AUTO

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

What happens when a legend from Texas reunites with a legend from Dearborn? The most powerful Mustang ever.

After 40 years, racing legend Carroll Shelby and the Ford Mustang are back together with the introduction of the 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500.

The collaboration between Shelby and Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) is yielding an instant collector’s Mustang that builds 500 horsepower in its 5.4-liter supercharged V-8.

A modern interpretation of the Shelby Mustang of the 1960s, the Ford Shelby GT500 uses advanced engineering to attain the performance that made the original GT500 the king of the road.

True to the original GT500, it will be available both as a coupe and as a convertible when it goes on sale in the summer of 2006.

“When Carroll was developing the original GT350 and GT500, he wanted to build the most powerful, most capable Mustangs of his day,” says Hau Thai-Tang, director, Advanced Product Creation and Special Vehicle Team. “Our goal was to build the most powerful, most capable Mustang ever.”

Serving as touchstone and inspirational leader for both the concept and the production versions, Shelby was impressed by what the team has accomplished.

“It’s one thing to put 450 horsepower in an exotic supercar,” says Shelby. “It’s another to put that much power in something as affordable as a Mustang. The fact that they not only met their goal but pushed on to 500 horsepower is a remarkable achievement.”

Shelby knows something about creating modern supercars. He served as a senior adviser on the team that developed and built the 550-horsepower Ford GT.

Power Play

As expected of anything with Shelby’s name on it, the heart of the car is what’s under the hood. The Ford Shelby GT500’s supercharged 5.4-liter, 32-valve V-8 evolves from Ford’s experience with tuning its modular, or MOD, engines. Output is a brawny 500 horsepower.

The engine is force-fed an air-and-fuel mixture via a “Roots-type” supercharger providing 8.5 pounds per square inch of boost. The GT500 uses a cast-iron engine block. It borrows from the Ford GT program aluminum, four-valve cylinder heads, piston rings and bearings, adding a high level of performance durability to the drivetrain. “Powered by SVT” camshaft covers add the finishing touch to the engine.

Helping put the power to the pavement is a 6-speed manual gearbox. For the performance driver, its evenly spaced gears mean less “stirring” is needed to find the “sweet spot.” This gives a rewarding experience throughout the engine’s broad torque curve. The heavy-duty transmission has proven itself a willing companion to Mustangs in both road and track environments, including recent road-going Mustang Cobras and the new race-winning Mustang FR500C.

Power Requires Control

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 continues a legacy of all-around performance that made the original a world-class racer on tracks and road courses around the world.

The Ford Shelby GT500 starts with the solid Mustang underpinnings. The all-new Mustang was designed from the beginning with performance derivatives in mind, providing an exceptionally rigid, well-engineered starting point for GT500 chassis engineers.

SVT engineers retuned and upgraded key chassis components. Improvements such as revised shocks, spring rates and upgraded stabilizer bars help the Ford Shelby GT500 stop and turn with the same authority as it goes.

The Ford Shelby 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.

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