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July 23, 2008 - Autos

Wayland Joe
500 horsepower Mustang draws on Fordís heritage, spirit of innovation and performance.

This is by far the coolest Mustang ever produced; when I read about this power-packed pony, I couldnít wait to get my hands on one for a test drive. From afar, it looks like any other Mustang GT on the road, but seeing the GT500 emblem on the side tells you that this is no ordinary Mustang GT. When Shelby and Fordís Special Vehicle Team (SVT) put their heads together, this is the car they came up with. The Ford Shelby GT500 builds 500 horsepower in its 5.4-liter supercharged V-8. The Shelby GT500 is currently available in both coupe and convertible form.

500-horsepower Shelby
The heart of the car is underneath the hood, and this is what makes this Mustang a Shelby. The GT500 is powered by a supercharged 5.4-liter V-8, which generates a whopping 500 horses, and is the result of Fordís extensive experience in tuning its modular V-8 and V-10 motors to become high performance racing engines. The GT500ís engine borrows elements directly from the Ford GT supercar, and includes aluminum, four-valve cylinder heads, piston rings and bearings inside its cast-iron engine block. Itís given a shot of adrenaline by its ďRoots-typeĒ supercharger, injecting the engine with an air/fuel mixture generating 8.5 pounds per square inch of boost.

A T-56 six-speed manual gearbox lets the driver put the monster of an engine through its paces, the same proven transmission that came with the 2003 SVT Mustang Cobra and the race proven Mustang FR500C. Its gears are evenly spaced, giving the driver a predictable response while banging through the gears.

Without even pressing the accelerator all the way to the floor, youíre thrown back in your seat as the GT500 jumps to life. And where most cars, start to slow and run out of power, the GT500 keeps right on pulling. The engine roars with aggressive perfection, as well it should; Ford engineers spent a lot of time researching the perfect balance between supercharger whine and V-8 rumble. We compared the engine note of a GT500 with a Mustang GT, and found that while Mustang GT generates a slightly lower pitched rumble, the GT500 puts out a more aggressive racing tone.

Better handling to control more Power
The Mustang body provided an ideal platform to build the GT500. Since it was designed from the start to be a performance automobile, the body is rigid, durable, and well-engineered. This was an excellent starting point for SVT engineers to begin their enhancements. To insure that the GT500 cornered and stopped as a supercar should, the suspension and key chassis components were upgraded and tuned, and improvements included upgraded shocks, spring rates, and stabilizer bars.

All this results in exceptional handling, much better than youíd expect from such a large automobile. The Brembo brakes clamp hard and stop the car with authority, and although it was raining when we drove it, the GT500 excelled at fast cornering; very stable and with minimal body roll. Turn off the traction control for real fun!

Aggressive new styling
You can tell that this isnít your typical Mustang. The front end looks different from its other Mustang brothers, with its wide upper and lower fascia openings. The familiar Cobra logo to the right of the grill signals to passer bys that this Mustang is not to be trifled with. The Cobra makes another appearance on the gas cap along with the Shelby GT500 logo.

Further differentiating the GT500 from an ordinary Mustang is the bulging hood. Heat extractors are positioned at the front and improve airflow, drawing the hot air from the engine. The GT500ís front end gives it a much more aggressive and imposing look when compared to other Mustangs in the lineup.

New Interior Styling
The interior looks like a traditional Ford, but with added levels of flair and function. The front seats have been redesigned with added lateral support to keep drivers firmly planted during aggressive driving. The speedometer and tachometer have switched positions to give drivers a better view of the tach when shifting Additionally, the cabin has plenty of satin aluminum finish reducing glare and giving a luxurious and high tech feel. The interior comes in two colors, Charcoal Black or Charcoal Black/Crimson Red, which features red seating surfaces and door panel inserts.

Finally the Shelby I've been waiting for
The Shelby GT500 does the GT350s and GT500s of yesteryear proud, being an aggressive looking and handling modern muscle car with 500 horses on tap. Jump in your car and rush to your local Ford dealer now. At a recent Barrett-Jackson auction, one bidder paid $600,000 just for the right to purchase the first publicly sold GT500 (VIN#0002).

Keywords: Mustang, GT 500, Ford, horsepower, V-8, Shelby, sports car
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