How An Auto Writer Became One Of The First Ford GT Owners
We all have a particular dream car. It could be a ’68 Camaro, a Ferrari F430 or a perfectly set-up Jeep, but as time goes on and reality wears on us, our expectations may lessen. We come to grips with the fact that we might not obtain that coveted machine. Who among us is actually able to go out and get their hands on their true dream car? Karl Brauer did, and the story of how acquired his coveted Ford GT is the stuff of auto enthusiast lore.
Brauer is the Senior Director of Insights at Kelley Blue Book, and was previously the Editor-In-Chief of Edmunds.com. The man knows his cars, and turned his love for the automotive into a profitable career. As you may imagine, he is very well connected in the automotive industry. So in 2002, when he first laid eyes on the Ford GT, Brauer began a process of leveraging all his contacts to get his hands on one. It was a process that took years, but it all started in a key moment.
“At the 2002 Detroit show, no one knew the GT was coming,” explained Brauer, “but this yellow and black GT40 Concept comes rolling through Cobo hall, I thought to myself ‘HOLY CRAP’… I fought my way down to get a look up close at it”
Following the announcement of the GT, Brauer knew what he had to do. Pricing had not yet been announced, but Ford had stated that it would be “precedent-setting” in terms of supercar pricing.
“When Ford had announced production in March of 2002, and set the price [of $139,995], I new I had to have it,” said Bauer, “I knew how special this car was going to be. I knew this car was going to be a moment in time. I knew I had to do anything I could to have one.”
So Brauer started reaching out to his Ford contacts. He still had no idea how he would afford one, but knew if he was ever going to have a chance, he had to get the ball rolling early. He called up John Clinard, Ford’s top West Coast PR man at the time. Clinard instructed Karl to write up a document explaining why he wanted/deserved a Ford GT.
Brauer wrote a letter explaining how he was a child of the Hemi Cuda generation and understands when a car can be a special moment in time. The letter was epic, and profound and mushy at times, but it got his foot farther in the door. The letter had been written in March of 2002, and by January of 2004, Karl had not heard if he was on the list. That is when the Super Bowl Ad aired…
“I’m watching the Super Bowl, and the ad comes on; Steve Millen is piloting the Ford GT around Thunderhill Raceway,” explained Karl, “I freaked, because now everyone knew about the car. Every rich asshole on the planet called their servant or handler and said, ‘I must have one’. I was worried.”