Here’s every box you need to tick when buying your GT500, and some you don’t.
Last week we thrashed the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 on the track. Our quick synopsis is that it's ridiculously fast, surprisingly refined, and as agile as many supercars we’ve driven. We suggest hitting the link for our first drive review. But as good as the GT500 is out of the box, it has a pretty extensive options list to make it even better. That means finding the perfect Shelby for the affluent enthusiast takes some thought.
But we're here to help. Here is every Shelby GT500 option and package broken down by price in order to help you decide which ones are worth getting, and which are worth skipping entirely. Though the GT500 starts at $70,300 (not including $1,095 for destination and a $2,600 gas guzzler tax), ticking the wrong boxes could push the final asking price past $100,000. But selecting only a few suitable options can keep the car's final asking price under six figures.
Optional Paint: Not Worth It
Of the 11 paint colors Ford offers on the Shelby GT500, only two of them are optional: Rapid Red ($395) and Twister Orange ($495). And sure, they’re not that expensive and look pretty flashy. Our tester wore the latter, more-expensive orange option and looked great with the Carbon Fiber pack's trim pieces. But the other nine standard paint options are good on their own, and don't require extra dishing.
We're partial to Grabber Lime and Velocity Blue, two of the showiest colors of the bunch. But the palette also includes cool hues like Shadow Black, Oxford White, Iconic Silver, Magnetic, Race Red, Ford Performance Blue, and Kona Blue. You can't go wrong with any of them, really. No need paying extra when the eight standard paint schemes are already awesome.
Tape Stripe: Not Worth It
A lot of buyers will probably option the optional tape stripe. Fine. It adds some flair to the side door panels, but in our opinion, the $375 option isn't totally worth it. For those that prefer the iconic look of the central dual racing stripe feature on its own, combining the it with the tape stripe looks too over the top. But then again, this is a Shelby.
Painted Black Roof: Not Worth It
It took digging through photos to remember if the GT500 we drove even had a black roof (spoiler alert: it didn’t). That should be enough to tell you how not worth it the $695 optional feature is. The contrasting black roof doesn’t add much to the already extreme design of the GT500 – at a minimum, Ford should have opted to make the roof from exposed carbon fiber.
Vinyl Racing Stripe: Worth It
Is a Shelby GT500 without dual racing stripes really even a Shelby at all? The $1,000 feature comes in three colors: Ebony, Bright White, and Kona Blue. It's definitely worth getting the vinyl stripes, even if only because the next option is a $9,000 premium on top of that.
Hand-Painted Racing Stripes: Not Worth It
If bragging at cars and coffee about how your Shelby has hand-painted racing stripes is your sole goal, then feel free to spend $10,000 on the option. But otherwise, the hand-painted stripes are almost indistinguishable from the far-cheaper vinyl option. Even worse, the more expensive stripes don't even offer any additional or unique colors. A similar Absolute Black color carries over, as do the identical Oxford White and Kona Blue stripe options.
Carbon Fiber Track Pack: Worth It
The Carbon Fiber Track pack is definitely pricey. And even while the GT500 is still a fantastic vehicle without it, there's a lot to love about the $18,500 package that makes it worth the extra money. The GT4-inspired carbon fiber wing adds downforce on the track, the new Michelin Pilot Cup Sport 2 tires improve grip, the 20-inch carbon-fiber rims are lighter and more durable than the standard alloy units, and a pair of comfy leather-covered Recaro seats hold the driver and front passenger in place (with this package, the GT500 ditches the rear seats found in lesser Mustangs). If there is only one package you choose, this should be it.
Handling Pack: Worth It
Buyers not planning on tracking their Shelby GT500 could theoretically skip this $1,500 option (and really, the Carbon Fiber Track pack, too). It only adds two features: a gurney flap and splitter wickers, and isn’t available with the Carbon Fiber Track pack. The two packages are offered separately. But those two upgrades make a noticeable difference on the track, even without the other carbon fiber trim pieces. The Shelby GT500's 220 pounds of total downforce only happen with these two options equipped, thus making the car even more of a track menace than it already is without them.
Technology Package: Worth It
Ford not offering standard navigation on a $70,000 car is almost offensive. The company instead forces you to spend an extra $3,000 on the Technology package, which we highly recommend. Not only does the Tech pack add navigation, it also includes a 12-speaker Bang & Olufson sound system, heated exterior mirrors, and a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat with memory settings.
Recaro Seats: Worth It
Assuming you don’t want any of the packages mentioned above, you can still get the comfy Recaro seats as an a la cart option for $1,595. These are a must, even if you get them separately from a package.
Carbon Fiber Trim: Not Worth It
The carbon fiber trim looks neat, and it’s a fine addition atop the expensive Carbon Fiber Track package. But it doesn’t feel worth the cost when optioning it on its own. The $1,000 carbon fiber trim that runs across the driver and passenger dash doesn’t do much to plus-up the Mustang’s cabin. Assuming you check the option boxes we recommend and skip the ones we don't, you could walk away with a modestly priced Mustang Shelby GT500.