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First look: GT40 loses it head!

Coupe-Targa-cabrio: GTX1 concept features an innovative four-piece roof.

Ford lops the top off its GT40 supercar to create a cool SEMA convertible concept

11 Nov 2005

HERITAGE is sometimes an inspirational tool.

For car designers, it means the chance to re-invent an icon, or just channel creative energies into something extra special.

Such was the case for the Ford GTX1, unveiled to an enthusiastic crowd at the Speciality Equipment Market Association show, North America’s showcase aftermarket tuning show.

Using a 1966 Sebring-winning Ford GTX1, essentially a GT40 MkII roadster, as his design inspiration, Ford SVT engineering supervisor Kip Ewing sketched a convertible version of the Ford GT supercar.

The result is a roadster with an innovative roof system of four individual hard panels that can be configured as a coupe, targa-top, or convertible. With all the panels installed, the outer panels can be locked into a vent position.

Like the rest of the car, the panels are also painted in the same Valencia Yellow featuring Tungsten Silver stripes.

This means that when fitted in coupe format, the roadster does not lose any of its design appeal.

Importantly too, X1 drivers cannot be caught in the rain because all four panels can be stored inside the vehicle. Visually, the GTX1’s rear clamshell engine cover has been redesigned to feature two buttresses that flow rearward from the seatbacks.

Because of its open-top configuration, there was no need for a rear window like its hardtop donor, but Ewing wanted to maintain the option of a see-through engine cover like the hardtop to showcase the six-speed 410kW/678Nm supercharged 5.4-litre V8.

Equipment runs to Alloy Corp 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels, Sparco carbon fibre sports seats, Brembo brakes with mono-block/two-piece rotors, high-performance Pirelli P-Zero Rosso tyres and extensive use of composite and carbon fibre for the body.

27 center imageAccording to Ford, Ewing conceived the idea for a roadster while working on the Ford GT launch, and after completing initial design sketches in his own time, won the chance of utilising the Ford’s SEMA Technology Initiative to bring the GTX1 to life. "The Ford GT has been an amazing automotive icon that I’ve had the pleasure to work on," Ewing said.

"The X1 project is a great way to answer the question, What if?" Ford’s SEMA Technology Initiative began in 1999 with the sharing of technical drawings and electrical schematics of the then-new Mustang.

The program has expanded over the years to include many Ford and Lincoln Mercury vehicles and now provides three-dimensional CAD data to aftermarket companies looking to develop parts and accessories.

As part of Ford’s initiatives to promote its vehicles to SEMA members, Ford supports a selection of project vehicles to be built every year for the show.

The GTX1 was one of them.

Mark Gerisch of the Genaddi Design Group was chosen to build the car.

An experienced designer and metal shaper with a history of cutting the roofs off expensive and exotic cars, Gerisch has delivered the goods.

The answer to the inevitable question of "can I buy one?" is yes if you live in North America and have the dollars to buy a $205,000 Ford GT and drop by the Genaddi Design Group for the chop.

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