates in this group, the Porsche
                                         might seem to be all any enthusiast could wish for.

                                          But there are the inevitable shortcomings of a rear-engine design. We ran the Turbo
                                          S through our lane-change test several times with the Porsche Stability
                                          Management (PSM) switched on. Once we'd established a baseline, we switched it
                                          off. One run with the system off was enough. Although the 911's handling is much
improved these days, especially with all-wheel drive, physics cannot be denied. We could almost match the PSM-conducted
runs without electronic supervision, but the car felt spooky. Porsche pro driver Hurley Haywood might have done significantly
better, but he wasn't around at the time.
Similarly, when we ran timed laps at the
Streets, we discovered that the car bobs
and pitches a fair amount, preferring a
slow-in, fast-out cornering strategy.
Because the car is set up to quell
oversteer, getting back on the power too
early causes the 911 to simply push wide.

The best thing about the Porsche is its
everyday driving virtues. There are no
fussy frills here. The car starts with a key rather than a button —albeit the key slot is left of the wheel—and it performs much
like a regular car. You don't worry about driveway ramps. You can see out the back. There's enough space for tall drivers,
and getting in and out isn't a limbo dance.

Best of all, in this company the 911 Turbo S seems almost cheap.

Third Place
                                                                                                          Ford GT
Ford GT

Don't think you can go about your business in a Ford GT and not be noticed. Trust
us, you will spend a lot of time acknowledging the gestures of approval from
people on the road. Clearly, they like the car, and so do we. After all, what's not
to like about 550 horsepower in an artful recreation of Eric Broadley's classic

This is particularly true when it accommodates drivers of all sizes—helped by a
tilting and telescoping steering wheel—and can be driven easily at the first
attempt. The idea of a two-seat supercar with 500 pound-feet of torque can be
intimidating. The reality is a friendly car with good throttle response, a clutch with   Highs: Immense thrust, unshakable
a wide span of engagement, and a shifter that moves obediently at your bidding.          grip, head-turning looks, great value,
The whole entity is almost as easy to drive as a Focus.                                  easy to drive.

Simple to drive it may be; it is still a 200-plus-mph car with massive potential.        Lows: A hard and noisy ride, wind roar,
Respect is in order here, even though the Ford showed no evil-handling                   occasionally tricky ingress, no stash
tendencies anywhere. At the car's limit of adhesion it would transition benignly         space.
into a four-wheel drift, as long as nothing abrupt was done to the throttle or
steering. This neutrality helped the GT narrowly edge the Ferrari in the lane-           The Verdict: A skillful roadgoing
change and track-lapping tests, despite its fractionally lower skidpad number.           reincarnation of a classic sports racer.

                                           Not surprisingly, the Ford was quickest in a straight line in every measured test
                                           other than the top-gear intermediates (due to its high gearing and the fact that two
                                           other cars here had automatics). It reached 150 mph in 19.1 seconds, beating the
                                           604-hp SL65 by 1.4 seconds.

                                          Although not wanting for power, the Ford could use a little more sound insulation.
                                          Or not, depending on your idea of what a sports car should be. The tires transmit a
                                          fair bit of road noise into the cabin, banging quite loudly on pavement breaks and
drumming vociferously over ripples. Big impacts make their way through the steering column, too, and there's nearly always
a prominent wind gush at the windows. This may have something to do with the way air is angled out of the radiator ducts up
front to miss the windshield, done deliberately to improve aerodynamic performance.

On the fast mountain roads of our test route, the GT was magnificent, steering
keenly to corner apexes, holding its line with determination, and offering up
boatloads of reassuring communication to the driver. Thrust out of corners is
naturally copious, even in relatively high gears, so you don't constantly scramble for
the right ratio. Just as well—the brake pedal was too high for dependable heel-and-
toe work in the hills. At the track, heavier and more frequent brake applications had the pedal sinking to a useful height for
that technique.

