The New 2007 Shelby Mustang GT500
(photo gallery - click here)
The most powerful factory-built Ford
Mustang in history will take to the street next year, following a unique
performance car legend Carroll Shelby and the Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT).
Ford took the wraps off the 450-plus horsepower Ford Shelby Cobra GT500
show car at the New Year International Auto Show March 23. Designed in the
unmistakable image of Shelby Mustangs of the 1960s, the Shelby Cobra GT500
melds SVT's modern engineering with the big-block performance that made
the original GT500 the king of the road.
"The all-new 2005 Ford Mustang is one of the hottest cars in many years,"
says Phil Martens, Ford group vice president, Product
Creation. "Its chassis was engineered from the beginning to be the basis
of a high-performance, world-class sports car from SVT, and the Shelby
Cobra GT500 is it."
Carroll Shelby lends his support to SVT, adapting his earlier role as a
senior advisor on the "Dream Team" that was assembled to develop and build
the 2005 Ford GT.
"I've 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
performance Mustangs ever," says Shelby.
A production version of the GT500 will go on sale in 2006, continuing the
high-performance lineage of the SVT Mustang Cobra model line. It will be
followed by a steady stream of performance products developed by SVT,
possibly including a version of the production-intent Sport Trac
Adrenalin, the industry's first performance sport-utility truck.
"SVT led the modern-day factory performance trend with the Mustang Cobra
and the industry's first high-performance truck, the F-150
Lightning," says Hau Thai-Tang, director, Ford Advanced Product Creation
and SVT. "Today, we're building on that pioneering vision
with vehicles like the Ford GT, Shelby Cobra GT500 and Sport Trac
Adrenalin – great performance machines that connect with enthusiasts in a
way no other companies or vehicles can match."
The production GT500 will be the first in a string of specialty Mustangs
that SVT will help deliver. This will create Ford Motor
Company's – and one of the industry's – broadest product portfolio,
stretching from under $20,000 for the V-6 Mustang coupe to the
450-plus-horsepower GT500, each offering performance and value.
The GT500 and the production-intent Sport Trac Adrenalin teaser accelerate
the wave of momentum at SVT since the launch of the 2005 Ford GT supercar.
SVT also now will develop non-SVT branded Ford Division performance
vehicles – including heritage-based performance Mustangs in the spirit of
the 2001 Bullitt GT and 2003 Mach 1 – as it becomes more directly
integrated into Ford's mainstream product development process.
Shelby Cobra GT500's supercharged 5.4-liter DOHC V-8 produces over 450 hp.
Just as the original Shelby GT500 was the "step up" to big-block power
from the GT350, the new Ford Shelby Cobra GT500 steps up to
Ford's 5.4-liter "MOD" V-8. The result? The GT500 is the most powerful
factory Mustang ever. Its supercharged 5.4-liter, 32-valve V-
8 evolves from SVT's experience with supercharging the "MOD" engine to
deliver more than 450 horsepower and 450 foot-pounds of torque. The
cast-iron-block, four-valve engine is force-fed an air-and-fuel mixture
via a screw-type supercharger at 8.5 pounds per square inch of boost.
Aluminum cylinder heads, piston rings and bearings sourced from the Ford
GT program bring a high level of proven durability to the drivetrain,
while upgraded cooling components promise longevity. "Powered by SVT"
camshaft covers are the finishing touch to the engine.
"This version of the 5.4-liter V-8 has a higher horsepower rating than any
other factory Mustang in history," says Jay O'Connell, SVT
chief vehicle engineer. "It really delivers on the essence of two great
names in Ford performance – a mix of SVT's modern-day
experience with supercharging and the Shelby GT500's heritage of big-block
The engine has been further tuned from its first application in a Mustang,
the 2000 SVT Mustang Cobra R, a limited edition model of 300 units.
