Probably the most aggressive-looking GT ever launched by Ford Australia, the EL 30th Anniversary model’s in-your-face styling polarised enthusiasts but in true GT tradition, it proved to be ahead of its time and still looks fresher than most 1997 releases. The motoring press dubbed it ‘Darth Vader On Wheels’, which neatly summed-up Ford’s 1997 interpretation of how a GT should look.
Developed and hand-assembled by Tickford, the EL GT continued the Grand Tourer concept by going beyond the top Fairmont Ghia’s luxury interior with Momo sports steering wheel, leather and suede sports seats, wood grain cabin highlights and matching it with improved suspension and performance. Ford’s bold new look, which again was fully integrated with the original EL styling, featured a smooth new front bumper with built-in driving lights, deep front spoiler, integrated wheel arch flares and side skirts, sculptured twin vent bonnet scoop, and a wild rear spoiler.
Champion Ford race driver John Bowe was responsible for much of the hands-on fine tuning and testing of the EL GT. Refinement and performance went up another notch after Tickford added a carbon-fibre wrapped tail shaft and reworked the engine for punchier mid-range response. The production run was just 270 and, like the EBII five years before, it was another quick sell-out for Ford and just enough to keep Ford enthusiasts asking for more.