Top Speed Legacy: The Autoplus Ford GT
To some degree, the project car experience is one and the same for all of us who decide to partake in it. We take a meaningful vehicle, slowly build it towards our purpose or goal, drive it and go on adventures with friends out of town or on track, break something, fix it, and then repeat the cycle all over again. As our cars continue to evolve and as we continue to age, needs change and for some, the project car may have to go. But for those who have the patience (and luxury) of keeping a good car around, the project car will have a comfy spot to sleep in at our garage.
The project car then becomes a legacy build, a car to keep around as long as we’re still breathing because it’s now more than just metal on four wheels; It is now an embodiment of stories and great times past, a memento of the days that make us feel most alive. And while the project car sees seldom use thanks to lack of time or our responsibilities, it is a reminder of what it means to be alive – even as it sits. We all have our own stories, but for the man who is known for having a well-established speed shop, Carlos Gono’s prized project is definitely not your average vehicle.
We’ve mentioned before that mentioning ‘Autoplus’ to your local gearhead will probably call to mind one of three vehicles: The Bayside Blue LHD BNR34 Skyline GT-R, this competition drift-spec 240SX, or the red Ford GT we now see here. Among all the vehicles in Autoplus’ stable, this Ford GT hits closest to home for Mr. Gono with all the exploits that this infamous low-slung supercar has gone through during his ownership. Beyond the status this car enjoys as a rare vehicle, it’s really the stories of yore about the GT that make the car unique – and why we feel it’s worth a closer look.
One look at the GT and immediately those astute with performance parts will know something’s up. While the normal folk will gawk at the ‘Ferrari’ they just saw, the Autoplus Ford GT is known for sporting bronze Volk RAYS RE30s for that extra pop. That’s definitely a unique JDM touch to an otherwise all-american car, but what’s really telling about is particular car is its tire of choice – Hoosier slicks. Clearly not a ‘safe’ choice for the street especially when it rains, but there has to be a reason why these tires are on the car.
That reason makes itself known once the engine turns over. The loud, thunderous burble is clearly not indicative of the 550hp that this GT originally came with stock. Mr. Gono tells us that with the 4.0L roots blower supercharger mounted up top, the car actually put down 945 WHP on their dyno years ago. With all that power being controlled by nothing but a 6-speed manual transmission and your right foot, that’s quite a handful compared to the dual clutch/traction controlled supercars of late. THAT’S why the car needs to wear 315 section rear slicks – it won’t hook up otherwise.
With the cowl raised up and the 5.4L V8 nestled dead center, a set of KW V3 Coilovers bring focus – and better handling – towards the intricate suspension system that points this vehicle where it needs to go. That’s something that’s definitely put to good use at speeds triple the limit of our expressways.
You see, with supercars like this the stories will likely end with short drives on the expressway or breakfast and coffee on Sunday mornings – these days that’s just how they’re usually used around town by the folks who can afford them, and there’s nothing wrong with that given all the traffic lately. The beauty of this particular Ford GT lies in the fact that it lived up to the aesthetic of being a ‘supercar’ the moment Mr. Gono came into possession of it – because it was driven like one. Over the years stories have been passed around about this car doing stints above 300 km/h on the regular. Its true claim to fame though was when it ran a mile run at the old Subic Airport back in 2012, complete with standing mile stats to measure its true potential. This Ford GT was able to clock 205 miles per hour (330 km/h) from a standing start, and to give you an idea that’s the original rated top speed of the Ford GT from the factory – covered in a full mile.
Considering its massive bump in power compared to stock, we were of course curious what this GT would do all-out. The magic number Mr. Gono tells us is somewhere in the neighborhood of 360 km/h – an experience that few will get to claim they’ve had in a road car. Where he attempted to do this though, well, we’ll leave him to tell you all about that himself:
Compared to the collection of supercars you’d see parading BGC on sunday mornings, the Autoplus Ford GT has cemented itself as a vehicle that has been taken to its limit and has the stories to back it up. And while the GT barely gets to see the road as of late, it stands as a rolling symbol for Mr. Gono of what it’s like to see the world past 300 km/h.
Words by Aurick Go
Video by Nic Cristobal
2005 Ford GT
Engine and Driveline
Ford Racing Long Tube Headers
Open straight pipe exhaust
Water Methanol Injection
Injector Dynamics 1200cc Injectors (16x)
4.0L Whipple Supercharger
Dual Walbro fuel pumps
Ford PCM Ecu Re-Map
Wheels, Brakes, and Suspension
KW V3 Coilover Suspension Kit
Volk Rays Engineering RE30