Helping to put the power of the GT500's supercharged V-8 to the pavement
is a T-56 six-speed manual gearbox. The evenly spaced gears mean less
stirring is needed to find the "sweet spot" in keeping the revs "on cam"
for power to pass, while at the same time making the most of the engine's
broad torque curve. The heavy-duty transmission has proven itself a
willing companion to V-8 power in Mustangs in both road and track
environments, including the 2000 SVT Mustang Cobra R, 2004 SVT Mustang
Cobra and the new race-winning Ford Racing Mustang FR500C.
Great power requires great control
The great Shelby Mustangs of the 1960s were anything but one-trick ponies.
They earned their stripes on twisty roads and race tracks
across America and Europe. The Shelby Cobra GT500 show car continues that
legacy of all-around performance.
The GT500 starts with the solid 2005 Mustang underpinnings. The all-new
Mustang's platform was designed from the beginning with
performance derivatives in mind, providing an exceptionally rigid,
well-engineered starting point for SVT chassis engineers.
Using real-world experience gained during more than 12 years of building
great-handling SVT Mustang Cobras, SVT engineers retune and upgrade key
chassis components. Improvements such as revised shocks, spring rates and
upgraded stabilizer bars help the GT500 stop and turn with the same
authority as it goes.
The GT500 features a MacPherson strut independent front suspension with
"Reverse L" lower control arms, and a solid-axle, three-link rear
suspension with coil springs and a Panhard rod for precise control of the
This rear suspension design has been validated on the track by Ford
Racing. The race-prepared Ford Racing Mustang FR500C was purpose-built
from the base 2005 Mustang body structure and suspension geometry to run
in the Grand-Am Cup series, a class of road racing for production-based
cars. Competing against the best from Germany and Japan, a Mustang FR500C
competed in and won its first ever race in the season-opener at Daytona
International Speedway in February 2005.
"SVT and Ford Racing will be working closer than ever as we go forward on
future projects, especially Mustangs," says Thai-Tang, a
Ford Racing alumnus who served as the race engineer for the Newman-Haas
Racing team in 1993. "The Mustang FR500C racing program is an exact
demonstration of the capability we engineered into the mainstream Mustang
to be capable of. Now, we have both a Daytona victory and the return of
the Shelby Cobra GT500 to showcase Mustang performance possibilities."
To match this power and handling ability, SVT fitted some of the biggest
brakes in the business to the GT500. Fourteen-inch cross-
drilled Brembo rotors up front and 13-inch discs in the rear continue
SVT's legacy of great-braking Mustangs. Secure footing is provided by
19-inch wheels wrapped in high-performance tires.
The snake is back – Legendary looks with SVT function
The Shelby Cobra GT500 combines the dramatic design genes of the all-new
Mustang with Carroll Shelby's legendary performance image to create an SVT
Mustang that broadens the power brand's design approach and appeal.
"The restrained, performance-oriented SVT design theme has become
instantly recognizable to enthusiasts without brash styling cues," says
Doug Gaffka, design director, Ford SVT vehicles. "The GT500 takes a huge
leap forward by combining the modern Mustang muscle car with the classic
Shelby performance look to expand SVT's reach to a much bigger audience."
The 2005 Mustang design team drew inspiration from classic Shelby
Mustangs, the models that transformed the mild-mannered pony car into a
muscle car with attitude. Envisioning an SVT model, the team tested GT500
design cues on the Mustang GT coupe concept that was unveiled at the 2003
North American International Auto Show. In 2004, designers further
developed the GT500 look on the Mustang GT-R, a race-bred concept with the
dual purpose of foreshadowing SVT's Mustang design direction and Ford
Racing's plans to return Mustang to road racing.
The GT500 now comes into full light, punctuated by the classic LeMans-style
white stripes that race along the top of the show car's "SVT Red" paint
from nose to tail. The stripes recall the Shelby Mustangs that marked
another important 1960's Mustang transition when Ford put it on the track
to becoming a racing legend. The GT500 nomenclature is prominent in the
lower bodyside racing stripe, another cue from the classic Shelby
"The new Mustang has classic design cues from some of the best-looking
Mustangs of all-time, including the Shelbys," says Keith
Rogman, Mustang senior designer. "The design of the GT500 has been at the
forefront of our minds since the outset of the entire Mustang program."
