The GDT in the GDT Speedster stands for the Gene Dickirson Team. Like many of the team members, Gene Dickirson is a retired Ford Motor Co. engineer who grew up wanting to build an entire car from scratch. He put his team together early in 2000. They had to design and fabricate some 2,000 component parts, plus do all of the vehicle electronics. But the car was finished in November, and since then they’ve put nearly 700 miles on the Speedster, making sure it’s ready for its eventual owner.
The process used to design, develop and fabricate the GDT Speedster officially began on 6 February 2000 when the team held its first meeting. The first few meetings were held on Sunday afternoons at the workshop in Plymouth, Michigan. Due to schedules it was more convenient for the majority of the team members to meet near their regular work offices so the meetings were held at a restaurant in Allen Park or Dearborn, Michigan during lunch hours. Meetings were held approximately every two weeks for the next three years of the project. After the major components of the vehicle were assembled the meetings returned to our workshop.
The nine-member team wants to sell the car so it can start working on another, again based on a Corvette powertrain, but again with unique bodywork.
Craig Sandvig, a nonretired team member whose day job has him working in a Ford design studio, did the Speedster styling with help from retired Ford staffer Larry Ronzi. Larry Conger of Digital Design Inc. did the surface work to reproduce their design into the Speedster’s fiberglass body.
Dickirson said the team’s goal was to create a sports car that weighed 3,300 pounds, but they actually came in 60 pounds under that figure. The team used the Corvette underpinnings because of its backbone-style chassis and proven V8 powertrain.
Using a windshield from a Cherokee saved a lot of development expense, Dickirson said, noting that a one-off, but street-legal windshield can cost up to $50,000 — and he admits that the team broke three Cherokee windshields until they finally got things figured out.
The way the doors fit into the bodywork also was a huge challenge, but the team came through with ½-mm of clearance.
Among the car’s other unique features are its exhaust system — and a rear license plate holder that can be removed to better display the exhaust pipes at car shows — and the way the ignition key is hidden from view.
The price for such a vehicle is negotiable, but figure to spend north of $350,000, and know going into the deal that this car comes with neither a radio nor cup holders. But it will come with head-turning attention like perhaps nothing else on the road.