You sit low in the Ford, almost buried behind the windshield, and the thick A-pillar (necessary to compensate for roof rigidity
lost due to the door cutouts) obstructs the view of shorter drivers. The side mirrors are small and high, and rear vision is a
real problem while backing up. Also, when glancing over your shoulder, reflections in the divider glass produce spooky

These are minor beefs. The Ford GT is all about the essence of a sports car, and this GT is essentially good.

Second Place
                                                                                                    Lamborghini Gallardo
Lamborghini Gallardo

At 8000 rpm in the Lamborghini Gallardo, the exhaust broadcasts a magnificent
V-10 fanfare. Where the Aston Martin utters a quintessential staccato bark, the
Gallardo trumpets a mostly unbroken timbre. Only occasionally do you hear a
warble something like that of the old five-cylinder Audi Quattro rally car.

The sound is entirely in line with the car's amazing visual presence, which is a
wholly updated evolution of the unique Lamborghini look and is pretty spectacular
in the pearlescent yellow you see here. Forget about going unnoticed by police
and public alike. This is the extrovert's exotic.
                                                                                           Highs: Exotic street presence, great V-
Convenient for the extrovert, then, that the Gallardo works so well as actual              10 exhaust note, flexible power
transportation. Conventional doors gape wide to provide access, and although the           delivery.
seats are low, reasonably limber drivers and passengers should have no problem
getting in. Space is an issue only for very tall drivers, particularly with the            Lows: A little cramped for beanpoles,
manual-transmission model (the so-called e-gear paddle-shift system is a                   stolid control feel, clunky gated
$10,000 option), where you need room to dance on the pedals.                               gearshift.

                                                                                         The Verdict: An eye magnet for those
The manual shifter lives in a metal maze in classic tradition and suffers from the       who must be seen.
clackety-clack action shared by most of those mechanisms. But selections are
reasonably quick and positive after a little practice. Acceleration testing brings out the worst of the system and resulted in
the death of the clutch after one too many slipped-clutch starts. Thus, our test data are from an e-gear model tested in '04.

                                           Blame that dead clutch on an otherwise excellent all-wheel-drive system that
                                           operates transparently to optimize traction and stabilize handling. Lamborghini says
                                           the Gallardo is tuned for initial understeer followed by neutral handling
                                           characteristics, and none of us would gainsay that. Although the steering might
                                           have a more stolidly Germanic feel than the Italian name might suggest, the
                                           Gallardo prompted plenty of praise for its precision and weighting once we took to
                                           the mountains.

                                          With less communication than the Ford or Ferrari, the Lambo's stability during high-
                                          speed cornering was more a matter of trust than sensory assurance, but it still
made excellent time on our mini-Targa Florio, handicapped more by the visual impediment its A-pillars present to drivers
than its handling limitations. Equipped with a variable-volume intake tract as well as variable valve timing, the 5.0-liter V-10
has an excellent torque spread, providing strong thrust throughout the rev range. It is pure aural indulgence to spin the V-10
to its 8100-rpm redline.

This car is not really about practicality. The seats are a little hard for long-distance
work, and there's not much luggage space. But the climate control and other
mechanisms are straight out of an Audi and are thus pretty dependable. In fact, the
whole package seems durable and well put together. Apart from when backing up—
when most of these cars are not in their element—all-around visibility is good for a
vehicle with these proportions.

It always comes back to the look of this car, but with that great V-10, modern assembly techniques, and all the updated
technology, there's no doubt this is the best Lamborghini ever.

First Place
                                                                                                         Ferrari F430
Ferrari F430

Even in the exalted company this car shared during our search for the perfect
sports-car environment, a drive in the F430 was a transcendental experience. This
is surely the most interactive high-performance car on the road right now,
combining vivid acceleration, sensational engine sounds, razor-sharp steering,
and lucid feedback in one charismatic package.

