UK: Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT - The end of a dream.

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Thread: UK: Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT - The end of a dream.

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    Exclamation UK: Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT - The end of a dream.

    http://driving.timesonline.co.uk/art...7058_1,00.html
    July 03, 2005

    Sorry, Ford, I have to ask for my money back
    By Jeremy Clarkson of The Sunday Times



    Thirty-five years ago I promised myself that one day I’d own a Ford GT40, the blue-collar supercar that took an axle grinder to Ferrari’s aristocratic halo at Le Mans. But 25 years ago my dreams were dashed as I grew too tall to fit inside.
    Happily, in 2002 Ford announced that it was to build a modern-day version of the old racer. It would, they said, cost less than £100,000 and do more than 200mph. They also said it would be much bigger than the original so pylon-people like me would be able to drive it.

    And so, two years ago, having tested a prototype in America, I placed an order for one of the 28 that were coming to Britain.

    As the months groaned by there were rumours of big price increases, insatiable thirst and catastrophic suspension failure. But there were also rumours of the supercharged V8 pumping out 550bhp and a mountain of torque so massive it was breaking the testing equipment. So I didn’t mind.

    I didn’t even mind when it arrived at my house one month ago inside a truck which had “On Time” written down the side. As we know from America’s arrival into the second world war, their concept of “on time” differs slightly from ours.

    And anyway, it looked so gorgeous, a mass of bulging muscle struggling to contain that massive 5.4 litre supercharged heart. It doesn’t look like a GT40 but it looks like a GT40 looks in your head. And it’s huge. Longer than a Volvo XC90 and as wide as a Hummer.

    Which is why, on its first run, to London, it was like a blue and white Pied Piper trailing a stream of ratty hatches in its wake. Everyone was taking pictures, waving, giving me the thumb’s up. Never, not once in 15 years of road testing cars, had anything drawn such a massive crowd. And never had the crowd been so overtly supportive.

    Of course you can’t run a car like this without a few problems rearing their head from time to time. It’s too wide for the width restrictions on Hammersmith bridge — backing up earned me a slot on the traffic news that morning. The turning circle means every mini roundabout becomes a three-point turn, and at oblique junctions, as is the case in a Ferrari Enzo, you absolutely cannot see if anything’s coming.

    But set against this is a surprisingly quiet and civilised ride. It’s like a power station. Silent, as it gets on with the job of brightening up your life.

    Mind you, you are constantly aware of the Herculean power that nestles just over your right shoulder. Partly because you can see the supercharger belt whirring away in the rear-view mirror and partly because it makes a deep, dog-baiting rumble when you do put your foot down.

    Ford asked that I keep the revs below 4000 for the first thousand miles. But since 100mph equates to 1900rpm it’s not really a hardship. And at this speed you’re doing 15mpg, which isn’t bad at all. But three days later everything started to go very, very wrong.

    Leaving the Top Gear studio, the immobiliser refused to un-immobilise itself. So the car was pushed into the hangar and I went home instead in a rented Toyota Corolla.

    Ford sent a tow truck, changed the immobiliser and delivered the car to my house the following day. “Is it fixed?” I asked. “Yes,” they said.

    It wasn’t. At three in the morning the alarm blew. And then again at four. This meant my wife started to refer to it as “that f****** car”, which took away a bit of the sheen, if I’m honest.

    The next day, on the way back to the garage, I received a call on the hands-free phone from the tracker company. “Your car’s been stolen, sir,” said the man. “I’m sure it hasn’t,” I said, “because I’m in it.”

    Fearing that I might be the burglar, the man asked if I could give him my password. Tricky one that, since I have a different password for everything on the internet and can never remember any of them. And that’s a big problem, because the man at the end of the phone has the power to remotely shut down the engine.

    I threatened him, lightly, with some physical harm, but this didn’t work so I had to guess. “Aardvark,” I ventured. “Abacus, Aesop, additional...”

    Eventually he took pity and I was able to deliver the car back to Ford with some stern warnings about the alarm, the immobiliser and the tracker system, all of which seemed to be malfunctioning. As a courtesy car they gave me a Ford Focus, with a diesel engine. Nice.

    Two days later the GT was back. “Is it fixed?” I asked, again. “Yes,” they said

    Five minutes out of the Ford garage I received a text to say my car had been stolen. And then, in the next half hour, three more. So, counting the two I’d received before I was even out of bed, that meant my car had been stolen five times before 9am.

    This time I rang Ford and explained that I would personally come over there and insert the whole car up the chairman’s backside if it wasn’t fixed. And while I was on the phone a yellow warning light came on the dash.

    “There’s a yellow warning light on the dash,” I bellowed, like Michael Winner, only angrier. “Oh, that’ll be something to do with the engine management system,” said the man with the bleeding ears. “You’ll need to get it looked at . . .”

