Petrolicious takes a drive with artist Camilo Pardo and the 2005 Ford GT he designed
“I was on a mission to be on automotive designer”
The aspirations of a teenage Camilo Pardo, who would secure a job with Ford in 1985 before going on to design the 2005 Ford GT. Not a bad career trajectory there…
The significance of the Ford GT is probably lost on no-one. As part of its on-going centenary celebrations, the Blue Oval worked hard to revive some of its more recognisable ‘heritage’ names, Mustang, Thunderbird and, of course, GT40 being towards the top of that list (the latter’s quartet of consecutive Le Mans victories remain among the most famous the event has ever known). Differing only subtly from the GT40 original, key changes to the GT project – then going under the name ‘Petunia’ – lay beneath. The new 5.4-litre supercharged V8 for instance produced 550bhp, 65bhp more than the 7-litre engined GT40 Mk IV. Moreover, the GT was also 3in taller for practicality reasons (it was briefly dubbed the GT43) and wider in the hopes that such a platform would improve the handling. Camilo, who’s since owned three GTs, couldn’t agree more: “This car feels so rigid, it’s like I’m talking to the pavement.”
What few may know however is that, at the 11th hour ahead of its debut at the 2005 Detroit Motor Show, production plans for the re-imagined Ford GT40 were pulled.
“When we started the GT [project], it was specifically a production car,” Camilo explains. “There was no concept. Management was excited enough about it that they said, ‘alright, let’s start up a concept vehicle too, and we’ll run them parallel’. But as we approached the auto show, they cancelled the production car.
“It was disappointing, because my goal was to do a concept vehicle that really looked like a production car. It then rolled out on to the showroom, the response was really good, and then later there was presentation. Nick Scheele went up on stage, his arms outstretched, and announced to the world, ‘we are going to build it’. Basically it propelled itself back into existence.”
Re-enter Camilo. As well as being a designer, he’s also an accomplished painter, having put brush to canvas to create icons such as the Ferrari 288 GTO, the Ferrari 512 S Berlinetta, the Ferrari 330 P4 (spot the theme) and the Shelby Cobra, a model he’d also like to take a crack at re-designing. It’s this that brought Petrolicious knocking on his door.
Unsurprisingly, Camilo’s first Ford GT was bought hot off the press in 2005, but it was only when his second ‘heritage edition’ model came along that the idea of bespoke liveries struck. His first sold at auction, his second – a metallic blue with a white nose and matching racing stripe – was created specifically for himself. He didn’t stop there though, moving from blue to a “more aggressive” all-white with black bonnet, akin to GT40 design used during the 1960s. The GT Camilo drives today though is the sixth for which he has created a bespoke livery, a rather stunning combination of metallic silver and bronzed-yellow across the bonnet.
“There’s nothing like driving a vehicle that you personally have put a lot of time into.” Amen to that…