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Ford’s secret supercar

3 years ago

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Mel Nichols | Journalist


4 December 2021

It’s December 1988. You’re about to buy a Ferrari 328. You’ve had a 911 before, and you’ve considered a Chevrolet Corvette for its macho looks and grunt, and a Porsche 944 Turbo, which handles better.

But what about this new mid-engined Ford, said to best every other sports car, at any price? It’s grippier than either a Testarossa or Countach and outhandles everything through a slalom – no surprises there: Jackie Stewart helped develop it. And its Yamaha-Ford V6 sounds a cracker. Not to mention everyday usability thanks to good vision, convenient access, a proper boot and Ford-size bills. The Ghia-designed targa body looks the business, too; right up there with the Testarossa for a third of the price.

Too good to be true? Well, it came close to reality. Through the Eighties a skunkworks team of Ford Special Vehicle Operations engineers conceived and developed a supercar codenamed GN34. It would take the best resources from around the world – Italian styling, British chassis design, SVO engineering, quad-cam Japanese V6 power – assemble it in Europe, and all with the lofty aim of beating Porsche and Ferrari at their own long-played game.

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