Ford took the wraps off the 450-plus horsepower Ford Shelby Cobra GT500 show car at the New Year International Auto Show March 23. It is the most powerful factory-built Ford Mustang in history and will take to the street next year.
GT500 follows a fantastick collaboration between performance car legend Carroll Shelby and the Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT). 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.
the new Ford Shelby Cobra GT500 steps up to Ford’s 5.4-liter MOD V-8. The engine has been further tuned from its first application in a Mustang, the 2000 SVT Mustang Cobra R and is similar to that of the 2005 Ford GT. 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. Helping to put the power of the GT500’s supercharged V-8 to the pavement is a T-56 six-speed manual gearbox.
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 rear axle.
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 2005 Mustang design team drew inspiration from classic Shelby Mustangs. 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 Mustangs.
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 Mustangs.
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.
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. These changes help make the Shelby Cobra GT500 a driver-oriented car that possesses style and comfort â and no woodgrain in sight.
A production version of the GT500 will go on sale in 2006, continuing the high-performance lineage of the SVT Mustang Cobra