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B-J's and AA's auctions prove that if you dishonor your Heritage you will pay the price. [Buyers, however, won't even offer half of it.]

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On: Mon, May 16, 2016 at 10:21AM | By: Andrew W Davis

B-J's and AA's auctions prove that if you dishonor your Heritage you will pay the price. [Buyers, however, won't even offer half of it.]

While the car you see above looks like every other “Heritage Edition” Ford GT, this one hides a terrible secret: Somebody invested a fortune into cutting its value in half. Yes, you read that right. Someone bought one of the ultra-rare and ultra-desirable Gulf-liveried 2006 Ford GTs and basically destroyed it in the most pathetically-ironic way: They turned it into a “racecar.”

Remember way back on March 24, when I said of the Thundertaker that “when you commission a car to be built just for you, chances are good that you will be the only one who will ever pay full price for it”? Well, who has two thumbs and is giddy that the thing sold for just $110k—proving the aforementioned point? THIS GUY!

*Ahem.* As I didn't want to ruin my thus-far-perfect prognostication record (1 and 0, baby!) by writing anything pre-auction, I'll instead tell you about another way you can lose piles of cash via “customizing” a car, as illustrated by four recent auction offerings from Barrett-Jackson's Palm Beach (April 8-10) and Auctions America's Fort Lauderdale (April 1-3) auctions: Turn it into a “racecar.”

Now there are four ways you can go about owning a limited-edition supercar like a Heritage Edition Ford GT:
First, you seal it in a bubble the second it rolls off the assembly line and keep it—and every bit of its related ephemera (including each mote of assembly-line dust)—sealed-off somewhere very Area 51-adjacent, as apparently happened to Barrett-Jackson's “Less than 5 actual miles” GT, Lot 401.

Second, you do much the same thing, only you actually DRIVE IT. But only with the utmost of care, and not very far, and only in perfect weather on perfect roads. That gives you a GT like Lot 426, which—at the same sale as the car above—B-J called “absolutely pristine throughout” despite its “3,050 actual miles.”

Third, you are respectful of the fact that the car is rare and expensive, but you also realize that you didn't buy a painting or sculpture; you bought a car that will scare the wee out of you any time you want to nail the loud pedal, and you always want to. It may not be your “daily driver”, but you're gonna do your best to drive it every chance you get, damn the mileage and assumed future hit to its resale value.

[Nobody auctioned-off one like this over the weekend, I'm afraid, so I have no sale link for you. I just put it in because I'm thorough when it comes to my single-data-point suppositions.]

Righty-o. Assuming you read the start of this article, you already know the “Fourth” option: Utterly ruining it by spending lots of money to do whatever Auctions America is calling a “full track car conversion”, only to find out what the owner did when he listed it as Lot 214 at AA's Ford Lauderdale sale: NOBODY WANTS THAT. And when I give you the deets momentarily on the value(s) bidders placed on these originally identical vehicles, you'll see that my use of full caps is FULLY JUSTIFIED.

B-J Palm Beach Lot 401: 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition (“less than 5” miles); Sale price: $467,500 [Apr. 9, 2016]

Don't let my James Bond-ian looks and swagger fool you. Expensive cars, on the whole, terrify me.

Part of it is the worry of what the owner would do to me if I binned their priceless ride, but most of it is what I call “Supermodel Syndrome”. You see, some of God's creations are just meant to be appreciated from afar, and there are few things worse—socially, anyway—than finding out too late that you've crossed the line between “polite admiration” and “annoying imposition.”

[I hear that the biggest clue of which side of the line you’re on is the number of burly bodyguards that are wrestling you to the ground. And, in all cases, if you use my advice, the answer will always be “zero”.]

Ford's stated goal with its resurrected GT model was to create the “approachable” supercar, aka one that the average (rich) person could just climb into and drive without suffering from the histrionics typical of its imported competition.

And I can say from personal experience that they (mostly) achieved their goal. If you don't worry about what it costs—something only journalists do, I'm sure—a Ford GT is no more intimidating to drive than a Shelby Mustang or Chevy Corvette.

But all that comfort you got from that friendly familiarity goes right out the window with a car like Lot 401. Thanks to its seemingly having been sealed behind protective glass with every sticker and stitch of plastic wrap still in place—the very thought of this GT makes me immediately revert to my “Pebble Beach Best-of-Show Winner Mode”, wherein I don't want to get within five feet of the thing for fear of disturbing its layer of protective oxygen molecules.

I would literally be more at ease around an ACTUAL Ford GT—the Le Mans-winning, John Wyer kind—than this visual reproduction, because even though those cars are worth many, many multiples of this one, at least they've had enough people in, on, and around them so that you don’t feel that adding your butt print to the list would cause any catastrophic drop in value.

