The words “instant classic” get thrown around quite a bit, usually wrongly, but if ever a modern car deserved the title, it’s the Ford GT.
The supercar rendition of the GT40, Ford’s Ferrari-beating Le Mans race car of the 1960s, there were just over 4,000 GT coupes built from 2005-2006, and they received massive acclaim for their masterful styling and stunning performance.
But who would have expected that the GT would double and triple its value in such a short time, or take its place as a sales leader alongside vintage collector cars at auction?
“They are popping up everywhere at auctions,” said David H. Kinney, a veteran car appraiser and collector-car auction expert. “It’s one of very few cars that were built in the 2000s that never depreciated any real amount and continue to appreciate in value.”
Mecum Auctions’ Chicago sale this past weekend again hammered home the rising values of Ford GTs as bona fide collector cars, with the fast Fords taking the top three spots in the sales results, a reminder of when GT40s won first, second and third place at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The highest sale of the auction was for a 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition, painted in the famous orange-and-blue livery that adorned GT40s of the ’60s Gulf Racing team. One of just 343 produced, and with just 182 miles on its odometer, this one sold for $475,000 (prices exclude the auction premium), one of the highest prices ever realized for a Ford GT.
“And it’s really funny because the model they couldn’t sell as a new car, the Heritage Edition with the Gulf colors, is the one that collectors now want the most,” Kinney said, “which really gives you an idea of the difference between the new-car market and the collector-car market.”
Two other ultra-low mileage GTs came in second and third in the sales results – a 300-mile 2006 with Mark II black paint and silver Le Mans striping sold for $335,000 and a red 2005 with 382 miles hammered at $300,000.
Mecum’s auction at the Schaumburg Convention Center offered 936 vehicles with a 62 percent sell-through rate and total sales reaching $15,267,644. Besides the Ford GTs, classic Detroit muscle cars lead the pack in sales results.
Top 10 sales at the Chicago auction were:
1. 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition at $475,000
2. 2006 Ford GT at $335,000
3. 2005 Ford GT at $300,000
4. 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Fastback at $200,000
5. 1970 Plymouth Hemi ’Cuda at $185,000
6. 1969 Dodge Hemi Super Bee at $127,500
7. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible at $110,000
8. 2012 Chevrolet COPO Camaro at $105,000
9. 1958 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible at $100,000
10. 1987 Buick GNX at $97,500
All sales reflect hammer prices before auction fees.
It was the Ford GTs that stole the show, which Kinney said is a common feature at collector-car auctions these days.
“If you look at other auctions, you’ll routinely see them in the top 10 cars,” he said, noting that the original base price for the GT was around $150,000. “And routinely they go for $300,000 and up for cars that are as-new or cars that don’t have any bad stories or history.”
Recent auction sales for Ford GTs at auction include those at the Auctions America Auburn sale, where a 2006 Heritage Edition that went for $360,000 and a 2005 coupe for $330,000 were the third- and fourth-highest sellers.
Barrett-Jackson sold a 2006 model for $291,500, including premium, at its Las Vegas sale last month, and RM sold a 2006 at its Monterey sale in August for $407,000, including premium. And two GTs topped Mecums’ November 2013 auction in Anaheim with sales of $264,100 and $224,700, including premiums.
Initially, the results might have seemed surprising for collector-car auction watchers who are accustomed to seeing only very high-end European exotics selling for big numbers as late-model cars.
“No, but it makes sense,” Kinney said. “It’s a true supercar, and it’s made in America, so it has that going for it.”
The GT also has a reputation as a capable everyday driver that is tractable and easy to handle in bumper-to-bumper traffic or at stratospheric high speeds, which top out at 205 mph. Reliability and maintenance are also strong points for a supercar boasting 550 horsepower from its supercharged 5.4-liter V8.
“They are more user-friendly then a lot of other exotic cars,” Kinney said. “They are not known for being temperamental. They’re known for being easy to live with.”