The Shelby design elements alone are enough to tell the GT500 story but
are not the only visual cues that set this Mustang apart. The
reworked front fascia features a functional air splitter and the unique
hood has heat-extraction ducts, combining to provide improved
airflow and aerodynamics. Revised headlamp insets offer a more aggressive
look and result in symmetrical upper and lower grilles
with large air openings, creating a visual connection to vintage Shelby
The unique rear fascia features strakes
inspired by the Ford GT's integrated rear airflow diffuser, and a rear
spoiler reminiscent of a
classic GT500. To mark the collaboration of two Mustang performance icons,
the GT500 features Shelby and SVT badging.
Continuing the snake logo tradition of past-generation SVT Mustang Cobras,
as well as late-model Shelby Mustangs, the fenders each
feature an updated design of the Cobra. For the first time on any SVT
Mustang, the front grille features an off-center snake in place of
the standard running horse. "GT500" is emblazoned inside the side rocker
stripes, and the name "SHELBY" is prominently featured across the rear
deck. The SVT logo can be seen on the wheel center caps, a signature SVT
location, as well as on the doorsill plates. To top if off, the "gas cap"
medallion between the taillights reads "Shelby GT500" centered on the
The interior is completely wrapped in ebony black leather, including the
top of the dash, door panels and center arm rest. Also wrapped in ebony
leather are the shift lever, shift boot and parking-brake handle. SVT Red
leather seat and door panel inserts provide a marked
contrast to the rest of the leather-trimmed cabin, surrounding the
performance enthusiast with luxury and comfort. Snake logos
embroidered into the seat backs finish the package.
"We've taken leather design trends to a new level by using it on almost
every exposed surface in the GT500," says Rogman. "Leather has long been a
performance fashion accessory for enthusiasts, from jackets to racing
gloves, so it perfectly matches all the other
driving oriented cues."
The Shelby GT500 script and Cobra image are repeated on the steering wheel
cap. Behind the wheel are titanium-faced gauges swapped in location so
that the tachometer is dominant visually for the driver. The chrome
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 of the six-speed transmission.
SVT and Shelby: The Legends Grow
With the look and legend one would expect from Carroll Shelby and the kind
of power and performance enthusiasts have come to expect from SVT, the
GT500 show car points to a brand new era in Ford Motor Company's
"Carroll Shelby is truly a living automotive legend, a Ford performance
legend," says Martens. "It's a dream come true to be able
to put the Shelby name on a Mustang again."
Carroll Shelby first put his name on a Mustang back in 1964 when he was
asked to inject some high performance into the brand-new pony car. The
result was the GT350R, a lightweight, handling-focused race car that
earned the Mustang its first performance credentials. Subsequent Shelby
Mustangs included a street version of the race car, the GT350, and what
was known as the "rent-a-racer" Mustang, the GT350H, a joint project with
the Hertz rental car corporation.
The ultimate Shelby Mustang of the era was the GT500KR, or "King of the
Road." Powered by a big block 428-cubic inch "Cobra Jet" V-8, the GT500KR
was one of the most powerful, and memorable, muscle cars of that period.
Shelby Mustang production ceased in 1970 with a total volume of 14,559
The Ford Special Vehicle Team brought performance back to Mustang in 1993.
After 12 years and with nearly 80,000 high-performance Mustangs on the
streets, and a total SVT vehicle production nearing 145,000 vehicles, SVT
is primed for growth with the GT500 serving as the foundation for other
performance Mustang projects.