Having driven the 360 Modena variants, we expected the F430 to be good, but all
of us were flat blown away by how good it is. From the moment you turn the red-
fobbed key and thumb the red wheel-mounted start button, the pleasure trip
starts. There's a whoop from the flat-crank V-8 as it bursts into vigorous life, then     Highs: Superb mix of dynamic
a hearty throb as it settles to an idle.                                                  brilliance, scintillating character,
                                                                                          surprising versatility.
From as little as 2500 rpm, the Ferrari surges forward with real urgency, gaining
revs fast until it is seeking the 8500-rpm redline with a long, loud snarl. If you fail   Lows: Price, unavailability, annoying
to shift in time, the F430 does it for you with a fast, firm gear swap, and right at      beeps.
                                                                                          The Verdict: If we had the money, we'd
                                                                                          buy one.
The F1 paddle-shift system is much improved over the previous generation, both
in speed and smoothness, but full-throttle shifts are still fast and occasionally abrupt. You can find some back-and-forth
driveline shuffle, too, at moderate speeds if you're tentative with the controls.

                                           The car feels light and stiff, and it responds quickly and accurately to movements at
                                           the steering wheel. Although firmly suspended, the Ferrari's chassis damps sharp
                                           edges off most bumps, and it keeps the ride flat and devoid of all but small body
                                           movements. You hear and feel big bumps as single, muted impacts with no

                                            Out on the fabulous mountain roads we found near Knappenberger's dealership, the
                                            F430 was a sheer delight, turning in like a kart, clinging to the line (at 0.96 g) with
a clearly transmitted sense of what the contact patches are doing, and blasting out on a clean burst of sound, the V-8 yelling
like a modern inline-four sport bike in full voice.

It's hard to explain exactly how well the Ferrari is integrated. It's like a perfectly
fitted glove. It goes where you merely suggest it go. It encourages faster corner
entries than you would have anticipated, and it builds the driver's confidence, with
some initial understeer giving way to a touch of throttle-induced oversteer at corner
exits. That the interior is a pleasantly arranged space with plenty of room and a
natural driving position is just sauce on the pudding. The F430 even swallows a fair
bit of luggage.

Because U.S.-bound F430s are not equipped with Euro-spec launch control, our car
was put through its paces with a normal launch, using comparatively low revs as the
clutch engaged. So our 60-mph and quarter-mile figures are not as quick as those of the car tested in Italy by tech editor
Aaron Robinson in January. The F430 is still scary fast and utterly seductive. The only quibbles were about its styling, and
nobody liked the imperative warning beeps. Other than that, our judgment was unanimous: This is the world's most desirable
sports car, bar none.
              COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 3: Reviews, Road Tests and Features

At Ford, a Supercar Delivers a Super Headache
The trials and tribulations of developing the Ford GT


June 2005

The Ford GT was expected to be the cat's pajamas of American cars, an exotic to rival the Ferrari Modena 360. This
sensational project to produce a street version of Ford's most famous race car, the Le Mans-winning GT40 from the '60s,
began five years ago with Ford's hailing it as "a technological wonder wrapped in the Ford GT40 concept car." It indeed met
all its performance expectations, but it also wound up a $150,000 Ford with egg on its face.

The first running preproduction models were shown at Ford's centennial celebration in Dearborn in 2003. They were touted as
'03 models, but that was a fiction created by Ford insiders for the benefit of management and the press. By making the GT
the centerpiece of the celebration, these insiders were able to raid funds earmarked for the centennial that would instead go
toward developing the exotic car.

Now comes the blame game.

Ford could pummel John Coletti, the former head of the high-performance SVT group, who bulled the GT through all internal
opposition from concept to production, but Coletti, who's only in his mid-50s, decided to retire a few months ago, before the
problems surfaced.

Next come the suppliers. Ford was fully aware that it would have to outsource work on a 200-mph supercar, just as Chrysler
had needed to go to outside suppliers to produce the Dodge Viper. So Ford lined up a raft of suppliers, all of whom had to
relocate staff and/or facilities to within 250 miles of Dearborn.

