Here’s the 2020 Ford GT Liquid Carbon

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Carbon fiber — a lightweight and robust material made by suspending fibers or weaves of carbon in resin or ceramic matrix — is becoming one of the most popular materials for automotive manufacturing. When made correctly, it can be more than three times stronger than steel. It’s also stiffer than its metallic counterpart, at a fraction of the weight, making it attractive to brands that are looking for ways to cut vehicle weight while increasing fuel efficiency and maintaining safety ratings. 

While you might find carbon fiber accents or accessories on most modern cars, what’s stopping us from making the entire vehicle out of this material?  

Image: MotorTrend

Introducing the 2020 Ford GT Liquid Carbon

We already love the Ford GT. It has power and style, and you can’t mistake it when it passes you on the highway. The standard GT will set you back around $500,000, but it cranks out 660 horsepower from the 3.5L twin-turbo V6 under the hood. 

This year also brings with it plenty of tweaks and upgrades, from enhanced pistons and ignition coils to air duct changes that increase engine airflow by more than 50%. It even has a titanium exhaust system that gives the GT a sexy, throaty growl while shaving more pounds off its curb weight. 

If you’ve got an extra quarter-million burning a hole in your pocket, you can opt for the Liquid Carbon body — bare carbon fiber protected by a clear coat. It’s the answer to the question, “Why can’t we just make the entire thing out of carbon fiber?” While we can, it represents its own set of challenges. 

The Challenge of Carbon Fiber

The reason carbon fiber is so strong is that it’s hundreds of thousands of tiny carbon fibers — each thinner than a human hair — threaded together in intricate weaves. Then, these fibers are suspended in resin and shaped to meet the needs of the manufacturer. 

In a typical car, you might have a carbon fiber hood. However, most of the time, it’s going to be covered with paint so that the weaves don’t have to be flawless. Any imperfections don’t affect the final surface of the carbon fiber and get covered by the paint. 

Liquid Carbon GT’s don’t have the paint to hide any flaws, so if something goes wrong or a weave gets twisted, in the words of Ford’s engineering director Dave Pericak, “it sticks out like a sore thumb.” That also means that nearly every piece of the Liquid Carbon’s body is hand-made to ensure that everything lines up, and there is nothing to ruin the car’s perfectly sleek look. 

Image: MotorTrend

The Liquid Carbon is a car that would make us get out of the way just by appearing in the rearview. In a word, it looks mean — and we love it. It will bring the GT’s price up to a cool $750,000 to start, but if you want that bare carbon fiber look, you can’t go wrong with this gorgeous piece of automotive excellence. 

Looking Forward

Until we come up with a more standardized manufacturing process, we likely won’t see a lot of bare carbon fiber vehicles hitting showroom floors. It’s simply too tricky to make everything look perfect and ensure that all the weaves line up, meaning it’s not something that we could do with automation — at least not yet.  

That said, the Liquid Carbon GT is a gorgeous example of what we can do if we put our collective minds to it. Kudos to Ford for bringing us this beautiful GT, even if it does have a massive price tag that might put it out of our reach.

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