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    Clarkson returns Ford GT==============,,12529-1677058,00.html

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    July 03, 2005

    Sorry, Ford, I have to ask for my money back
    By Jeremy Clarkson of The Sunday Times

    Thirty-five years ago I promised myself that one day I'd own a Ford GT40, the blue-collar supercar that took an axle grinder to Ferrari's aristocratic halo at Le Mans. But 25 years ago my dreams were dashed as I grew too tall to fit inside.
    Happily, in 2002 Ford announced that it was to build a modern-day version of the old racer. It would, they said, cost less than Pounds100,000 and do more than 200mph. They also said it would be much bigger than the original so pylon-people like me would be able to drive it.

    And so, two years ago, having tested a prototype in America, I placed an order for one of the 28 that were coming to Britain.

    As the months groaned by there were rumours of big price increases, insatiable thirst and catastrophic suspension failure. But there were also rumours of the supercharged V8 pumping out 550bhp and a mountain of torque so massive it was breaking the testing equipment. So I didn't mind.

    I didn't even mind when it arrived at my house one month ago inside a truck which had "On Time" written down the side. As we know from America's arrival into the second world war, their concept of "on time" differs slightly from ours.

    And anyway, it looked so gorgeous, a mass of bulging muscle struggling to contain that massive 5.4 litre supercharged heart. It doesn't look like a GT40 but it looks like a GT40 looks in your head. And it's huge. Longer than a Volvo XC90 and as wide as a Hummer.

    Which is why, on its first run, to London, it was like a blue and white Pied Piper trailing a stream of ratty hatches in its wake. Everyone was taking pictures, waving, giving me the thumb's up. Never, not once in 15 years of road testing cars, had anything drawn such a massive crowd. And never had the crowd been so overtly supportive.

    Of course you can't run a car like this without a few problems rearing their head from time to time. It's too wide for the width restrictions on Hammersmith bridge - backing up earned me a slot on the traffic news that morning. The turning circle means every mini roundabout becomes a three-point turn, and at oblique junctions, as is the case in a Ferrari Enzo, you absolutely cannot see if anything's coming.

    But set against this is a surprisingly quiet and civilised ride. It's like a power station. Silent, as it gets on with the job of brightening up your life.

    Mind you, you are constantly aware of the Herculean power that nestles just over your right shoulder. Partly because you can see the supercharger belt whirring away in the rear-view mirror and partly because it makes a deep, dog-baiting rumble when you do put your foot down.

    Ford asked that I keep the revs below 4000 for the first thousand miles. But since 100mph equates to 1900rpm it's not really a hardship. And at this speed you're doing 15mpg, which isn't bad at all. But three days later everything started to go very, very wrong.

    Leaving the Top Gear studio, the immobiliser refused to un-immobilise itself. So the car was pushed into the hangar and I went home instead in a rented Toyota Corolla.

    Ford sent a tow truck, changed the immobiliser and delivered the car to my house the following day. "Is it fixed?" I asked. "Yes," they said.

    At three in the morning the alarm blew. And then again at four. This meant my wife started to refer to it as "that f****** car", which took away a bit of the sheen, if I'm honest

    It wasn't. At three in the morning the alarm blew. And then again at four. This meant my wife started to refer to it as "that f****** car", which took away a bit of the sheen, if I'm honest.

    The next day, on the way back to the garage, I received a call on the hands-free phone from the tracker company. "Your car's been stolen, sir," said the man. "I'm sure it hasn't," I said, "because I'm in it."

    Fearing that I might be the burglar, the man asked if I could give him my password. Tricky one that, since I have a different password for everything on the internet and can never remember any of them. And that's a big problem, because the man at the end of the phone has the power to remotely shut down the engine.

    I threatened him, lightly, with some physical harm, but this didn't work so I had to guess. "Aardvark," I ventured. "Abacus, Aesop, additional . . ."

    Eventually he took pity and I was able to deliver the car back to Ford with some stern warnings about the alarm, the immobiliser and the tracker system, all of which seemed to be malfunctioning. As a courtesy car they gave me a Ford Focus, with a diesel engine. Nice.

    Two days later the GT was back. "Is it fixed?" I asked, again. "Yes," they said

    Five minutes out of the Ford garage I received a text to say my car had been stolen. And then, in the next half hour, three more. So, counting the two I'd received before I was even out of bed, that meant my car had been stolen five times before 9am.

    This time I rang Ford and explained that I would personally come over there and insert the whole car up the chairman's backside if it wasn't fixed. And while I was on the phone a yellow warning light came on the dash.
    "There's a yellow warning light on the dash," I bellowed, like Michael Winner, only angrier. "Oh, that'll be something to do with the engine management system," said the man with the bleeding ears. "You'll need to get it looked at . . ."

    When Ford gave me the car back after its third hospital trip in as many weeks, I didn't ask if the security system was fixed. Because the notion of it still being broken was simply inconceivable.

    So imagine my surprise when, one hour later, while at my daughter's school play, I heard a familiar siren. I couldn't believe it. The alarm had gone off again.

    In a fury this time, I called Ford and explained, loudly, that Roush, the company charged with servicing and maintaining the 28 GTs in Britain, was plainly incompetent. And that there was simply no point asking it to fix the alarm again because it'd had three goes already.

    I then did something the man at Ford wasn't expecting. I asked for my money back.

    And that, the next day, is what happened.

    They put Pounds126,000 in my account and sent a man to pick up the car. "Is it the alarm system?" he said. "They all do that."