    When Ford gave me the car back after its third hospital trip in as many weeks, I didn’t ask if the security system was fixed. Because the notion of it still being broken was simply inconceivable.

    So imagine my surprise when, one hour later, while at my daughter’s school play, I heard a familiar siren. I couldn’t believe it. The alarm had gone off again.

    In a fury this time, I called Ford and explained, loudly, that Roush, the company charged with servicing and maintaining the 28 GTs in Britain, was plainly incompetent. And that there was simply no point asking it to fix the alarm again because it’d had three goes already.

    I then did something the man at Ford wasn’t expecting. I asked for my money back.

    And that, the next day, is what happened.

    They put £126,000 in my account and sent a man to pick up the car. “Is it the alarm system?” he said. “They all do that.”

    So there we are. A 35-year dream. A two-year wait. Ten years of d4mn hard work. And what do I get? The most miserable month’s motoring it is possible to imagine.

    Strangely, however, as the GT rumbled down my drive for the last time, I felt like Julie Walters watching Michael Caine getting on the plane at the end of Educating Rita. I actually cried.

    There’s a very good reason for this. I genuinely believe that some machines have a soul and I can’t bear to think of my Ford sitting in a warehouse now, unloved and unwanted. It is fine. It is perfect. It knows it’s a great, great car that was ruined by a useless ape who fitted a crummy aftermarket alarm system.

    Ford has said I can buy the car back any time. It has even lent me an Aston Martin DB9 while I make up my mind. I don’t know though. I just don’t know.

    Normally I finish these columns with an opinion of mine. But this time it’s the other way round. I’d love to hear yours.

    One thing: I know I could sell the car privately and make a £50,000 profit. But I have never profited from my position as a motoring journalist. And I never will.



    VITAL STATISTICS

    Model: Ford GT
    Engine: 5409cc V8 supercharged
    Power: 550bhp @ 6500rpm
    Torque: 500lb ft @ 3750rpm
    Transmission: Six-speed manual
    Fuel: 14.6mpg (combined cycle)
    CO2: N/A
    Acceleration 0-60mph: 3.8sec
    Top speed: 212mph
    Price: £126,000

    Verdict: So good you can have mine
    Rating: Five stars

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    Re: UK: Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT - The end of a dream.

    An AFTERMARKET ALARM SYSTEM. Oh, that's nice of him to mention that. Need I say more? Poor poor Jeremy.

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    Re: UK: Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT - The end of a dream.

    when I read it I wasn't surprised.ALMOST EVERY OWNER OF A CAR IMPORTED FROM USA OR CANADA HAS SIMILAR PROBLEMS.It doesn't matter if it's a TOYLETA Solara or an U.S-made Ford.The main problem is lack of professional service-men.The GT case is even more complicated-it's a posh,expensive and rare exotic.There's no amateur who would fix even such a small break as alarm system.Of course Ford did wrong when they signed a contract with an immature company.They should have moved some of their SVT-specialists to U.K to take care of the GTs.On the other hand Jeremy should have known that it's always a risk to buy a such a rare car.
    Very rich who own Bentleys in my country,service their cars abroad.They don't look for help in Poland cause they know they wouldn't find any.

    BTW,my father has a Grand Cherokee and the official Chrysler service-shop broke the alarm system in the car and they told us -"we can't repair it",my father asks "why?"
    -"because we don't know how to do it" it explains everything I guess.
    Last edited by powervette; 07-03-2005 at 04:55 AM.

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    Re: UK: Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT - The end of a dream.

    "aftermarket"
    So it isnt the fualt of hte car itself that Jeremy sent it back.
    The car is great. end of discussion.

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    Re: UK: Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT - The end of a dream.

    I'm not sure if it was an Aftermarket Alarm/Immobilizer, because if it was, then the warranty would be affected and Ford would be mad with Jeremy and they probably wouldn't refund him.

    Clarkson, mentioned the repair was done under the warranty - therefore it couldn't be, an aftermarket system - And by the way: I Cannot believe, that such an expensive car as the Ford GT, doesn't come with an Alarm and Immobilizer as a standard equipment.

    I Don't think, Jeremy hated the car, because he was constantly praising the Ford GT; and as you can see in his article, apart of the problem, he still liked the car.

    - Since Ferraris and Lamborghinis are Unreliable too and their owners don't much care about that – Clarkson was aware that Ford, probably would be an unreliable car, but, then again, he probably would not mind that much, since he wasn’t worried when Ford announced the suspension recall for the GT.

    In my opinion, It wasn't the reliability that was the major let down, it was the dealer service that was unable to fix the Alarm fault.

    And let's face it: When you pay 25,000K for a problematic car, with a problem the dealer can't fix, you get angry. No matter, how good your car may be, you will get angry.

    But, when you pay 100,000K for a car, that doesn't work properly and the dealer is incompetent to fix the same fault - again no matter how excellent your car is, you will get seriously angry.