By bringing together Carroll Shelby and Ford SVT, the company's commitment
to performance becomes as powerful as at any time in its
history - including the famed "Total Performance" days of the 1960s. From
the Ford GT supercar, the GT500, to a rejuvenated Ford Racing Performance
Parts program - performance and racing adds luster to its proud brand
"SVT has been and will remain the leader in performance vehicle
engineering and marketing," says Martens. "SVT remains unique in
offering the total performance experience. The return of Carroll Shelby to
our performance family only strengthens our firepower."
Just as the big-block GT500 from 1968 was a step up from the GT350, the
Ford Shelby Cobra GT500 show car's 450-plus-horsepower, 5.4-liter V-8 is a
step up from the 4.6-liter V-8 used in the previous-generation SVT Mustang
In fact, the 5.4-liter, 32-valve, supercharged V-8 configuration is
similar to that of the 2005 Ford GT supercar, offering the right
combination of classic Ford big-block power and modern technology. Using
the Ford GT as a blueprint, SVT has given the GT500 more total horsepower
than any factory Mustang in the muscle car's celebrated 41-year history.
"We are applying our Ford GT engine experience to the GT500 to bring over
450 horsepower to a much bigger enthusiast audience," says Jay O'Connell,
SVT chief vehicle engineer. "It really delivers on the essence of two
great names in Ford performance – a mix of SVT's modern-day experience
with supercharging and the Shelby GT500's heritage of big-block power."
The result: More than 450 horsepower and 450 foot-pounds of torque.
Engine upgraded for supercharger's power increase
With the stout cast-iron, 5.4-liter Triton V-8 engine as a starting point,
the Shelby Cobra GT500 adds a screw-type 8.5-pounds-per-square-inch
supercharger and water-to-air intercooler.
But, adding forced-induction power is more than just a bolt-on
proposition. The engine's internals need upgrading for the sake of
strength and durability. To that end, the Shelby Cobra GT500's powerplant
benefits from unique connecting rods and forged pistons to
handle the extra strain on the lower end of the block.
An all-new intake manifold helps to
efficiently channel the supercharged fuel-air mixture into the cylinders.
manifold design also effectively packages the entire induction system
under the GT500's special air-extraction hood. Fuel comes from a dual-bore
electronic throttle body borrowed from Ford's 6.8-liter truck engine
program. To manage heat produced by more than 450 horses, a larger
radiator and increased-capacity cooling system also are installed.
Aluminum, high-performance Ford GT heads tout "Powered by SVT"
While supercharging is a key element in the Shelby Cobra GT500's ability
to generate so much horsepower, another major contributing
component is the design of the cast-aluminum, four-valve cylinder heads
sourced from the Ford GT supercar.
Developed specifically for supercharged applications, these
high-performance heads use high-flow ports and specially calibrated
dual-overhead camshafts to deliver optimum engine "breathing" along with
surprisingly good fuel efficiency and emissions. Also borrowed for use in
the GT500 are the Ford GT's proven piston rings and connecting rod
To enthusiasts, the real beauty of any performance car rests with its
engine. That idea certainly wasn't lost on Carroll Shelby because
Mustangs that bore his name have traditionally brought his unique sense of
style and personality right into the engine compartment. One Shelby
signature feature – special finned valve covers embossed with "COBRA
Powered By Ford" – soon became the envy of so many Ford V-8 owners that
they quickly became one of the best-selling dress-up accessories on the
With that in mind, the GT500 is equipped with special "Powered by SVT"
finned cam covers to hint at the beauty of 450 horses lurking in the
engine below. Mated to the Ford GT four-valve cylinder heads are unique
exhaust manifolds that help to better scavenge spent gases out of the
cylinders and into the custom-tuned mufflers and dual-exhaust system.
Strong transmission for powerful engine
Few transmissions exist in the marketplace today that can handle the
torque loads generated by the supercharged GT500, so SVT engineers are
opting to stick with the proven heavy duty performance of the T-56
six-speed manual gearbox. The T-56 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 Cobra GT500 show car,
the T-56 will be geared to make the most out of the supercharged
5.4-liter's broad power band.