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Could We Ever See Another Ford GT90 Style Supercar for the Modern Age?

The Ford GT brand is built around the concept of a supercar that looks ridiculously awesome and performs about as well as it looks when it comes to on-track racing. Since 1960, Ford has been dabbling in the supercar category with the GT brand, originally with the Ford GT40, which became renowned during its epic Le Mans rivalry with Ferrari. More recently, Ford has been producing the Ford GT off and on throughout the last two decades to keep the racing-themed supercar in the news (and on the track) every so often, so it’s not the kind of car you’ll find at a local Ford dealer while browsing for a Mustang.

The latest production run for the Ford GT ran from 2016 up through 2022 in limited quantities, taking the original supercar design from the 1960s and giving it a modern-day makeover with a mid-engine design and curves to die for. Between the iconic track run of the original Ford GT40 and the return of the legend in 2016, there was another Ford GT that is often talked about by the public, but seldom discussed by Ford: The Ford GT90.

What Made the Ford GT90 So Legendary?

Without getting into the nitty-gritty of the concept and intended production of the Ford GT90, the basic premise was that Ford wanted a supercar, though more like a hypercar given its design, that had the aesthetic of an angelic stealth bomber and the performance of a prototype racer. The Ford GT90, which was intended to hit the track in the 1990s, would be a proper successor to the legendary Ford GT40, which was the original concept and basis for the more modern Ford GT series of supercars.

The GT90, however, had both looks and theoretical performance on its side. The reason I say theoretical is that it sadly never went into full production, so it could never be put through the paces in real-world tests and competitions against supercars and hypercars from that era. However, the hook for the GT90 was that it had a cockpit reminiscent of the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber with a unique mixture of rounded curves and hard angular lines, a truly unique design for what was to be a potential race-ready supercar. Interestingly enough, the design was actually inspired by Jaguar’s XJ220 supercar, which was gorgeous in its own right but also sadly failed to captivate the market2.

The low-riding concept sat atop custom wheels, was built as a two-door coupe, and it had a rear mid-engine design reminiscent of its Ford GT40 predecessor. However, the engine was vastly different from the 4.7L V8 that was stuffed into the iconic Le Mans racer. The GT90 sported a dual six-cylinder design with four turbochargers, making it a quad-turbocharged V12. The ludicrous nature of this design meant that it was supposed to travel well over 230 mph, but a lot of its performance specs were based on speculation rather than real-world testing.

What Went Wrong?

Had things gone well for the Ford GT90, maybe things would look vastly different in Ford’s supercar department. A completely different outlook on powertrains, design language, and aerodynamics could have been the result. Instead, Ford went back to the drawing board of what netted them wins at Le Mans, took the GT40 design, and updated it for modern times. What was it about the Ford GT90 that made it stand out, and why did Ford abandon it?

Since the design was made, in part, by a cut-down Jaguar XJ220, it was impractical to do that for an actual production run. They would need parts, assembly, and a factory designed to build this truly unique vehicle, borne out of Ford’s creative design team to make something invigorating and inspiring during a time when Ford was classified as being “boring” and “predictable.” The “New Edge” design language that the GT90 embodied would have required a lot of money and resources as an investment to bring the GT90 into production, not to mention having a more viable powertrain that wouldn’t get so hot it would melt the vehicle that it was stuffed into.

At the time, Ford’s only option reportedly would have been to reorient their Aston Martin powertrain to accommodate the design of the GT90 to make it a financially viable production model, according to Hagerty3. It was stated that this was a no-go, as it would have meant cannibalizing the same market as Aston Martin, which Ford owned at the time, and Ford didn’t want to risk it. So the GT90 got stuck in a bureaucratic cycle that never saw it go into production due to lack of a viable corporate solution at the time. It’s a real shame, because even if it did leverage a platform from Aston Martin, tweaks and adjustments could have been made in subsequent model years to further separate the two models. Unfortunately, Ford didn’t see it that way.

What Ford Took From the GT90 Experiment

It wasn’t a complete bust, though. Ford learned a lot from the GT90, and it carried into how they would redesign the current Ford GT. While the GT90 never made it to any local Ford dealers, some of its design philosophies did permeate throughout Ford’s design language for subsequent vehicles. The “New Edge” concept upon which the GT90 was built found ways into some of Ford’s approaches to reinvigorating old nameplates and sprucing up their better-selling models at the time, from the Focus to the Mustang.

Less than a decade after the GT90 made its debut, the Ford GT came out for the 2005 model year, hearkening back to the original GT40 design and sporting a supercharged V8. This time, the success of the Ford GT on the track and its practicality in production design would pave the way for the next generation of Ford GT models, which were a little more exotic in their design, and architecture.

The second generation of the Ford GT moved further away from the GT40 roots and, ironically, slightly closer to some of the “New Edge” concepts introduced by the Ford GT90. Specifically, you can see how some of the aerodynamic elements and sharp edges of the GT90’s design language found their way into the newer generation Ford GT, with Ford opting for some hard angles and futuristic elements with the modern supercar’s aerodynamics, compared to the more rounded curves from the previous generation Ford GT. The front hood of the second-generation Ford GT also mirrors that of the GT90, with the triangular vented hood. The influences weren’t grand, but you could definitely see how Ford began moving away from those “boring” designs during the early and mid-1990s after the GT90 put the automotive world on fire with its design.

What a Future Ford GT90-Inspired Supercar Could Look Like

Anyone who was remotely into the automotive world back in the mid-1990s knew two things: the Dodge Viper was the sports car that everyone wanted to own, and the Ford GT90 was the supercar of every enthusiast’s dreams. The closest any average person ever got to driving one was in the litany of video games where the GT90 was surprisingly featured, despite never having a production run. It was always featured as one of the fastest cars in the game, despite not being properly put through its paces or ever having raced in the real world before. Still, one neat feature in some of the games was that to reduce lift, the vehicle’s rear spoiler would automatically slide back and raise after hitting high speeds.

The GT90 had captured this unique appeal as this futuristic supercar, even though it was more like a hypercar, despite Ford only making a one-and-done concept before moving on. However, the “New Edge” design and inspiration helped open doors for how Ford would creatively approach redesigning old brands. Technically, we could still see it applied to a future version of the Ford GT series if they ever decide to go that route again.

In fact, DriveTribe offered Ford a few hints on how they could incorporate some of the creative design of the GT90 into the next generation of the Ford GT by making it longer, adding a shark fin, and adding an electric motor4. However, the idea of making it electric may not sit well with traditional fans of the GT90. But a potential hybrid with an electric motor on the front, a small battery pack in the back, and a V6 mid-engine behind the cockpit could work…. maybe?

Will We Ever See Another GT90-Inspired Supercar from Ford?

Ford still keeps the Ford GT around as an occasional production vehicle, and more prominently as a great racing vehicle. Even while it’s out of production at the moment as a consumer car, the current Ford GT MK II is still featured prominently on the Ford Performance page5. What about a future where we get another take on the Ford GT90? Is it possible we could see it rear its head as a new hybrid supercar? Nothing is impossible, but Ford certainly hasn’t said anything about it recently. Technically, they don’t need to, given the popularity of their current line-up, especially the F-150, which continues to move off Ford dealer lots more than any other vehicle in America. But let’s not forget that the GT90 concept was borne out of a time when Ford was seen as being creatively stagnant. If Ford ever gets in that rut again as we move through the ebb and flow of alternative fuel vehicles, maybe we could see a true successor to the GT90 crop up in a new Ford GT, perhaps to compete with the Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray. Only the future knows.

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