That photo above is Camilo Pardo parking his fifth Ford GT at a Detroit car show last weekend. Before judging the show, I pulled him aside to ask a few questions about how the GT came together.
Pardo works independently around the region after he left Ford a few years back, but still keeps busy in the automotive scene with freelance work and custom-designing GTs. The four he's owned previously were sold to different collectors after being outfitted with new livery and other modifications.
He's working with a few automakers on some confidential projects, but still speaks fondly of the brief production of the GT, which started life as the GT90 concept in 1995 and re-imagined as the GT40 concept in 2002.
"(The GT40 concept) wasn't very much discussed inside Ford. We did it in a satellite studio away from the main design building, and it wasn't until the final stages until we were going to get ready to cast and tune the car for the auto show that it did get exposed to people in the building," Pardo says.P
The concept, always intended to recall the original GT40 of the 1960s, was closely guarded. Ford's intent to push the GT into production wasn't. "It's one of the few cars that I've worked on that did not need to go through Dearborn with camouflage on it," he says.
The GT was eventually slimmed down from the larger GT90. "(The GT90) had left the GT40 way, way too far behind, but it was a very contemporary execution. the only problem I had with it was that the greenhouse was way too big for the body."
What the public won't see is renderings for the GT that were scrapped as development moved along. Pardo has a few left over, but many were thrown away. So yes, it's possible a lucky custodian at Ford is sitting on a goldmine right now of GT sketches.
Pardo's car collection includes a '67 Mustang fastback, an '82 Ferrari 512 ("Ever since I've gotten GTs, I barely drive that," he says) and a newer Fiat 500. But GTs are still his favorite to drive.
"I couldn't be happier to spend so much time designing a vehicle and then actually experiencing it," he says. "It was hours and hours that went into the steering wheels and the seats... and I've got my hands on my steering wheel, I'm in the seats driving for hours and hours across the country, and remembering exactly what went into that part of the vehicle as we designed it."
Pardo wasn't too thrilled with the Galpin Ford GTR1 shown at Pebble Beach last month. "It's a very delicate project. It's something you have to be very well-experienced as a designer to tackle something like that," he says.
But, "I would love to give another shot to the Ford GT to make it a lot more contemporary. I did like what was done with the GT90, it was just still too far for most people to take in."