    I Think Jeremy Clarkson did the right thing, asking for his money back, since there ain't no point to own an expensive, unreliable car which the dealer staff simply don't know how to fix it.
    Last edited by Kowalski; 07-03-2005 at 12:52 PM.

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    Re: UK: Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT - The end of a dream.

    Jeremy Clarkson said:
    One thing: I know I could sell the car privately and make a £50,000 profit. But I have never profited from my position as a motoring journalist. And I never will.
    I respect him for that.

    Let's be honest, if anyone of us could make a profit of 50k after blasting the car for a month; I can definitely say, about 95% of us will.

    Jay Leno who also owns a Ford GT probably would...

    Most of American celebrities are tossers anyway...JUST KIDDING!

    Anyway, I feel sorry for Jeremy.

    He had to wait 2 years to get his dream car, and now he has, the car is a huge disappointment.

    Maybe its a case of you should never meet your heroes.

    - Like James May for instance - The other Top Gear presenter, with the Lamborghini Countach.

    James dreamed of owning a Countach - It was his dream car since he was a teenager. Until he drove one in 2003 - and realized his dream car was a Nightmare.

    Much like Richard Hammond with the Dodge Charger, it may have been his dream car but there wasn't much point him having it, it's too big for UK roads, very unreliable and very expensive to run.

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    Re: UK: Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT - The end of a dream.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kowalski
    Jeremy Clarkson said:


    I respect him for that.

    Let's be honest, if anyone of us could make a profit of 50k after blasting the car for a month; I can definitely say, about 95% of us will.

    Jay Leno who also owns a Ford GT probably would...

    Most of American celebrities are tossers anyway...JUST KIDDING!

    Anyway, I feel sorry for Jeremy.

    He had to wait 2 years to get his dream car, and now he has, the car is a huge disappointment.

    Maybe its a case of you should never meet your heroes.

    - Like James May for instance - The other Top Gear presenter, with the Lamborghini Countach.

    James dreamed of owning a Countach - It was his dream car since he was a teenager. Until he drove one in 2003 - and realized his dream car was a Nightmare.

    Much like Richard Hammond with the Dodge Charger, it may have been his dream car but there wasn't much point him having it, it's too big for UK roads, very unreliable and very expensive to run.

    Did Richard actually get rid of the car or does he still have it.

    On to the point, it was quite painful to watch JC for two years drooling over this car and having to return it.

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    Re: UK: Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT - The end of a dream.

    This is really sad, especially when you consider that Ford touts the GT as "the pace car for an entire company." What does this say about the rest of their cars?

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    Re: UK: Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT - The end of a dream.

    Quote Originally Posted by 04Malibu
    This is really sad, especially when you consider that Ford touts the GT as "the pace car for an entire company." What does this say about the rest of their cars?
    Uhhh, that is just a marketing slogan. That is not evidence that the GT is more reliable than any other Ford.

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    Re: UK: Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT - The end of a dream.

    The system on Mr. Clarkson's GT to the best of my knowledge is NOT a factory system. Probably installed by the dealer, but it is not standard equipment from the factory, or optional equipment (the only options on the 2005 GT are the McIntosh hi-fi stereo, different wheels, painted brake calipers, and your choice of racing stripes). Mr. Clarkson's beef should be entirely with the people who put this system on the car, not the people who built the car. That said, there is NO REASON, why this problem cannot be fixed. He just needs to take it to the right people. He should call someone in Dearborn and I'm sure they'd be happy to help him out in sending a technician to fix this, even though it isn't their responsibility).

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    Re: UK: Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT - The end of a dream.

    he should get a vette Z06

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    Re: UK: Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT - The end of a dream.

    Quote Originally Posted by 04Malibu
    This is really sad, especially when you consider that Ford touts the GT as "the pace car for an entire company." What does this say about the rest of their cars?
    it says to me I need to buy myself a ford ASAP if htey are half as exciting and beautiful as a ford GT.

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    Re: UK: Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT - The end of a dream.

    Quote Originally Posted by 327
    he should get a vette Z06
    How would he? He hates Vauxhalls, he probably hates Saabs and Caddys 'casue of the Vauxhall connection (GM), so what would be the point of him getting a Vette?

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    Re: UK: Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT - The end of a dream.

    Jermey Clarkson is a annoying person, who cares if he gave up a great car. He doesn't deserve a nice FORD GT. He has the dumbest comment's on the car's he tests and if there AMERICAN he really doesn't like them. Top Gear was and fifth gear is a stupid,pointless and misleading show. Jermey Clarkson can go back to driving his Ferrari's , and what ever else he may own, but guarantee they'll break even worse then the GT and he won't say a word.

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    Re: UK: Jeremy Clarkson's Ford GT - The end of a dream.

    While in Ireland last week, I caught an episode of Top Gear. I think Jeremy is quite entertaining.
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