The unveiling of the Ford GT at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show was surprising, mostly because it was, well, a surprise.
In the age of the Internet, it’s hard to keep anything that big a secret. Things leak out, and many times carmakers jump the gun themselves with endless teasers, as if they were selling the next Avengers movie instead of automobiles.
Yet while there were rumors of a new GT ahead of Detroit, there was no hard evidence that the car would be there, and Ford kept the secret.
How did that happen? Ford hid the GT in a basement for its entire gestation, according to Automotive News (subscription required).
For 14 months, the car was locked in a basement storage room, and only a handful of employees were given keys.
They stuck with the car through its entire development program, working mostly at night to further obscure what was going on, and occasionally taking the GT outside on weekends to see it in natural light.
Like previous secret Ford projects, the new GT also got a codename: Phoenix.
Secrecy wasn’t just to keep the public and competitors guessing, though.
The GT was developed in an incredibly short period of time, and the team reportedly wanted to avoid the inevitable slowdowns caused by the corporate bureaucracy.
The project was approved in 2013, but Ford wanted it finished for 2016, in time to celebrate the original GT’s legendary 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans win over Ferrari.
Involving fewer people allowed the team to make decisions more quickly, but designers were also reportedly nervous that they were working with too little feedback.
Now that the GT is finally out in the open and ready to stick it to the latest Ferrari 488 GTB, it seems like those fears were unfounded.