Ford’s Fastest Mustang Powers Kids’ Causes: Hot New Mustang On The Blocks For Carroll Shelby’s Children’s Foundation
The fastest factory Mustang ever is ready to post big numbers – not just at the drag strip but for charity, too. When the gavel drops at the 35th anniversary of the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event in Scottsdale, Ariz., Jan. 21, one lucky bidder will win the right to purchase the first 2007 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang. The winning Mustang enthusiast can collect his prize from Carroll Shelby himself with proceeds benefiting the Carroll Shelby Children’s Foundation.
Carroll Shelby, the legend behind the original Shelby Mustangs from the 1960s, has once again teamed up with Ford Motor Company to put his name on this soon-to-be-legendary muscle car. Based on the all-new Ford Mustang, the Shelby GT500 coupe and convertible boast a supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 that produces more than 450 horsepower.
In addition to setting itself apart in the performance department, the GT500 is visually distinct. Classic Shelby styling elements are used extensively in the exterior design. The front of the car sports an appearance befitting a muscle car legend with a functional air splitter and a unique hood with heat-extraction duct. 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.
To mark the reunion of two Mustang performance icons after so many years, the GT500 features both Shelby and SVT badging. A snake logo is a tradition of previous SVT Mustang Cobras and late-model Shelby Mustangs, and it continues on the GT500; each fender sports an updated design of the Cobra logo. “GT500” is emblazoned in the side rocker stripes, and the name “SHELBY” is prominently featured across the rear deck. To top it off, the “gas cap” medallion between the taillights reads “Shelby GT500,” centered on the Cobra image.
“The restrained, performance-oriented SVT design theme has become instantly recognizable to enthusiasts,” said Doug Gaffka, design director, Ford Special Vehicles Team (SVT). “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.”
Along with the coupe, Ford is launching its most powerful factory-built Mustang convertible in its history, just in time for summer 2006. In designing the Shelby GT500 convertible, Ford SVT engineers were able to start with the same solid chassis structure that benefits its 2005 Mustang counterpart. Ford engineers were able to design the coupe and convertible at the same time, yielding a convertible with twice the structural strength of the previous-generation Mustang.
Engineers analyzed where the convertible would require the most strength and how commonality with the coupe could be integrated into the car’s basic structure. With that information, they were able to add strength to both models to help solidify the convertible without excessive bracing or structural reinforcement. As a result, the GT500 convertible is heavier than the coupe by fewer than 125 pounds.
The same 475-plus-horsepower V-8 engine that powers the GT500 coupe is under the hood of the convertible. And with the convertible’s added weight kept to a bare minimum, fewer suspension modifications were needed, meaning the convertible’s handling will be far closer to that of the coupe than was ever possible before.
The Shelby GT500 convertible features a unique cloth top, replacing the vinyl top of the Mustang GT convertible. The GT500 will be only the second Mustang to feature a cloth top, which was introduced on the 2003 SVT Mustang Cobra.
Carroll Shelby will auction the rights to the first 2007 Shelby GT500 to benefit the Carroll Shelby Children’s Foundation.
The cloth is similar to that used for high-end, exotic sports cars, and it upgrades the exterior appearance of the convertible. The thicker fabric is not only more durable than vinyl, but creates a much tauter top, resulting in a very quiet interior while driving with the top up.
Carroll Shelby is pleased with the results and believes the GT500 is worthy to inherit the name of the legendary muscle cars that came before it.
Said Shelby, “Whether it’s the coupe or convertible, the 2005 Shelby GT500 can go up against the best of them and hold its own.”
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