Preview: 2007 Ford Shelby GT500



2006 Detroit Auto Show Index by TCC Team (1/7/2006)


Ford takes the wraps off the production version of the Shelby GT500 Mustang coupe and convertible on Sunday, Jan. 8, at the Detroit auto show. And while it’s been seen in mostly production form before — last year’s Detroit show, for example — the Shelby GT500 is sure to cause new rounds of agony and ecstasy among Mustang fans who can’t get close to one for another year yet.


The Shelbyfied version of the Mustang sports some substantial differences from the stock GT that Ford provides ponyphiles. With the combined forces of Shelby ’s skunkworks and Ford’s own Special Vehicle Team (SVT), the Mustang get pumped up to 475 horsepower courtesy a supercharged version of the 5.4-liter V-8 that powers a range of Fords, from the GT supercar to the F-Series pickup. The engine’s cast-iron block shares some pieces with the GT, like its aluminum four-valve heads. A six-speed manual gearbox shuffles power to the rear wheels.


The Shelby GT500 doesn’t include an independent rear suspension, something that’s been on the Mustang wishlist for eternity. But managing the additional 175 horsepower required upgrades to a host of suspension bits. Shocks, springs, and roll bars all are beefed up to handle the grunt sent out through the Mustang’s live axle. And to boost the likelihood of tires keeping their grip on the ground, the GT500 ponies up to 18-inch, 40-series, Z-rated rear tires, and four-piston front Brembo brakes.


Looks are everything in the musclecar set, so the GT500 wears a more finely detailed suit of armor than the stock Mustang GT. An air splitter is worked into the new front-end treatment, which also wears a Cobra logo even though the car’s name does not. Twin stripes run the length of the coupe version, and GT500 badges appear in the lower bodyside stripe, to remove all confusion that this is a rental V-6 ’Tang.


A rear spoiler and Cobra badging are the finishing touches to the package outside, while inside the gauges are swapped to place the tach more in the driver’s eye. New leather seats stitched with Cobra logos and aluminum trim distinguish the GT500’s interior.


Ford will build the new GT500 at the Flat Rock, Mich. , plant that churns out all versions of the current Mustang. In coupe and convertible form, the GT500 goes on sale this summer for an undisclosed price. For more on the newest addition to the Mustang family, stay tuned to TCC’s coverage of the 2006 Detroit auto show.

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