- Celebrating the fortieth anniversary
of the original Shelby Cobra GT500KR, Ford and Shelby collaborate
on a new 'King of the Road' Mustang with the 2008 Shelby GT500KR.
- Shelby GT500KR features an estimated
540-hp 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 with a Ford Racing Power Upgrade
Pack, 3.73:1 rear axle ratio, short-throw shifter, and unique
- Exterior design draws inspiration
from the classic Shelby KR Mustangs and features unique carbon
composite hood, wheels, and special 40th Anniversary badging and
- Shelby GT500KR arrives in spring
2008 in an exclusive run of only 1000 units
Ford and Shelby Automobiles are at
it again, this time in celebration of the fortieth anniversary of
the 1968 Shelby Cobra GT500KR. To be unveiled at the 2007 New York
International Auto Show, the 2008 Shelby GT500KR-the most powerful
Mustang to date-will once again mark Mustang as 'King of the Road.'
"I'm proud to once again be a
part of an historical moment, bringing back the 'King of the Road'
Mustang, and collaborating with Ford SVT and Ford Racing" said
Carroll Shelby. "I'm committed to continuously upping the ante
when it comes to performance, and it's great to be doing it with
Ford." "The return of the Shelby GT500KR further establishes
Mustang as the true king of the pony car segment," said Robert
Parker, manager of Ford Car Brand. "With the unveiling of the
new KR we are staying true to the promise we made our loyal Mustang
fans to continue Mustang's prowess by bringing new, exciting and
more powerful Mustangs to market."
Forty years ago, at the 1967 New York
Auto Show, Ford introduced the most powerful Shelby Mustang ever.
Like every Mustang that bore the name 'Shelby,' the GT500KR carries
with it its own unique story.
The 1968 Shelby Cobra GT500KR was a
mid-year introduction, based on the 1968 Shelby GT500. Ford added
'Cobra' to the Shelby's moniker to help usher in the beginning of
a new performance era at the company. The Cobra name referred to
the new 428 Cobra Jet V-8 that was planted under the KR's custom
fiberglass hood. It was the engine that would once again vault the
Mustang to the head of the pack.
Ford conservatively rated the 428 CJ
at 335-horsepower, but in reality it made more than 400-horsepower
and 440 pounds-feet of torque. The KR model was also equipped with
a modified suspension and was offered both in fastback and convertible
models. Ford dealers sold 1,570 GT500KR models in 1968, 1053 fastbacks
and 517 convertibles.
While the name 'King of the Road' may
have been the perfect fit for the world's most powerful Mustang,
it also provided Shelby the chance to steal the thunder from cross-town
rival General Motors. As the legend goes, Shelby learned that GM
was planning to introduce a high-performance model and call it 'King
of the Road.'
Since he had always wanted to use the
name, and as one to never miss an opportunity, Shelby set his organization
in gear, registering the name and designing new badging for the
Cobra Jet-powered Mustang, christening it the GT500KR, and bringing
Ford's 'King of the Road' to market before GM ever got a chance
to apply the name to their product.
Just like its 1968 namesake, the 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR builds
on the strong foundation of the Shelby GT500. Packing 40 more horses
under its custom-designed carbon composite hood, the GT500KR is
the most powerful production Ford Mustang ever produced.
The modern Shelby Mustang line-up started
with the 2007 Shelby GT500 coupe and convertible. With the recent
launch of the 2007 Shelby GT, the 2008 Shelby GT500KR becomes the
third production high-performance Mustang brought to market through
the relationship of Shelby Automobiles and Ford. Ford and Shelby
Automobiles also partnered up with Hertz to produce a special limited
run of 500 Shelby GT-H "rent-a-racer" Mustangs available
only for rent.
The 2007 Shelby GT500 has been one
of the most successful vehicle programs in the 14-year history of
Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT) and that success has opened the
door for more performance collaborations with Shelby Automobiles
and Ford Racing. Working together, these three performance powerhouses
are driving Mustang momentum on the street and on the racetrack.
Dealers cannot keep the cars on their lots, customers are clamoring
for more, and racers are bringing home championships.
Shelby Mustangs have already achieved
some impressive highlights showcasing an enthusiast demand that
is unmatched in the business:
# The first 2007 Shelby GT500 available to the public sold for $600,000
dollars at the 2006 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale,
AZ benefiting the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation.
# 2007 Shelby GT VIN#1 also went for $600,000 at charity auction,
this time at the 2007 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction (and
the winning bidder also took the opportunity to purchase VIN#2 at
# Shelby GT-H coupes auctioned off to Ford dealers after completion
of Hertz rental duty consistently average $50,000, with high auction
bids of $90,000.
The Shelby GT500KR will be produced
in an exclusive run of 1000 units and will begin arriving in Ford
dealers in the spring of 2008.
Crowning the New "King
of the Road"
Doug Gaffka, Ford SVT chief designer, and his team worked closely
with Carroll Shelby and the Shelby team to make certain the new
KR was crafted in the spirit of the original Shelby muscle car.
"This was a great effort between
Ford and Shelby Automobiles," said Gaffka. "The Shelby
team and I were in constant contact melding Carroll's classic design
cues with some modern concepts and ideas and finessing them into
the design of the new KR."
Gary Davis, vice president of production
and product development for Shelby Automobiles, played a key role
in defining the look of the custom designed carbon composite hood
for the GT500KR. His knowledge of the original GT500KR helped sculpt
a modern interpretation of the original's bulging hood scoop, a
visual indication of the extra horsepower packed beneath it. The
hood is secured by a pair of stainless steel, twist-down hood pins.
