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Shelby Mustang PDF Print E-mail

Carroll Shelby is best known for shoe-horning a big American V8 into a tiny, aluminum sports car produced by an even tinier company, AC Cars in Britain, which metamorphosed into the Shelby Cobra, a brute of a machine but which acquired legendary status.

Now the performance king has turned his attention to Ford’s latest Mustang and, with the help of the Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT) has come up with the Shelby Cobra GT500.

Said Shelby, “I have worked with the SVT guys for several years now, and I know they have the guts, the talent and the passion to deliver the best Mustangs ever.”

The GT500 will be the first of a string of Mustangs that SVT will produce, from a V6 model which will sell for under $20,000 in the States, to the 450 bhp (331 kW) Shelby version.

To obtain this staggering amount of power, Ford has supercharged its 5.4 liter ‘big block’ V8: the result is more than 450 bhp, but more importantly a strong 610 Nm peak torque figure.  Although it is an iron block, the cylinder heads are aluminum, while a number of internal components are sourced from the dramatic Ford GT sports car. The Mustang’s powerful V8 is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, the product of Ford’s racing program with its Mustang FR500C.  The FR500C was purpose-built to compete in the U.S. Grand-Am Cup and won its first ever race at Daytona in February.

Race engineer Hau Thai-Tang of Ford’s SVT said, “Ford’s racing arm and SVT will be working closely as we go forward on future projects.  The Mustang FR500C program is an exact demonstration of the capability we engineered into the mainstream Mustang and now we have the Daytona victory, we are showing off the performance possibilities with the Shelby Cobra GT500.”

Shelby Mustang
Shelby Mustang
To complement the immense power reserves, the SVT road version is fitted with some of the largest brakes in the business: fourteen-inch cross-drilled Brembo rotors at the front and conventional discs at the rear.  Massive 19-inch wheels with performance tires are fitted to improve road-holding and handling.

The interior has also received the SVT treatment, with black leather upholstery, and leather-clad shift lever and parking-brake handle.  Red leather inserts in the seats and door panels add a further touch of class to the car.

Carroll Shelby first put his name on a Mustang back in 1964 when he was asked to raise the performance of the then all-new pony car.  The result was the GT350R, a lightweight race car.  Subsequently street versions of the race car were produced, as well as a special limited edition in conjunction with Hertz Rent-a-Car which was known, inevitably, as the ‘rent-a-racer’.

The ultimate Shelby Mustang of that era was the GT500 KR (King of the Road).  Powered by a big-block 428 cubic inch V8, the GT500KR was one of the most powerful muscle cars of the time.  Shelby Mustangs stopped production in 1970, with more than 14,500 built.

Shelby had adopted the racing stripes from his legendary Cobras and these were a signature part of all his performance vehicles.  These can now be seen prominently on the Mustang GT500.  A new front and deep air dam, larger grilles, hood-mounted air extractors and a neat trunk spoiler add to the overall theme.  The name Shelby is featured large across the tail, while a snake and SVT insignia are discreetly incorporated into the body styling to complete the package.  The Cobra snake logo continues the tradition of Shelby Mustangs and also commemorates the first time in 35 years a new Mustang has featured the Shelby name.

-JH

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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