The Ford GT90 concept car has been hidden from the general public for most of its life. We track down the photographer who made it his mission to find the car and photograph it.
By: Wilhelm Lutjeharms
When the Ford GT90 concept car appeared on the cover of CAR Magazine in South Africa in early 1995, the edgy white supercar must have grabbed a lot of attention. The radical GT90 was released in January 1995 and was unlike anything seen before from Ford, perhaps since the '60s and the then-groundbreaking GT40.
Recently a number of very beautiful and professionally taken photos of the almost-forgotten supercar surfaced on Instagram. The man behind these pictures is Toronto-based automotive photographer Zach Brehl. How he managed to organise a photoshoot of this one-off prototype is rather interesting, as we discovered during an interview with the 31-year old.
“Cars and photography were passions of mine since I was a kid. From when I was twelve I would run around looking for supercars in Toronto. Over the years I started to take it a bit more seriously. I tried to get paid work and to get better at photography. I built my network and over the years it has had this compounding effect.
“Just over two years ago I was talking to a friend of mine in the UK. We were working together and we were talking about cars we always wanted to shoot and cars we were trying to source. The GT90 was one of the cars we were talking about. I was unsure about the whereabouts of the car, but credit to my friend Alex, who had seen photos, dating from 2015, of it in Oklahoma on a Facebook group. But, there still was no confirmation where it was currently, but those were the last photos we saw of the car and a clue.
“We continued to do some digging and found out exactly where it was, the Hajek Motorsports Museum in Oklahoma. Just over a year ago I was doing some work for an Australian magazine and we discussed future work. They mentioned concept cars and then I suggest following up on the GT90. The magazine was obviously very interested because no one really knew much about this car. It is this unicorn type of car, people don’t know if it really works and so on.
“I called Brent Hajek who is the owner of the car - an extremely nice guy and he was fine with me visiting to shoot the car. I ended up making plans to do it. The pandemic threw some spanners in the works, but as soon as I could travel I made the necessary arrangements… and I shot the GT90!
“Brent has a history with Ford and Ford Racing and has numerous Nascars and drag cars – it is really an American muscle-focused collection. The GT90 stands out because it is the only non-muscle car in the collection. He purchased the car from Ford directly, although Ford is allowed to use it as a show car if they ever need to.
“The car starts and the engine works. It drives, but there are limitations to it. It is on its original tyres, with the treads showing “GT90” on them. The car runs and moves, but as far as its power statistics and outputs, we are not entirely sure. It has mostly been a museum piece being moved between places.
“Apparently the turbos are not connected, but when the car was fired up I could hear the whistling of air going somewhere through the turbocharging system. I am not sure about the current mechanical intricacies of how the car is set up. It is a very unique engine, and I always wanted to hear it - a Ford V12! It has a deep sound to it, not unlike that of an R129 Mercedes SL73 for example, but it is difficult to describe the true sound.
“The numberplate frame at the back actually lights up (below the exhaust and Ford badge). Here you find all the signatures of everyone that worked on the project.
“My aim was really to shoot this car on a regular road. I’d been fascinated with this car since I was a kid, and I’d never seen a photo of it on the street. There have been press photos and the car has been to auto shows – and those are the only photos I’ve seen of the car. I really pushed so we could shoot the car on a public road, that was really fascinating to me as a car fan.
It is worth following Zach on Instagram under @ZachBrehl. When visiting his profile, scroll down to flip through his incredible pictures of the GT90 out in the wild.