Written by Scott Black
Barrett-Jackson has created decades of memorable moments, but one that will live at the pinnacle of every enthusiast’s dreams was the unbelievable – and unexpected – gathering of third-generation Ford GTs at the 2018 Scottsdale Auction. A trio of the magnificent supercars were displayed inside Ford Motor Company’s exhibit, while a fourth drove over the auction block. These cars represented almost 10 percent of the world’s Ford GTs.
As if the plethora of rare Ford GTs wasn’t special enough, two of the cars were paired with matching Shelby cars based on Ford’s Mustang: One was a 1967 supercharged Shelby GT350 fastback, while the other was a supercharged 2008 Barrett-Jackson Edition Shelby GT convertible.
Who owned these magnificent machines?
“The new Ford GT is simply one of the most impressive cars in the world,” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “It was engineered to dominate both on the street and track. It was battle-proven during its first race at Le Mans when the cars came in first, third and fourth. The dazzling turbocharged engine and advanced suspension in tandem with that gorgeous bodywork demonstrates an amazing technological prowess. Once the car was announced, I was driven to own one that matched my supercharged Shelby GT.”
Securing one of these American supercars was no easy task, as Ford stated that it would only offer 250 of them worldwide, per model year. That contrasts with the approximately 4,000 of the second-generation Ford GT built in 2005 and 2006. The application to purchase a GT was very comprehensive, with points awarded for various enthusiast-based criteria.
Ford wanted the cars to go to people who were influential in the collector car world. So Jackson and Davis were each awarded one by the company’s performance division.
Once the two men were notified that they were selected to be among the first to own new Ford GTs, they faced the challenging task of personalizing them.
“My 1967 Shelby was undergoing a complete restoration while I was completing that application process,” explained Davis. “I had many photos of my grandsons next to the car throughout the seven-year process, which in many ways defined their childhood. I determined that if I was lucky enough to get one, my Ford GT would sit next to my supercharged Shelby in matching Brittany Blue with twin white stripes. It was a big dream that fortunately came true.”
Jackson opted to cloak his Ford GT in black with Barrett-Jackson red racing stripes, just like his limited-edition Barrett-Jackson 2008 Ford Shelby GT. That car, which is serial #001 in the series, was supercharged by the Shelby factory in Las Vegas.
Once the hand-built cars were delivered to Arizona, Ford Motor Company surprised the men with a request to display the supercars and matching Shelbys in their 2018 Scottsdale auction display next to a Merlot-colored Ford GT press car. As a bonus, businessman Ron Pratte donated his Liquid Blue 2017 Ford GT to charity for auction at the same event. On the final Saturday of the event, that car sold for $2.5 million to benefit the Autism Society of North Carolina.
“We were honored by Ford’s request to place our Ford GTs and Shelbys in their display,” added Davis. “All of the Fords looked equally incredible, but each was important in a completely different way. Craig’s two cars were there promoting Barrett-Jackson’s ‘Driven Hearts’ charity campaign. Born 50 years apart, my 1967 Shelby and 2017 Ford GT sat side by side, painted the same color. This incredible snapshot represented five decades of performance for Ford and years of a very personal journey by my family through our time in the collector car community.”
For Jackson and Davis, who snagged Ford Racing Team owner and Le Mans winner Chip Ganassi to sign their cars during the auction, it was a very special moment they were able to share with everyone who attended Barrett-Jackson.
“The unique display lived up to the excitement that Ford hoped to generate,” Jackson noted. “It also allowed the public to see that we are truly car people with a story, just like them. Given the rarity of the cars, there may never be another gathering of Ford GTs and Shelbys in such a public forum again. It was without question a special Barrett-Jackson moment.”