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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
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?
Introducing the Ford GT Liquid Carbon
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
from the 3.5L twin-turbo V6 under the hood.
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.
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
The Challenge of Carbon Fiber
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.