A key choice of suppliers was Steve Saleen, a well-known builder of specialty Mustangs and his own $375,000 superexotic
called the S7. Back in 2000, the technical virtuosity of the 200-plus-mph S7 [C/D, July 2003] impressed Ford executives, who
reasoned that if Saleen could develop such a fine $375,000 car, building a $150,000 car ought to be duck soup. (In fact,
Saleen bid out the principal work to a British firm, RML, which takes full credit on its Web site for designing and developing
the S7.) With a Ford contract in hand, Saleen built a plant near Dearborn to assemble the body panels to the chassis (both
come from other subcontractors), paint the cars, and perform much of the final assembly.
To be able to say that it builds the GT—and to keep the unions happy—Ford installs the powertrain and finishes the car's final
assembly at its Wixom plant, but that move is said by industry observers to have been superfluous. Saleen has the capability
to finish the GT at its plant.

When the problems arose, Saleen's operation went through an upheaval. The boss of the project was fired, as were 10
others, although it is not yet clear exactly why.

Observing all this with no small interest is Jack Roush, the enormously successful racer and Detroit-area shop owner who is
also a Ford GT subcontractor (developing and testing the Ford GT's engine package). Roush has a history of coming through
for Ford on many performance-car programs, although he also may be taking heat for not having detected the oil-leak
problem. As we go to press, Saleen still has the Ford GT contract. Ford had previously mentioned Saleen as one of the
subcontractors being considered for the follow-up cars to the GT, which could be the Shelby Cobra roadster or Shelby Cobra
GR-1 coupe, or both, programs he has already contributed to. But the writing is clearly on the wall. Ford can't afford the
embarrassment of any more balls being dropped on the GT, or other suppliers will be interviewed for future limited editions,
including Saleen's cross-town rival, Jack Roush.
                      COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 4: Vehicle Quality Ratings

Power Circles were designed as an easy-to-use system for rating products and services.Please note: Power Circle ratings are
based on surveys sent to more than 50,000 new-vehicle owners nationwide. These ratings do not include all information
used to determine J.D. Power and Associates awards.

No data available for this vehicle.

About J.D. Power and Associates
Since 1968, J.D. Power and Associates has been conducting quality and customer satisfaction research based on survey
responses from millions of consumers worldwide. We do not rely on "expert opinion." Our product and service rankings in no
way reflect the opinions or preferences of the firm, and we do not review, judge or test products and services ourselves.

We represent the voice of the customer by translating survey responses into information that companies worldwide use to
improve quality and customer satisfaction, as well as to help consumers make better decisions. J.D. Power and Associates
has developed and maintains one of the largest, most comprehensive historical customer satisfaction databases in
existence, which includes feedback on virtually all aspects of the shopping, buying, and product and service ownership
                          COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 5: Crash Test Ratings

Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP)crash tests cars,
light trucks, sport-utility vehicles, and vans that are new, popular, redesigned, or have improved safety equipment. These
vehicles are then rated on how well they protect drivers and passengers during frontal and side collisions. NCAP uses a five-
star system for rating vehicles, with five stars indicating the highest safety rating and one star the lowest. Although it is
impossible to assess how well a vehicle provides protection in all circumstances using a single test, NCAP ratings provide a
useful basis for comparing vehicle safety.

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No data available for this vehicle.

About the NHTSA:
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is responsible for reducing deaths, injuries and economic losses resulting
from motor vehicle crashes. This is accomplished by setting and enforcing safety performance standards for motor vehicles
and motor vehicle equipment, and through grants to state and local governments to enable them to conduct effective local
highway safety programs. NHTSA investigates safety defects in motor vehicles, sets and enforces fuel economy standards,
helps states and local communities reduce the threat of drunk drivers, promotes the use of safety belts, child safety seats
and air bags, investigates odometer fraud, establishes and enforces vehicle anti-theft regulations and provides consumer
information on motor vehicle safety topics. NHTSA also conducts research on driver behavior and traffic safety, to develop
the most efficient and effective means of bringing about safety improvements.
                           COMPLETE REPORT SECTION 6: Kelley Blue Book

No data available for this vehicle.

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