Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Convertible

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.

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.

Inside, too, upgraded levels of flair and function abound. The locations of the speedometer and the tachometer are swapped to provide performance-oriented drivers with a better view of shift points while changing gears. Front seats have received additional lateral support to help keep the driver optimally positioned during cornering. The interior is offered in a choice of two colors, Charcoal Black or Charcoal Black and Crimson Red. The charcoal/red offering features Crimson Red seating surfaces and door panel inserts. Seating surfaces are leather with both interior treatments. Snake logos embossed in the seat backs finish the package.

The Shelby GT500 script and Cobra image are repeated on the steering wheel cap. Behind the wheel, the gauges wear light faces in keeping with SVT tradition. The chromed accessories inside the cabin have been replaced with a satin aluminum finish, including the aluminum shift lever knob that is nicely positioned for quick, positive shifts.

The 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is a purposeful performance car and striking to look at.

The design team did not merely take heritage cues and paste them onto the contemporary Mustang. Working with the engineering team, they dedicated themselves to a design that would enhance the car's performance.

For example, the fog lamps were removed from the upper grille opening where they are located on the Mustang GT. Smaller units were relocated on the outside of the lower front fascia where they function well.

"We found that the original Shelby Mustang's design came about in response to maximizing the car's performance," says Doug Gaffka, chief designer for Mustang, SVT and Vehicle Personalization. "The same is true of the SVT design language that has evolved over time."

A further example of how form follows function is the design of the heat extractors on the hood of the Shelby GT500. Here, they can better remove heat from the engine compartment - an important consideration for a car generating 500 horsepower.

"It is perfect, says Carroll Shelby of the car's overall design. "I wouldn't change a thing. It is everything I expected a modern Shelby Mustang to be."

Other functional aero additions to the Shelby GT500 can be found at the front and rear. The rear spoiler adds significant downforce. Similarly, the front air splitter effectively combats lift.

The 18 x 9.5-inch wheels worn by the Shelby GT500 also bear a resemblance to those of the Ford GT.

The gearbox used by the 2007 Shelby GT500 also is a rarity. Few transmissions exist in the marketplace today that can handle the torque loads generated by the supercharged GT500, so engineers are opting to stick with the proven heavy-duty performance of the TR6060 6-speed manual gearbox.

The GT500 employs an upgraded version of the T-56, which first appeared in the 2000 SVT Mustang Cobra R, powered by a naturally aspirated 5.4-liter V-8 with 385 horsepower, and later in the supercharged 2003 SVT Mustang Cobra whose DOHC 4.6-liter produced 390 horses. For the Shelby GT500, the six-speed manual will be geared to make the most of the supercharged 5.4-liter's broad power band.

Source: Ford press

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