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NAIAS 2015: Ford Kicks Off with Performance Cars

Ford went big on the first day of NAIAS 2015 by marching out two new, top shelf performance cars – the Shelby GT350R Mustang and the latest incarnation of the Ford GT.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

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Ford Motor Company kicked off the 2015 edition of the North American International Auto Show in its won backyard by dominating day one, introducing the latest incarnation of the classic Ford GT supercar (above) and the track-centric Shelby GT350 Mustang (below),

It was a surprising march of horsepower as recent years saw Ford focusing heavily and publicly on ecology and technology developments — publicizing Ecoboost engines and car seats made of beans. While that theme is still simmering in the background, Ford’s big introductory rollout at Detroit’s iconic Joe Louis Arena NAIAS 2015 was all about performance.

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The iconic Ford GT has always been the company’s halo car, but it comes and goes from the line. The original GT40 debuted in small batches in the 1960s, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans four consecutive times. Ford brought back a popular, updated version of the GT in 2005 for a limited run. It headed back into the mid-ending ether in 2006.

The latest edition was designed and engineered in absolute secrecy — with rumors of its emergence only starting a few weeks before NAIAS 2015. It will go into production in 2016 for another limited run.

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On the outside, the new GT retains style points from its classic origins. It’s still a sizable supercar with a low, wide stance. The narrowing front end and rounded haunches are pure Ford GT. Otherwise there are styling cues from a McLaren or a Lamborghini, including scoops big enough to park a Fiesta.

Hell might’ve frozen over a bit via Detroit’s single degree temperatures because we’re going to see a Ford GT with six cylinder engine. The new GT will feature a 3.5 liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine. But, performance car lovers should endure with the GT’s 600 horsepower – 50 more the last GT’s 5.4 liter V8.

There’s no price set yet for the GT, but the idea of the car is to provide maximum performance for less than the gaudy $200,000+ tags hung on European halo rides.

Before the GT held court at NAIAS 2015, Ford introduced the new Shelby GT350R Mustang. While obviously road legal, this is a car made for pure performance track driving. To minimize weight and maximize speed and weight balance, Ford stripped his new Mustang down to the essentials. If it doesn’t bleed into speed, it’s gone. Backseat is gone. No A/C. No stereo. No fabric liners. No backup camera or high-tech rearview mirror. If a race car doesn’t have it, the new GT350R doesn’t either.

There’s no release date or price yet on the new Mustang, but you can assume it’ll be here before the GT and for less money.