Florida Ford GT Owner Crashes Because He's "Unfamiliar" With Manual Transmission: Police

Florida Ford GT Owner Crashes Because He’s “Unfamiliar” With Manual Transmission: Police

A Ford GT owner in Boca Raton, Florida crashed his recently purchased supercar into a tree Friday evening because he was “unfamiliar with how to drive stick shift,” police say.

The driver, 50-year-old Robert J. Guarini, told cops he lost control after downshifting while leaving his housing development at around 6 pm, a police report says. This led to a head-on collision with a palm tree. Guarini then told a nearby security worker that he did not have his phone and needed a ride back to his house, where he spoke to authorities via landline after leaving the vehicle unattended, the report says.

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Though the police report says Guarini told officers the crash was caused by inexperience with a manual transmission, the Ford GT owner told Road&Track over the phone that there was more to the event. Guarini claims old tires, muddy pavement, and a fresh detailing were all factors causing the 550-horsepower supercar to swing out and hit a tree. The driver also told R&T the crash occurred as he shifted up into second gear from first, not while downshifting, as the official report says.

“I don’t want people to think I was racing at 90 mph,” Guarini says. “I was going 35 mph.”

From the police report, it’s unclear if speed played a role in the crash.

Facebook user John Peddle’s photos from the crash site show that the damage is limited to the front third of the car. The hit was substantial enough to trigger multiple airbags, disable the vehicle, and cause the GT to slide far enough after hitting the tree that it blocked a nearby sidewalk.

Though police say the car was not registered or insured when the crash occurred, Guarini claims the car was covered under an umbrella policy and that he just didn’t have the documentation available when the crash happened.

The police report’s listed VIN indicates the car was purchased at a Barrett-Jackson auction in Palm Beach in early April for $704,000, about the going price for a 2006 Heritage Edition GT. That would make replacement a very expensive endeavor.

Guarini was issued a citation for driving with a suspended license and a warning for operating an unregistered vehicle. The 50-year-old claims his license suspension was due to an unrelated department of motor vehicles “clerical error.”

Additional reporting by Chris Perkins.

Updated May 2, 2022, 3:55 pm: Road & Track has spoken with the Ford GT owner. This story has been updated with additional details.

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