My Car Quest

May 28, 2024

The Ford GR-1 Concept Car

The 2005 Ford GR-1 concept coulda been the successor to the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe.

by Wallace Wyss –

Looking back, the ’05-’06 Ford GT mighta been reaching too far, having a modern car that was a homage to the Ford GTs that won Le Mans in the Sixties.

Mid-engined cars require sacrifice of luggage room, and hugely expensive gearboxes (I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ford GT gearbox cost at least $17,000 to replace).

Ford GR-1

Which makes this alternative Ford GR-1 concept car something you wonder about. Why did it appear and then disappear? It was called the GR-1 and maybe it would have been more practical than the Ford GT they built.

And they could have built more of the Ford GR-1 instead of the 4,038 GTs they built. In fact, I hardly ever see Ford GT’s, I see many more Ferrari Daytonas even though around 1,200 of them were built. So Ford’s hope that, at every Ford event, there would be a few GTs flying the flag was dashed. The cars are hibernating, going up in value but not out and about.

Ford GR-1

Ford must have changed their policy somewhere in recent years as by the time this car came along they named the actual designer who thought it up, George Saridakis, whose idea was so on target Ford says they went to clay in just three drawings. Actually it’s a much updated look at the Cobra Daytona coupe which even school kids know was created by Peter Brock, then a teenager at Shelby American, back in 1964.

Ford GR-1

It was a rebody of the chassis already developed for a more blunt 004 Shelby Cobra Concept roadster platform, and used the same suspension and 6.4-liter V10 rated at for 605 horsepower.

Polishing out the chrome was a brilliant idea. It was supposed to make its debut at the Pebble Beach concours on the “dream car lawn” but someone dented it and they had to roll out the painted clay model to display instead. Oh the ignominy of it all!

So I see the car in 2017 in the Petersen Museum. Oh, it looks good, but it is the tale not told. One wonders why it wasn’t made? Well, Ford’s relationship with Shelby was up, and down, so maybe that’s why. Or the Ford GT wasn’t selling as good as they planned (but they announced at the outset that they would make only 4,000 odd cars so how could it sell more than they were going to make?).

The Ford GR-1 at the Petersen Automotive Museum

Ford GR-1

Or maybe they didn’t want to go front engined when obviously in real racing mid-engined was the only configuration that had a chance of winning Le Mans again?

And so it goes. A brilliant left turn into nowhere-land.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is the author of SHELBY: The Man, the Cars the Legend. Available directly from the publisher at (715)381 9755.




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The Ford GR-1 Concept Car
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The Ford GR-1 Concept Car
The 2005 Ford GR-1 concept could have been the successor to the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe with a little extra effort.


  1. David Meisner says

    Pete Brock may have looked like a teenager in 1964 but he was hardly one in that year having been born in 1936. Nonetheless he was a very talented young guy.

  2. Wondering when the modern world will realize that Supercars can indeed and for many years have been front engine? Just sayin…

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