The prospect of buying a new car can seem downright frightening, even without fears of a global coronavirus pandemic shutting down automotive manufacturers and dealerships alike. New cars might be clean, smell great (arguably), and hopefully reliable but they also lose a ton of value the minute they roll off the dealer lot.
Depreciation means that the car now can’t be sold for as much as it was worth only minutes before, which translates to new buyers instantly losing money and, if they took out a loan like most people do, they’re now underwater. And the more expensive a car is, the more it depreciates! This sad fact means that for anyone other than millionaires, buying a new car is one of the worst financial decisions anyone can make.
But even millionaires purchasing supercars need to know that they’ll be taking a massive hit when it comes to the values of their cars. Just check out this 2019 McLaren 600LT, which hit the auction website Bring a Trailer only a few short months after it sold brand-new for $306,550 (plus tax). Even on such a popular site, with tons of money changing hands on a daily basis, this gorgeous supercar still couldn’t meet reserve and only reached a high bid of $200,000 on the nose.
But there is one supercar that never seems to lose value: the Ford GT. So why does America’s only true supercar (sorry, the C8 is on a much lower rung of the ladder) manage to hold its value so well? The answer comes down to history, rarity, and a few famous personalities.
Ford has built three generations of the GT, the first of which emerged from a partnership between FoMoCo and none other than the “Chicken Farmer from Texas,” Carroll Shelby. The development of the original GT—known as the GT40 at the time because it rode so low that the roof was only 40 inches off the ground—was covered a bit in the film Ford v Ferrariwhich depicted Christian Bale being absolutely disgusted by the power and handling of the Lola GT and working with Matt Damon’s Shelby to create a legit sports car that could go to Le Mans and beat Enzo Ferrari at his own game.
The results remain impressive to this day. By 1966, Ford and Shelby were able to claim a historic 1-2-3 victory at Le Mans with the GT40, which went on to dominate the endurance race for the next three years, as well, over five different iterations with different powerplants, transmissions, and profiles.
Ford also built road-going homologation versions of the original GT40, which have become unobtanium because they’re so incredibly valuable on the collectible market.
The Modern Era
Partly as an exercise in marketing and, no doubt, partly as an exercise in reliving the past, Ford began work on a new GT for the 21st century with a concept car unveiled at the 2002 North American International Auto Show.
By 2004, the new GT hit the roads as a 2005 model with styling that directly heardened back to the originals and a supercharged V8 mounted amidships producing 550 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque. That power was routed to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox and a helical-type limited-slip differential, enabling a 0-60 time of under 3.8 seconds on the way to a top speed of 205 miles per hour.
Ford built 4,038 of the new GT in only two model years, and despite a starting price of $139,995 and up, demand was so intense that the first example to leave the factory was sold to Microsoft executive Jon Shirley, who paid more than $557,000 just to earn that right.
A New Era
Ford revived the roadgoing GT supercar for a new generation beginning in the 2017 model year. With an aggressive exterior, largely carbon-fiber construction, and a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 employing twin-turbochargers to produce 647 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque, the new GT immediately earned acclaim—fame that was only aided by the fact that Ford was able to go back to Le Mans in 2016, exactly 50 years after the GT40 went 1-2-3, and win the event outright once again.
Ford went into the new generation knowing that demand would be absurdly high, even with a price tag starting at $450,000. Almost emulating Ferrari, Ford made sure that celebrities got their hands on the new supercar immediately, while also stipulating that resales had to be postponed so that no one would flip the cars for an immediate profit. Famous wrestler John Cena went and did just that, however, earning himself a lawsuit (and, allegedly, some serious profits).
Meanwhile, as soon as the two-year no-resale clause elapsed, these cars have fetched incredible values at auction—over $1 million can be expected without hesitation. Those values are definitely well in excess of the car’s impressive performance stats, suggesting that history and psychology have definitely come into play. Perhaps the prospect of another decade-plus wait until the next generation factors into the Ford GT’s complete lack of depreciation, as well.
Sources: Robb Report, CNN, Motor Trend,
NEXT: Mecum Preview: 1965 Ford GT Roadster Le Mans racer