    So there we are. A 35-year dream. A two-year wait. Ten years of damn hard work. And what do I get? The most miserable month's motoring it is possible to imagine.

    Strangely, however, as the GT rumbled down my drive for the last time, I felt like Julie Walters watching Michael Caine getting on the plane at the end of Educating Rita. I actually cried.

    There's a very good reason for this. I genuinely believe that some machines have a soul and I can't bear to think of my Ford sitting in a warehouse now, unloved and unwanted. It is fine. It is perfect. It knows it's a great, great car that was ruined by a useless ape who fitted a crummy aftermarket alarm system.

    Ford has said I can buy the car back any time. It has even lent me an Aston Martin DB9 while I make up my mind. I don't know though. I just don't know.

    Normally I finish these columns with an opinion of mine. But this time it's the other way round. I'd love to hear yours.

    One thing: I know I could sell the car privately and make a Pounds50,000 profit. But I have never profited from my position as a motoring journalist. And I never will.


    Model Ford GT
    Engine 5409cc V8 supercharged
    Power 550bhp @ 6500rpm
    Torque 500lb ft @ 3750rpm
    Transmission Six-speed manual
    Fuel 14.6mpg (combined cycle)
    CO2 N/A
    Acceleration 0-60mph: 3.8sec
    Top speed 212mph
    Price Pounds126,000
    Verdict So good you can have mine
    Rating Five stars

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    so so sad to hear that that's why getting the right people to install a simple alarm system on a car can make a HUGE difference. it seems, the main problem was with the alarm, not anything mainly to do with the car.

    same thing with our Touareg, we asked the guy had he fitted a tracker on that type of car before, obviously he said he's done it "dozens" of times(i doubt him because ours was one of the first 20 to arrive in SA) but let him continue with the installation anyway. and it's taken about 7 months to fix and about 20-30 trips to VW to fix the damn engine light, just because of the damn alarm as well...

    regarding the article, i think jeremy should keep the car and take out that bloody alarm system, who the hell is going to steal a ford GT, i mean like there are that many anyway, and would be so easily recognised had someone stolen it

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    all the i had before and now have tracker on. i think he just 1 of the 100 unlucky bastard . cause he was born to be a loser!!hehehhehe

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    he should keep it, sucks for ford to have such an influencial person return there #1 car!

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    he fell in love with the F430 according to last month's TG magazine. that's the real reason

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    zzboba said:
    he fell in love with the F430 according to last month's TG magazine. that's the real reason

    I second that.

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    That sucks, he actually liked the car alot (he test drove a bunch of them) and then showed it to everyone on the show (even when the others thought it was very impracticle). I would ask for my money back and get an F430 and call it a day or a 612. He had a Ferrari before, and he got rid of his SL55 AMG to get the GT.

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    Rossi said:
    zzboba said:
    he fell in love with the F430 according to last month's TG magazine. that's the real reason

    I second that.

    last sentence was something like "is the F430 better than the Ford GT? of course it is. it's better than every car."

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    zzboba said:
    Rossi said:
    zzboba said:
    he fell in love with the F430 according to last month's TG magazine. that's the real reason

    I second that.

    last sentence was something like "is the F430 better than the Ford GT? of course it is. it's better than every car."

    ... and that's what I wanted to hear.

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    I can't imagine that Clarkson likes the look of the F430 too much. He said the very similar F360 reminded him of the dinner of a dog...

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    he did profit from his journo job - they took the car back.

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    I can't imagine that Clarkson likes the look of the F430 too much. He said the very similar F360 reminded him of the dinner of a dog...

    yes -- he doesn't. he says it's too friendly at the front and too massive at the rear.
    but the car is so brilliant to drive, especially in "CST OFF" mode. best car ever in his opinion.

    if i don't forget to take my issue of topgear with me to the office tomorrow, i'll scan the article.

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    *claps hands*

    thanks zzboba!

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    He might think F430 is better than the Ford but it looks like he think the new M5 is better than F430.
    Read and weep

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    He should step up and be a real man and get a new 6 liter Holden Monaro.,,12529-1686285_1,00.html

    After he test drove a M5 he tried to drive it home, he couldnt. Its electrics had gone all blitzy and it ended up being flat bedded and he ended up in a rental Ford diesel.

    Enough of questionable quality super cars. They have evolved into very fragile and very fast cars that have lost all common sense. Pretty, but cant be pushed hard and they cant even survive minor road incidents.


    Cat, (a house cat!) versus Carrera GT. Cat's dead. Damage to CGT is $25,000 USD. Low speed collision.

    Raccoon versus Boxster, Boxster wins. Cost $2,500 USD.
    High Speed collision.

    I once hit a German Shepard dog with a 914. I was going 100mph. Cost was zero. Dog dead.One paw lodged in motor
    mount easily removed.

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    Does anyone else think Clarkson over reacted? Sure, the problems were annoying, but surely they could have been fixed. It was the Alarm that was f'ed up, not the car.

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    It was revealed on TopGear last night that Clarkson can't drive for the next 6 months due to 2 slipped discs in his back - I wonder how much this contributed to the reaction.. something that might have been annoying but solvable had his back not been bad falred up into a more major issue - I know whne I was out with a bad back my propotionality of small issues went out of the window....

    Re: Clarkson returns Ford GT==============

    wow, that must really suck! Being one of the most well known car journalists who gets to drive some of the best cars but now cant because of his back....bummer.



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