More Details About the Shelby Cobra GT500

Since the Ford Shelby Cobra GT500 was launched at the New York auto show, everybody is interested in the fastest Mustang from the factory. At the 2005 New York International Auto Show last March, Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT) took the wraps off the stunning Ford Shelby Cobra GT500. Since then, interest in the special Mustang has been strong. After seeing the GT500 in New York, AutoWeek magazine wrote: "On paper, the GT500 -- in development for more than a year and officially approved two months ago -- has enough power and flair to put Chevrolet's base Corvette C6 smack on the trailer." wrote: "This Cobra should satisfy even the most extreme performance enthusiasts and make Corvette drivers a little nervous."

And The Car Connection wrote: "With all the power promised for the new Cobra GT500, it's likely that almost everyone will have to follow."
Dealers seem to like it, too.

"I think the Shelby Cobra GT500 is awesome," said Grant Guzowski, a sales representative at Capistrano Ford in Orange County, California. "I have a customer who is waiting to get on a list to buy one. He can't wait. As soon as it comes out, he is going to buy one. Ford seems to have hit all the critical areas: straight-line acceleration, cornering, brakes, performance times. If you can buy a Mustang Cobra that will compete with a Porsche 911, like you can with this car, that's amazing. We're really excited. We can't wait to see them in the dealership."

For those of who missed the New York unveiling, here are the basics, plus a bit more information than was revealed in our previous Shelby Cobra GT500 story.

The Ford Shelby Cobra GT500 will be the most powerful Mustang from the factory ever. It has a supercharged 5.4-liter DOHC V-8 engine that produces more than 450 horsepower and 450 pounds-feet of torque. The cast-iron block four-valve engine is force-fed a mixture of air and fuel via a roots-type supercharger at 8.5 pounds per square inch of boost. This engine was first put into service in the limited-edition 2000 SVT Mustang Cobra R, a car that Car and Driver magazine ran from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and from 0 to 100 in 11 seconds, and that was without a supercharger.

"The Shelby Cobra GT500 is going to be the most capable, the most powerful Mustang that Ford or SVT or Carroll Shelby has ever introduced," said Hau Thai-Tang, Director of Advanced Product Creation and SVT.

Jay O'Connell, SVT chief vehicle engineer said that the car's supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 has a higher horsepower rating than any other production-capable Mustang in history.

"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," said O'Connell.

The Shelby Cobra GT500's supercharged V-8 uses 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.

Visually, the Ford Shelby GT500 concept has Le Mans-style white stripes race along the top from nose to tail. GT500 nomenclature is prominent in the lower bodyside racing stripe. The Ford Shelby GT500 concept also has unique front and rear fascias, a heat-extracting hood, and Shelby and SVT badging.

SVT engineers retuned and upgraded key chassis components based on experience gained through the Ford Racing Mustang FR500C program. Improvements include revised shocks, spring rates and upgraded stabilizer bars. The GT500 also 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.

"SVT and Ford Racing will be working closer than ever as we go forward on future projects, especially Mustangs," said Thai-Tang. "The Mustang FR500C racing program is an exact demonstration of the capability we engineered into the mainstream Mustang to be capable of. The Mustang FR500C and Shelby Cobra GT500 both showcase Mustang's performance possibilities."

For the first time on any SVT Mustang, the Shelby Cobra GT500's front grille has 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 is 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 Cobra image.

The Shelby Cobra GT500's interior is wrapped in ebony black leather, including the top of the dash, door panels and center arm rest. The shift lever, shift boot and parking-brake handle are also covered in leather. SVT Red leather-trimmed seats and door panel inserts provide a marked contrast to the rest of the leather-trimmed cabin. Snake logos embroidered into the seat backs finish the package.

"SVT has been and will remain the leader in performance vehicle engineering and marketing," said Phil Martens, Ford group vice president, Product Creation. "SVT remains unique in offering the total performance experience. The Ford Shelby Cobra GT500 and the return of Carroll Shelby to our performance family only strengthens our firepower."

Dearborn, May 12, 2005
Source: Ford Mustang news from the Ford Motor Company

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