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Shelby First Drive

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First Drive


Shelby GT 500



From Thursday's Globe and Mail



SHANNONVILLE, ONT. — Lapping the short, tight and twisty Nelson circuit at Shannonville Motorsport Park in Ford's new 2007 Shelby 500 GT version of the Mustang is like being trapped in a 500-horsepower revolving door.




Just about once a minute you're back where you started from while everything in between has been a kaleidoscopic blur. Or, to put it another way, it's like driving a 1/24th scale slot car on an HO scale track.




The Shelby 500 GT not only continues a great name, that of legendary American automotive icon Carroll Shelby and the Mustangs he created in the 1960s, but it's also the most powerful production Mustang built with its 5.4-litre, twin-cam, supercharged, 500-hp V-8.




Ford brought a pair of these potent new-age muscle cars — they go on sale in coupe and convertible form this summer priced at about $50,000 — to Shannonville for a test session on a cold, damp morning recently.




Bringing up the revs in the pit lane with the positive-feeling throttle pedal immediately taps you into the fat portion of the torque curve and, as you step out of the clutch, huge rear tires start to scrabble on the damp asphalt and launch out onto the track and into turn one.




On a flying lap, you're in third through this sweeper, the front tires holding your line nicely and those outsized rears gripping reassuringly as the torque twists them into the pavement in response to a wide-open throttle as you exit.




In a moment or two, you're braking really hard and steering right into 90-degree turn two, which is followed in a blink by a brake tap and another second-gear right hander, then the short brutal squirt to turn four, an awkward left-hander also taken in second.




Accelerate down the brief kinked "straight," just catching third, and then you're hard on the brakes again for the hairpin right. You carry second through a twisty bit before launching onto the front straight again.




It's a ride and a rush no video game is ever going to come close to replicating, but for all its sheer time-compressed violence, a fast lap in this ferocious 500-hp car isn't actually all that difficult.




Put that down to the great job the design team has done in making all the tools at your disposal — engine, gearbox, brakes, steering and suspension — work in harmony and balance.




Like all of this current generation of Mustangs, the Shelby pays homage with its personality and style to the sixties era but with a (mostly) modern approach to engineering.




It's a product of Ford's special vehicles team (SVT) operation, the company's high-performance arm, with inspiration provided by Shelby (now in his 80s) who developed the original Shelby GT350 in 1965 and followed it up with the Shelby GT 500 in 1967.




Shelby is also known, of course, for the Cobra sports car whose name and chromed snake emblem were co-opted by Ford and which survives remarkably untarnished considering it has been attached to such things as the 1978 Mustang II King Cobra hatchback coupe.




The Shelby is part of a long-standing Mustang marketing strategy, says new SVT boss Hau Thai-Tang (who was previously head wrangler of the new-generation Mustang project), that involves pumping up enthusiasm for the name with the frequent introduction of interest-generating new versions.




As with the original Shelby specials, the current car is essentially a hot-rodded version of the production Mustang and shares its platform, basic suspension setup and main sheet-metal pieces. The SVT boys and girls just tweaked a thing or two here and there.




Like the engine. As with the long-ago original, the Shelby packs "big-block" power under its bulgy new hood in the form of an iron-block version of the aluminum 5.4-litre "modular" V-8 found in the Ford GT supercar. It borrows the 32-valve aluminum heads from that engine, too, and nestled in the vee between them is an Eaton Rootes-type supercharger that blows 8.5 pounds per square inch of boost into the ports.




The result is 500 hp at 6,000 rpm — which will provide owners with entry to a still very exclusive club at a bargain price — and 480 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. Behind this is an obviously tough, but slick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox. Getting to 100 km/h takes about four seconds and top speed is governed at 260 km/h.




Thai-Tang says development of the latest Mustang's structure anticipated high-output versions and was designed accordingly. The suspension affixed to this strong and rigid platform is a retuned version of the standard MacPherson strut front suspension with uprated springs, dampers, bushings and anti-roll bar. Under the back end is a traditional, low-tech, old-tech live-rear axle suspended on coil springs and located by a tri-link system and a Panhard rod.




