Produced in unison by both Carrol Shelby and the SVT team (what the hell else does SVT have to do?), this car will most likely push the already insanely popular Mustang to never before seen popularity.
Head of SVT, Hau Thai-Tang, along with Carrol Shelby have stuffed the extraordinary 5.4-liter, DOHC, 32-valve supercharged V8 from the Ford GT super car under the Mustang's hood. Final horsepower numbers have not yet been announced, but Thai-Tang hints it will be “Well over 450 hp, closer to 500.” Look for 450-plus lb-ft of torque too. Whatever the final numbers, it will be insane. Engineer Thai-Tang, who did a stint at Newman-Haas Racing, sums up the powertrain by saying: “It's gonna be a monster.”
Taking it's looks from the 1968 GT500, and adapting much of the 2005 Ford mustang GT-R prototype, this is one intimidating snake. Sure to give Corvette and Viper owners a run for their money, these looks are not deceiving. The agressive nose and hood not only look good, their functional. The front splitter creates downforce, holding this beast to the road as it corners aggressivly at high speeds. You'll find the hood has built-in heat extractors, helping to dissapate warm air away from the supercharged four cammer engine. A pair of racing stripes are optional, and make their way agressivly through the center of the car. I do believe stripes add horsepower too, although I don't think Ford engineers accounted for them (you know I'm joking right? Nevertheless, stripes are all too cool).
In the rear a low-profile decklid spoiler provides alittle helpful downforce at high speeds, and includes an integrated third brake light. Alittle further down you'll find that “SHELBY” is spelled out in large badges, and the gas cap medallion features a Shelby Cobra GT500 logo. I'd say thats worth at least 5 horsepower too.
The interior is totally decked out in jet black and deep red leather. Top of the dash, on the door panels, center arm rest, shift boot, and even parking-brake handle is black leather. SVT Red leather seating surfaces and door panel inserts provide a marked contrast to the rest of the leather-trimmed cabin, surrounding the performance enthusiast with luxury and comfort. Snake logos embroidered into the seat backs finish off the new edge interior.
The rest of the interior takes it's cues from the 2005 Mustang, pretty much it's an upgraded version of the new Mustang's interior and even has titanium faced MyColor gauges (yep, Ford's still installing the neat little color changing thingy). One subtle, but unique difference will be the tachometer located on the right side of the instrument panel, as opposed to the left side like you would find in the GT and V6. The chrome accessories inside the cockpit have been replaced with a satin aluminum finish, including the aluminum shift lever knob that is nicely positioned for quick, positive shifts of the six-speed T-56 Tremec transmission.
But wait folks, theirs more! Improvements such as revised shocks, spring rates and upgraded stabilizer bars help the GT500 stop and turn with the same authority as it goes. GT500 features a MacPherson strut independent front suspension with "Reverse L" lower control arms, and a solid-axle, three-link rear suspension with coil springs and a Panhard rod for precise control of the rear axle. To match the awsome handling ability, SVT fitted some of the biggest brakes in the business to the GT500. Fourteen-inch cross-drilled Brembo rotors up front and 13-inch discs in the rear continue SVT's legacy of great-braking Mustangs. Secure footing is provided by 19-inch wheels (what, no dubs! Ahh, they'll do I suppose) wrapped in a set of high-performance tires.
All in all, I'd have to say "Job well done" to the Carrol Shelby and the Ford SVT team. Considering Shelby hasn't worked on a Ford project since 1970 and SVT was, well not doing anything anyways(insert crazy rant about not having a Mustang Cobra or Ford Lightning for 2005 here). It's great to see that Ford didn't just sit back and enjoy the success of the '05 Mustang, their really going after the performance car market now. To top it all off, Ford expects to set an MSRP of under $40,000 - which makes the Ford Shelby Mustang Cobra GT500 (say that 10 times real fast) an entry level supercar in my book.
Could it get even better? Ford's even planning on producing a convertable in 2007, with many improved features over the previous Mustang convertables. With a stiffer chassis design and more lightweight than ever before, it's sure to be a huge hit as well. Mustang fans around the world are anxiously awating the release of the GT500, unfortunately it may not be an easy buy. Although the sticker will be under $40k, don't expect to be buying one for that. With just 7,500 to be produced each year they'll probably be some insane price gauging. Yay for capitalizm.
- Written by Joe Hayes. Images courtesy of Ford Motor Company. Sources from accross the internet. http://www.moddedmustangs.com