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397kW Ford show pony for Detroit

2009-01-05 07:48
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Ford
Model Shelby Mustang GT500
Engine 5.4L, supercharged V8
Power 397kW
Torque 691Nm
Transmission Six-speed manaul
Ford’s special vehicle team has stuck a Shelby badge on the vastly improved new Mustang GT500.

Tracing both the lineage of SVT (special vehicle team) and Shelby Mustang products, Ford has taken its cue from this enviable muscle heritage to ensure the 2010 GT500, due for unveiling at the 2009 Detroit motor show (opening on 11 January), is a redoubtable performance car.

Big numbers, same badge

Borrowing the GT500 KR’s 5.4l, supercharged V8 (and we’re sure limited edition GT500 KR owners are thrilled no end by this) the Shelby has 397kW on tap, which coupled with a 3.55:1 rear-differential and larger diameter copper twin-plate clutch, should yield predictably rapid performance.

With nearly 400kW and 691Nm of torque powering the Shelby GT500, the decidedly American chassis dynamics were always going to be an issue. SVT engineer Jamal Hameedi says Ford has taken cognisance of previous special edition Mustangs and their handling foibles.

Front damper rates are 13% stiffer, whilst the rears are 7% more resistant, to improve steering feedback the steering rack has been revised, and those 19-inch standard rims (18-inch on the convertible) are shod with quality Goodyear Eagle F1 performance tyres.

So confident of these changes are Ford, that the Shelby GT500 will give owners the option to completely disable the stability control systems, opening an avenue of hooligan, opposite lock driving opportunities.

Shelby Cobra heritage?

By now you’re probably wondering what the Shelby name reference has to do with anything, considering it appears to be an exclusively SVT design job. See the radical, ground hugging front spoiler? Apparently inspired by the legendary Shelby AC 427 Cobra…

Aesthetically the car panders to engineering imperatives. Mustang acolytes will immediately notice the off-set Cobra emblem, which is not in the centre of the front grille anymore. Allegedly its change in position was to accommodate optimal cold-air flow to the new engine intake system…

Downforce is improved thanks to a ‘Gurney’ flap rear spoiler design, and the overall drag coefficient has been kept as low as possible by sealing off engine bay components such as the radiator and intercooler, eliminating as many leak paths as possible.

Colour schemes are proudly American, with dual stripes available in a choice of five different trim combinations – you can even have interior seat stripes. The Shelby GT500 will benefit from the latest Mustang interior redesign, and beyond having chrome trim replaced with aluminium, it will retain the 125-hue MyColor interior ambient lighting system.

The Shelby Mustang GT500 should go on sale by the start of the second quarter of 2009, with both convertible and coupe versions being rolled out to customers side by side.


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