In a world where new car photos are leaked all the time, Ford managed to keep the all-new 2016 Ford GT a complete secret for more than a year. For 14 months, the design and manufacturing of Ford’s 600 horsepower supercar remained under lock-and-key, in a super-secret, unassuming basement storage room.
Only a small number of employees had access to the storage room, using actual old-school metal keys instead of the electronic ID cards usually used to get employees access to the building. In fact, losing this particular key just might get you fired. The employees were aware of the project only on a need-to-know basis, and were sworn to secrecy. Not even friends or family were allowed to know what their loved ones were working on all day (and often at night and on the weekends, too).
On occasion, the team would take the car outside for testing and to assess the project in the light of day. This only happened on weekends or days when no one else was around. The project – code name Phoenix – turned out to be a complete success, since not one photo was leaked until the 2016 Ford GT was officially revealed at last month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
According to autonews.com, keeping rivals like Acura (who revealed their NSX supercar just after the secret Ford GT was revealed) in the dark was certainly a benefit to its super-secret production, but the true reason behind all the secrecy was to speed up the decision-making process. Bureaucracy can bog the entire process down, and on a short timeline, it was beneficial to involve as few people as possible.
“Usually, we like to encourage, especially on important programs, wide input from around the world,” Moray Callum, Ford’s global design chief, said. “But on this one, we sort of realized both in terms of time and the element of keeping it quiet that we probably had to change the process here, so we picked a small group of designers.”
Here at Cambridge Classic Ford, we are drooling over the GT. What do you think? Was the GT worth keeping a secret? Tell us in the comments!