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» 2007 Ford Shelby GT500
|Ford has come out with what
is the official production release of the 2007 Shelby GT500. Carroll
Shelby and Ford Special Vehicle Team have joined forces to create
a modern successor to the famous Shelby GT500 of the late 1960s. The
engine is a 475-horsepower supercharged V-8 with a 6-speed manual
transmission, race-tuned suspension and four-piston Brembo brakes.
Le Mans racing stripes adorn the car along with a muscular front-end
design and the unmistakable "Cobra" logo and the Shelby
After 40 years, racing legend Carroll
Shelby and the Ford Mustang are back together with the introduction
of the 2007 Ford Shelby
|The collaboration between
Shelby and Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT) is yielding an instant
collector's Mustang that builds 475 horsepower in its 5.4-liter supercharged
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 475 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.
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|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 475 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.
Helping put the power to the pavement
is a 6-speed manual gearbox. For the performance driver, its evenly
spaced gears mean less "stirring" is needed to find the
"sweet spot." This gives a rewarding experience throughout
the engine's broad torque curve. The heavy-duty transmission has
proven itself a willing companion to Mustangs in both road and track
environments, including recent road-going Mustang Cobras and the
new race-winning Mustang FR500C.
|Power Requires Control
The Ford Shelby GT500 continues a legacy of
all-around performance that made the original a world-class racer
on tracks and road courses around the world.
The Ford Shelby GT500 starts with the solid
Mustang underpinnings. The all-new Mustang was designed from the
beginning with performance derivatives in mind, providing an exceptionally
rigid, well-engineered starting point for GT500 chassis engineers.
SVT engineers retuned and upgraded key chassis
components. Improvements such as revised shocks, spring rates and
upgraded stabilizer bars help the Ford Shelby GT500 stop and turn
with the same authority as it goes.
|The Ford Shelby 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.
This rear suspension design has been validated
on the track by Ford Racing. The 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 won its first race in the season opener
at Daytona International Speedway in February 2005. It went on to
dominate the season and clinch the championship.
"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.
To match this power and handling ability, engineers
fitted some of the biggest brakes in the business to the Ford Shelby
GT500. Four-piston Brembo calipers are fitted to 14-inch Brembo
vented rotors up front, and 11.8-inch vented discs in the rear continue
SVT's legacy of great-braking Mustangs. Secure footing is provided
by 255/45ZR high-performance tires in front and 285/40ZR high-performance
tires in back. Wheels are 18 inches by 9.5 inches.
|The Snake is Back
One glance shows this is not the typical Mustang Cobra. A sinister-looking
front-end design includes wide upper and lower fascia openings with
a functional air splitter. The upper intake sports the famous Cobra
logo floating off-center in place of a centered galloping pony found
on other Mustangs. On either side, slanting headlamp openings add
to the dramatic front appearance.
|The bulging hood has heat
extractors protruding near the leading edge, combining to provide
improved airflow and aerodynamics. As air passes over the hood, hot
air from the engine compartment is drawn out through ducts attached
to the hood extractors.
"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."
The 2005 Mustang design team drew inspiration
from classic 1968 Mustangs, the models that transformed the mild-mannered
pony car into a muscle car with attitude. Envisioning a high-performance
model, the team tested GT500 design cues on the Mustang GT coupe
concept that was unveiled at the 2003 North American International
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 Ford Shelby GT500 Cobra
concept coupe capped the design conceptualization effort.
The production Ford Shelby GT500 Coupe now comes
into full light, punctuated by the classic Le Mans-style white stripes
that race along the top from nose to tail. The stripes recall the
Shelby Mustangs that marked another important 1960s 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.
In a touch also borrowed from the GT500's past,
no Le Mans stripes will be seen on the 2007 Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible.
However, the convertible will sport a cloth top similar to those
found on pricier convertibles.
"There were no Le Mans stripes on Shelby's
original GT500 Convertible, so we decided to pay homage by not offering
them on the 2007 Ford Shelby GT500," says Gaffka. "We
also went with a cloth top material as another measure of substance
and authenticity. The fabric used is the same used on the 2002-03
SVT Mustang Cobra, the Thunderbird, Jaguar and Ford's other high-end
The unique rear fascia features lower 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
The fenders each feature an updated design of
the Cobra. 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 written
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 it off, the medallion between the taillights reads "Shelby
GT500" centered on the Cobra image.
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.
SVT and Shelby: The
With the look and legend one would
expect from Shelby and the kind of power and performance enthusiasts
have come to expect from SVT, the GT500 points to a brand-new era
in Ford's performance future.
|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 GT-350R, a lightweight,
handling-focused race car that earned Mustang its first performance
credentials. Subsequent Shelby Mustangs included a street version
of the race car, the GT-350, and what was known as the "rent-a-racer"
Mustang, the GT-350H, a joint project with the Hertz rental car corporation.
The ultimate Shelby Mustang of the era was the
GT-500KR, or "King of the Road." Powered by a big block
428-cubic-inch "Cobra Jet" V-8, the GT-500 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 high performance
back to Mustang in 1993. After 12 years, with nearly 80,000 high-performance
Mustangs on the streets and total SVT vehicle production nearing
145,000, SVT is primed for growth with the GT500 serving as the
foundation for other performance Mustang projects.
By bringing together 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 can
drive innovation and add luster to Ford's proud brand heritage.
"SVT will remain the leader in performance
vehicle engineering," says Thai-Tang. "It will continue
to build new, innovative products using advanced processes that
will not only provide great enjoyment to the dedicated driving enthusiast,
but that also will provide great benefit to other Ford products
and Ford Motor Company itself."
The Ford Shelby GT500 will be built at the Ford-Mazda
joint venture, AutoAlliance International, in Flat Rock, Mich.