The secret history of a Ford-based, gullwing-door American supercar

Tracking down unusual old cars can become a life-long passion, and stories like this are the reason why: What you see above was called an Intercoast GTP, a California-built prototype which blended design ideas from Ferrari, Mercedes and De Lorean with the mechanical bits of a Ford Taurus SHO. If only the present were as cool as this imagined it could be.

Alden Jewell collected these images from a late friend who visited the shop in Southern California that had built the prototype. Creator Mel Francis described to Jewell how the Intercoast came to exist in 1992 and 1993, saying he sought to build "a trans-continental freeway cruiser, that might be just as impractical as any mid-engine Ferrari, but would provide better fuel mileage than other supercars of its time."

Built around a 1992 Ford Taurus SHO over a steel tube space frame, the driver sat in the middle of the Intercoast, with room for two passengers in the second row, just like in the McLaren F1. The doors appear to lift like those of the original gullwing Mercedes-Benz 300SL, although no photos show them opening. Unfortunately, the car never went beyond the prototype stage due to a lack of investment, and Francis disassembled it for parts in the late '90s.

The Intercoast GTP looks impractical and ungainly and awesome, like a update to the low-slung Pininfarina concepts of the late '70s. It's a shame Francis had to take it apart, because it would have made a lovely matched set with the Ford Shogun in the SHO Hall of Infamy.

Photo: Alden Jewell via Flickr