Anniversaries are often prime fodder for limited-edition cars, especially sports cars and supercars. But every so often, automakers honor their histories by paying homage to the people that made those legacies. Porsche did it last year with the Pedro Rodriguez 911, for example. And at the 2022 Chicago Auto Show, Ford unveiled a special GT Heritage Edition supercar that commemorates an innovative Brit: Alan Mann.
Alan Mann made Fords into fearsome racers and turned the GT40 into even more of a lightweight warrior
Carroll Shelby’s name might be attached to some of the sportiest Fords, but it’s not the only one. British company Cosworth also boosted Ford performance, as did Lotus with the ‘60s Cortina. And while Shelby and crew crafted the original Ford GT, the GT40, Alan Mann took it several steps further.
The founder of Alan Mann Racing, he competed as an amateur racer in the ‘50s and ‘60s and worked as a mechanic during the week. And after joining a local Ford dealership and boosting sales, he organized said dealer’s racing program. The program became successful enough for Ford’s honchos to come knocking, inviting the team to the Marlboro 12 Hours race. Mann’s team beat the factory one, which prompted the founding of Alan Mann Racing in 1964.
Over the years, the team fielded several talented drivers, including Graham Hill, Jacky Ickx, Bruce McLaren, and Sir Jackie Stewart. It also turned out several stylish and sharp Ford race cars, including Escorts, Lotus Cortinas, Mustangs, Shelbys, and even racing prototypes, all wrapped in red-and-gold liveries. However, his most well-known creation is a special, or rather a pair of special Ford GT40 Lightweights.
Although Shelby, Ken Miles, and their crew were major players in the GT40’s development, Alan Mann Racing was also involved. And Mann decided, instead of more power, the GT40 Mk I needed less weight and sharper handling. So, his team adjusted the chassis, tweaked the suspension, and replaced the heavy steel body panels with lightweight aluminum-and-magnesium-alloy ones. The resulting ‘AM GT-1’ weighed 2140 pounds, making it the lightest Ford GT40 Mk 1, Hagerty says. And even though it has the ‘smaller’ 4.7-liter V8, 425 hp is a lot in a mid-engine car that barely weighs a ton.
The 2022 Ford GT Alan Man Heritage Edition channels the original’s livery and weight-reducing spirit
|2022 Ford GT Alan Mann Heritage Edition|
|Engine||3.5-liter ‘EcoBoost’ twin-turbocharged V6|
|Transmission||Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|Dry weight||3054 lbs (regular model)|
|0-60 mph time||3.0 seconds|
Ultimately, Ford raced with the 7.0-liter GT40 Mk IIs, which resulted in the 1-2-3 finish at Le Mans 1966. But while Ford was victorious, it meant the AM GT-1s only ever turned their wheels in anger at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Le Mans trials. However, Ford considers it a vital part of its iconic GT40’s history. So, it’s paying tribute to Alan Mann Racing’s contributions with a dedicated 2022 Ford GT Heritage Edition.
Mechanically, the 2022 Ford GT Alan Mann Heritage is the same as the ‘regular’ GT supercar. It has the same mid-mounted EcoBoost V6, titanium Akrapovic exhaust, and carbon-fiber chassis and body panels. However, as GT Program Manager Mike Severson explained to me at the 2022 Chicago Auto Show, this Heritage Edition honors Alan Mann in more ways than just its red-and-gold paint scheme.
Firstly, the 2022 Ford GT Alan Mann Heritage Edition comes standard with carbon-fiber wheels. It also has exposed carbon-fiber mirrors, rockers, diffuser, splitter, and engine-bay louvers. The carbon treatment continues inside, where the Heritage Edition has more carbon-fiber trim than the standard GT. Plus, it has unique red-and-gold stitching, red-anodized paddle shifters, and ebony leather-and-Alcantara upholstery.
Also, see that ‘16’ roundel in the door panels? That’s not a projection or light effect; “it’s ghosted” into the carbon-fiber material, Severson says. And it’s the same number that the AM GT-1 wore at the Le Mans trials when it set the fourth-fastest time.
This limited-edition model sends Ford’s supercar out in style
Besides being the newest special-edition GT, the Alan Mann Heritage Edition is also likely the last one. Ford is ending the GT program after 2022 as it finishes the last of the planned 1350 road cars.
As of this writing, Ford hasn’t released pricing details for the Alan Mann Heritage Edition. But seeing as the standard GT costs about $500K, the limited-edition livery won’t be cheap. Though if your name is on the GT order list, you can freely add it. And considering the original AM GT-1 recently had a $7-$9 million auction estimate, it’s arguably a relative bargain.
Here’s hoping the Alan Mann Heritage Edition owners take their Ford GTs out to the track, so the late racer’s legacy can keep growing.
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