The composite front valance houses a pair of chrome-trimmed, functional
brake ducts to cool the large 14-inch, vented Brembo front brakes.
Side stripes are true to the original
KR right down to the font used for the 'GT500KR' lettering, while
the classic LeMans-style striping that races down the center of
the car has been deleted between the leading forward edge of the
hood scoops and the front of the hood, accenting the scoops and
giving the KR its distinctive face. "That was Shelby's idea,"
said Gaffka. "It's a special touch that adds some down-the-road
differentiation. There will be no doubt that it's a 'King of the
Road' Mustang that's filling up your rearview mirrors."
The show car wears exclusive, Shelby-designed
20-inch, forged, polished aluminum wheels with special custom center
caps, mounted on Pirelli rubber. Production models will arrive with
an 18-inch version of the design.
Each KR model is identified by special
40th Anniversary KR badges on the fenders and grille, distinctive
body colored mirror caps and Shelby lettering stretching across
the front of the hood and along the rear portion of the deck lid.
A special Shelby VIN tag is affixed to each vehicle, mounted in
the engine compartment.
The all-leather interior features Carroll
Shelby signature embroidered headrests and an official Shelby CSM
40th Anniversary GT500KR dash plate mounted at the top of the center
The KR's 5.4-liter V-8 Gets
the Royal Treatment
Just like its namesake, the 2008 'King of the Road' packs a walloping
dose of Ford performance power under its massive composite hood
scoops. The Ford SVT-engineered 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 is treated
to a Ford Racing Power Upgrade Pack that boosts horsepower to an
estimated 540 and torque to 510 ft.-lbs., thanks to revised ignition
and throttle calibration and a cold air intake system that replaces
the stock unit.
Calibration modifications include advancing
the ignition timing as well as re-mapping of the electronic throttle
settings to provide quicker throttle response for better off-line
and mid-range acceleration. Increased throttle response will be
met with a sharper roar from the Ford Racing-inspired exhaust system.
Power is delivered to the rear wheels
through a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission and 3.73:1
rear axle ratio, upgraded from the standard GT500's 3.31:1. Gear
selection is courtesy of an all-new Ford Racing short-throw shifter
making its debut on the KR. Topped with a white ball, the new shifter
is 25 percent shorter than the unit on the GT500 providing for crisper,
Ford SVT, Ford Racing and Team Shelby
worked together to develop the KR's suspension tuning. Based on
initial work by Ford Racing and the team at Shelby, often at Shelby's
own facility on the grounds of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Ford SVT
chassis engineers will apply fine tuning techniques to prepare it
for the streets.
"The production Shelby GT500 was
maximized to deliver the perfect balance between ride and handling,"
said Jamal Hameedi, chief nameplate engineer, Ford SVT. "In
that same ride versus handling continuum, the KR will lean heavier
towards all-out handling while still making it drivable on the street."
Chassis engineers worked closely with
the engine department in a holistic approach to the development
of the KR, tuning the suspension to best optimize the engine enhancements.
"We aren't fixing our attention
on one or two attributes, but working on the vehicle as a whole,"
stated Gary Patterson, vice president of operations for Shelby Automobiles.
"The throttle response, power delivery, exhaust note, and handling
should all gel together to deliver a total driving experience."
The GT500KR will feature unique spring
rates, dampers, stabilizer bars, and strut tower brace, all designed
specifically for the KR, to deliver the precision handling package.
Mustang Momentum Cannot be
Unwilling to wait for the impending pony car war to heat up, Ford
is extending Mustang's leadership position by feeding the enthusiast
demand for more models, features, performance parts, and special
editions. Ford has committed to at least one new Mustang 'feature'
vehicle per year. For 2007, it is the Shelby GT, and for 2008, there
will be at least two including the Shelby GT500KR and the previously
announced Mustang Bullitt. Ford's 'Steed for Every Need' strategy
currently offers four horsepower options for Mustang, with pricing
from $19,995 for a 240-hp V-6 Mustang coupe to $46,500 for a 500-hp
Shelby GT500 convertible.
Ford has also introduced several special
packages on Mustang further increasing its unique offerings, including
the Pony Package and the California Special. In addition, Ford Racing
offers a complete catalog of performance parts for Mustang fans,
from custom wheels and exhausts to the complete, turn-key Ford Racing
Mustang FR500C race car.
As a result, Ford offers Mustang enthusiasts
the ability to buy, modify and drive the steed that perfectly fits
- 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR
– Specifications and Design Highlights
- 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 producing
an estimated 540-horsepower and 510 ft.-lbs. of torque
- Ford Racing Power Upgrade Pack
featuring revised calibration and cold air intake system
- 6-speed manual transmission with
3.73:1 rear axle ratio
- Ford Racing performance exhaust
- Unique performance suspension tuning:
springs, dampers, and stabilizer bars
- Shelby-designed 'GT500KR' 20-inch
wheels (18-inch version for production)
- Ford Racing short-throw shifter
and front strut tower brace
- Unique carbon composite hood featuring
classic Shelby 'KR' design
- Front brake cooling ducts
- 'Shelby' lettering across the front
edge of hood and rear decklid
- 40th Anniversary badges on the
front quarter panels
- Carroll Shelby signature embroidered
headrests and floor mats
- Official Shelby CSM 40th Anniversary
GT500KR dash plate