The 2017 Ford GT debuted with a bang at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, but the modern iteration of the iconic racer that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans looked as it were a concept car rather than a supercar ready to hit the assembly line. This impression was just confirmed by the first test mule Ford took out on a spin near Detroit, where our trusty paparazzi are always ready to take snapshots of each prototype that leaves FoMoCo’s development facility.

Set to break cover in production form sometime in 2016 for the 2017 model year, the Ford GT looks far from ready. This means we can forget about what Ford showcased in Detroit, as the development process will likely bring significant changes to the concept. Sure, the design won’t change much overall, but certain body panels and parts will be revised in the wind tunnel for improved aerodynamics.

Same goes for the engine. Although Ford already told us the GT will employ a new 3.5-liter, EcoBoost V-6, it seems the manufacturer it won’t have much to share over the next few months, with the mule barely out of the factory. But until Ford decides to tell us more, let’s have a closer look at this GT mule below.

Continue reading to find out more about the Ford GT prototype.

2017 Ford GT - Spy Shots

2017 Ford GT Caught On The Road: Spy Shots Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Ford GT Caught On The Road: Spy Shots Exterior Spyshots
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2017 Ford GT Caught On The Road: Spy Shots Exterior Spyshots
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While the concept car shown in Detroit was downright stunning, the mule looks as if it was assembled in a hurry, with ill-fitting panels all around. The side skirts, doors and front fenders are in desperate need of adjustment, while the headlamps are fitted rather sloppily.

The mule also misses several components seen on the concept, such as the front grille, the fancy headlamps, the taillights and the rear diffuser.

Of course, this is a natural process in the life of a prototype, but in this case it confirms that the GT we saw in Detroit was just a polished show car that had nothing much to do with the actual production model.

The mule also misses several components seen on the concept, such as the front grille, the fancy headlamps, the taillights and the rear diffuser. Although it looks pretty cool with all the internals exposed under the exhaust pipes, don’t expect this arrangement to continue on the finished product. As you may have already noticed, the mule came out to play unpainted, another hint that the GT is in its early development.

Missing parts and prototype components aside, the mule also features different side mirrors and wipers than the car at the Detroit Auto Show. These appear to be more production-friendly and they might just make it onto the final version.

You can read our speculative review here.

Why it matters

Like I said, this mule confirms that Ford rushed to introduce the GT at the Detroit Auto Show, even though it didn’t have a car that was ready to go into production. Of course, a lot of supercars return to the factory for further development and testing after they’re shown to the public, but the GT wasn’t more than just a concept car — which Ford failed to mention — back in January 2015. With development of the third-gen GT now well underway, I expect to see more of Ford’s new supercar in the near future.

What do you think?
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