Wheels are 18-inch alloys shod with P255/45ZR18 performance tires up front and road-roller-sized P285/40ZR rears. The heavier engine gives the car a 57/43-per-cent front-to-rear balance compared with a stock GT's 54/46-per-cent ratio. At a hefty 1,778 kg, it also significantly outweighs the 1,582-kg GT. Brakes are massive 350-mm Brembo four-pot discs up front with 300-mm discs at the rear.




It's a belligerent-looking brute up front with its restyled hood with air-extraction ducts, revised headlamps and front fascia with fog lamps, air "splitter" and enlarged grille openings. There's a new rear fascia as well, with a modern integrated airflow diffuser and a nostalgia-style spoiler. Plus, of course, SVT, Shelby, GT 500 and chrome cobra badges in abundance.




The first GT 350 Shelby Mustang was a raw-boned track-oriented piece, but Thai-Tang says today's buyers demand refinement along with their performance so the interior has been swathed in black leather and the dash top finished in a soft-touch material. Oddly, the leather on the thick-rimmed wheel (with another chrome snake badge in its hub) is stitched in red, but the seams on the nicely form-fitting and supportive seats aren't.




The large, round, grey-faced speedo and tach, which frame small fuel, temp, oil pressure gauges and the ammeter, have thick titanium-coloured bezels that along with those on the four, round vents provide about the only bright spots on an otherwise rather stark dashboard.




Equipment includes manual air conditioning, a Shaker 1,000-watt audio system and power windows, mirrors and locks. The rear seat offers marginal space for two and the trunk just 348 litres of space — not that anybody who buys one will care as performance is what this car is really all about.




While my drive was limited to the track, a few touring pace laps revealed reasonable comfort levels that should make the Shelby GT 500 easy enough to live with.




Neat car.




2007 SHELBY GT 500




This is the most powerful production Mustang built with its 5.4-litre, twin-cam, supercharged, 500-hp V-8.








TYPE: Two-door sports coupe




PRICE: $50,000 (estimated)




ENGINE: 5.4-litre V-8, DOHC




DRIVE: Rear drive




TRANSMISSION: Six-speed manual




HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 500 hp/ 480 lb-ft




FUEL ECONOMY (litres/100 km): N/A; premium gas




ALTERNATIVES: In the 500-hp category in this price range there simply are none. A Corvette Z06 is almost twice as pricey and a BMW M5 half again more than that. Only the 425-hp Dodge Charger or Magnum SRT8s offer similar power at the price.









Tough guy looks and attitude

Bountiful power and benign handling characteristics that will make anybody who drives it look good








Despite the leather, the all-black interior, with its clumsy handbrake, simply isn't very inviting or appealing

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can we?, how do we send c.s. a part for signing??


svt power you can send a part to the carroll shelby childrens foundation you have to donate $200. and mr shelby will sign the part ex: glove box, or sun visor, you also will recieve a letter of authenticity about the signature just do a google search or yahoo for the c s foundation info good luck :rockon:

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svt power you can send a part to the carroll shelby childrens foundation you have to donate $200. and mr shelby will sign the part ex: glove box, or sun visor, you also will recieve a letter of authenticity about the signature just do a google search or yahoo for the c s foundation info good luck :rockon:



Great, thanks. Don't need the glove box or visor during winter storage anyways :)

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My good buddy, how's it been going???


Have you got your VIN or build date yet???


Are you going to send C.S. a part to sign for your car???




Hey James,


I fired off an Email to the Dealership General Manager, who's overseeing all the Shelby Ordering, earlier this week. He never got back to me. I started to panic! However the co-worker of mine Rob, who's #3 at the Dealer, told me tonight that Mr. Manager has been on vacation all week. Rob's a little pissed because he was supposed to get 'the call' to come in and order this Toy this past week. I'm expecting to be told my VIN and Build on Monday.?!

I'm hoping that CS will sign my License Plate! That dash idea is good too!! It would sure be thoughtful of Ford if they came through with a mailing out of signed CS dashplate for everyone?


07 Shelby

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I think I just had an orgasm. :happy feet:

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