Now, if you can afford a Ford GT—any Ford GT—your definition of “catastrophic” is guaranteed to be different than mine, but regardless of your finances I can now tell you—down to the dollar—what all that fussing-about-with protection and fighting the urge to drive his GT “earned” this seller, so you can judge for yourself: $55k.

That's right; for the privilege of never laying a finger on his Ford GT the seller of the five-mile-old lot earned “just” (again, relative) $55k more than the seller of Lot 426, a nearly identical model that not only doesn’t come hermetically-wrapped in shipping plastic, it was actually driven an entire 3,045 additional miles!

*Gasp* I know! But, no, seriously...

B-J Palm Beach Lot 426: 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition (3,050 miles); Sale price: $412,500 [Apr. 9, 2016]

After many hours of wrestling with the figures (mostly spent just trying to remember in what order you enter which numbers to achieve a desired result), my calculator told me that if you spread that $55k over 3,045 miles it comes to $1.80 a mile in “additional” depreciation, all other things being equal.

[Two math jokes in one sentence! A personal best!]

Which got me to thinking: I would gladly pay double—nay, triple—that amount to have a Ford GT at my disposal, especially one wearing those (inexplicably) sexy Gulf Oil colors.

Now, somebody would've had to pay the original MSRP back in '06—plus the decade's worth of insurance and maintenance costs—on my behalf, but, as my figures show, it would've been a total win-win for everyone involved.

[As I will prove as soon as you enter into an identical agreement with me and the 2017 Ford GT you can't afford NOT to afford for me.]

For those of you out there who may be saying nay regarding my careful calculations, I can only point you to the ads you can find in most car magazines that offer you the chance to drive an “exotic” car—most of which pale in comparison to a Ford GT of any stripe (ha!)—but only when carefully supervised on a closed course.

According to said ad, you have two courses to choose from, and each is 1.2 miles in length. To account (ha again!) for this discrepancy—and sweeten any future pots—I have arrived at $8 a fair per-mile “compensation”, an amount you're about to see will make you rich.

This is how lending me you car will actually make you money: In the ad, it would cost you $299 for just five laps in a plain-old C7 Corvette Z06, while something more worthy of comparison to a Ford GT—say, a Lamborghini Aventador—is a whopping $499.

Their “cheapest” car—a Porsche Cayman S—runs $199. That's almost $40 a lap, or a full $32 more than my/your Ford GT, and we can drive our car anywhere we want, with whomever we want, for as long as we, well, can afford the fuel!

I am telling you—as a professional teller of things—there is no way we can lose! And don't take my word for it, just ask my calculator. It says we are BOTH 110 percent sure that the numbers I entered and manipulated fully support the claims I'm basing on them.

Heck, the only possible way we could lose money—and we'd have to be supremely stupid to do it—would be to “convert” our GT into a “racecar.”

And what kind of idiot would do that?...

Auctions America Fort Lauderdale Lot 214: 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition Racecar (has no odo, so miles “estimated at less than 2,500”); High bid: $220,000 [Apr. 1, 2016]

I, um… gimme a sec. Look, you may not know me well enough to know that any time I purposefully use math it's a “Code Red” situation, and not the nauseating Mountain Dew kind.

[Actually, given the way my stomach feels right now, it's EXACTLY that kind. Only worse. And for some reason it's also making me want to scream “YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!” at Tom Cruise.]

Anyhoo, I’ve always loved the saying, “The best way to make a small fortune in (fill in the blank) is to start with a big one”. Up until now I associated it purely with automobile racing on the track, but after seeing it so perfectly encapsulated in this vehicle, I'm going to go so far as to say it applies to racing in general.

Even implying the word “racecar”—if it even IS a word, AA; my journalistic jury's still out on that—can be associated with the primarily-pavement-oriented vehicle you're trying to sell doesn't just limit the amount you'll sell it for, but the number of people you can possibly sell it to.

Look at it like “rental car.” To some, that phrase means “run away as fast as you can”. But when it came to the cars under my care in my fleet at Enterprise Rent-A-Car it meant that, yes, a lot of idiots did bad things in it, but there was an automotive expert on stand-by ready to remedy any ills (and keep it properly maintained—per its official service schedule—which most owners don't even do).

[Does that mean I would feel comfortable buying one? No. No, it does not. And I knew them from their car-carrier cradle to their 36k-mile end-of-service grave.]

Anyway, back to this mess. My first pass at writing this bit went “I don't know what all that 'racecar' gear cost to add, but I can tell you EXACTLY what it took away from the dork who did it: $192,500 (and that's including the 500 'estimated' fewer miles).”

But then I re-read Auctions America's description—like 15 times to make sure I wasn't misreading it or having a VERY specific stroke—and found that:

“The car was purchase [sic] new by a dealer in Seattle and professionally converted to the track car you see here, at a cost of $180,000, with very low miles shown at the time.

“The following modifications have been made to the car; Penske Race Suspension system and stiffeners, racing-type four-wheel disc brake system, performance pulley on the supercharger, performance tune on the engine, lightweight race interior, racing exhaust system, full rollcage, plus radio and transponder.”

After I regained consciousness—and subsequently spent an inordinate amount of time laughing at their grammar—I realized that not only did this guy (C'mon, ladies, that isn't sexist. You want to take credit for this? Didn't think so.) manage to “lose” over $192k in value by modifying his car, but he paid almost that same amount to do so.

Regardless of what he paid at the start of this nightmare—hell, let's even say the car was free—my calculator says (at best) $372,500 in value evaporated thanks to its “conversion.”

[I'd make a Scientology joke here, but I like the assets I currently own, few and wee as they may be...]

So instead I'll let Auctions America play me out with their own tortured witticisms, aka the string of words they assembled to try and put lipstick on this proverbial pig:

“The car had very limited use from 2006 to 2009 and was in storage from 2009 until 2014 when it was sold by the original owner; so we are told. The car is not fitted with a conventional odometer. The owner estimates the miles at less than 2,500. Again, we emphasize the car is an original Heritage GT, which usually sell at a premium, and that the additional conversion expense is an added value rarely seen. The race track almost seems to be the perfect venue for such a machine; perhaps similar to one that runs through a quiet French countryside.”

“So we are told”? “Usually sell at a premium”? “Added value rarely seen”? Stop, guys, seriously. You'd be appearing before Congress right now if they applied human being torture rules to what you're doing to the English language.

[OK, OK, I've had my fun. The auction company did the best they could with what they were given, and as I would like to avoid being blacklisted by them (that still happens, right?), I'll pass along the fact that—as of this writing—the vehicle is still for sale, and if you are interested in making an offer, you can “contact one of Auctions America's Car Specialists at (260) 927-9797.”]

Should you need help deciding exactly how much to offer—or want proof that the “racecar” sale-fail wasn't a fluke—I offer Lot 541, another Ford GT AA sold later on during the same auction that, despite being far less prized (and pricey) than the Heritage models you’ve read about thus far, not only sold, but did so for a hundred grand more than poor Lot 214...

Auctions America Fort Lauderdale Lot 541: 2005 Ford GT (“approximately” 2,500 miles); Sale price: $319,000 [Apr. 2, 2016]

Just like the “racecar” above, this Ford GT was offered by the same company in the same place at the same auction and even with the same sketchy description of its odometer reading.

[Though this one actually HAS an odo, so… reasons?]

But even though this was not one of the ultra-desirable “Heritage Edition” cars, it not only sold, but did so thanks to a bid nearly a hundred grand higher than the best one the modified car achieved.

[And this sale even supports my use of phrase “ultra-desirable” when you compare this car's rarity—claimed as “one of only 58 Mk II Black 2005 cars without stripes” and “one of 11 stripe-delete Mk II Black cars with grey calipers” (like THAT means jack squat)—to that of the 2006-only “Heritage” models', of which either 363 (Auctions America's claim) or 343 (B-J's) were made.]

The production numbers that really count when it comes to this Ford GT—and GTs in general—are these: Just 4,038 were made overall, and of the 2,022 made in 2005, only 237 were black.

And while I can't find tell of the number of cars built that DIDN'T have all four available options on them—”overhead” stripes, lightweight BBS wheels, McIntosh Audiophile Sound System and painted brake calipers—nearly every GT that comes to auction DOES, making the rare lack of an option seem like a perverse positive these days.

[It really only makes sense in this singular situation, as if you want a Ford GT that has even the illusion of stealthiness, buying a stripeless black one is the only way to go.]

And speaking of going, I'll leave you with this last little tidbit from Lot 541's description, as it puts all Ford GT sales into perspective: despite—or perhaps because of—its $8,250 in options, the MSRP listed on this car's Monroney is $161,595, meaning that despite the years and miles that have passed, this car has nearly doubled in value.

Not bad for a model Ford had to cut production short on as they could hardly give them away when new. Heck, things were SO bad that they had to resort to resurrecting a famous color scheme from the original Ford GT’s heyday just to move a few hundred more units.

I cannot imagine how terrible the folks at Ford who shut down production of those retro turquoise-and-tangerine GTs before even 400 were built must feel whenever they see what their sales Hail Mary pass—called, you guessed it, the Heritage Edition—sells for now.

But you can be sure of one thing: When—not if—the Gulf colors appear on the upcoming Ford GT, they’ll be able to sell as many as they care to make.

I’d stake my perfect prognostication record on it.

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