Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Convertible, 2010
The Ford's Special Vehicle Team used the gains made on the 40th anniversary edition Shelby GT500KR "King of the Road" Mustangs as the performance starting point and built from there. The design team, with a nod to the original Shelby Cobras from the 1960s, takes those design cues even further with nuanced improvements in both the coupe and convertible, each of which boasts a more-refined interior.
More horsepower, more refinement, more functionality
The combination of added horsepower, refinement and functionality makes the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 a unique high-performance car. The Shelby GT500 delivers more horsepower and more torque than the outgoing model, thanks in part to advancements pioneered on the GT500KR.
The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is powered by a supercharged and intercooled 5.4-liter dual overhead cam V-8 engine expected to produce 540 horsepower and 510 foot-pounds of torque. The redline is 6,250 rpm. The car's aluminum power dome hood not only adds to the Shelby's appearance, it helps cool the engine through a hood extractor.
The Shelby's open-element air induction system features a conical air filter instead of a flat-panel closed system to reduce air restriction. This approach allows more air to be pumped through the engine, producing more power and increasing the engine's efficiency.
A cold-air intake feeds the coolest air possible directly into the air box, helping further increase horsepower.
The intake necessitated moving the Cobra snake badge to the other side of the grille to enable maximum airflow.
The twin-disc clutch on the six-speed manual transmission has been significantly upgraded, improving drivability and NVH. The discs on the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 are larger - 250 mm in diameter compared with 215 mm in diameter on the outgoing model - and made of copper and fiberglass to make them more robust.
A unique component of the twin-disc system is the control of the intermediate disc. Rather than floating, it instead has six straps that control the engagement of the clutch, improving drivability.
The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 improved straight-line acceleration, plus fuel savings when cruising on the highway in the top gears. Gears 1-4 remain the same, but fifth gear changes from .80 to .74 while sixth gear goes from .63 to .50, meaning that the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 will turn lower engine RPMs in those gears and deliver improved fuel efficiency. The new final drive ratio, from 3.31 to 3.55, enables the improved acceleration in lower gears while complementing the revised fifth and sixth gear ratios.
The Shelby's distinct sounds will be apparent as always, though with new refinements, thanks to the work of the Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) team. A patented resonator placed between the air filter and engine throttle body helps keep unwanted noise in check.
Driving dynamics also are improved, thanks to SVT's signature chassis tuning as well as new 19-inch Goodyear F1 Supercar tires and forged aluminum wheels on the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 coupe and 18s on the convertible.
Spring and dampers have been optimized for better roll control, giving customers more confidence when braking, accelerating or turning. The new chassis tuning takes its philosophy from the KR program, with a greater emphasis placed on primary body control.
Directing the air so it's used most efficiently was a painstaking process that ultimately will be rewarding to customers. The design of the front fascia and the car's "flush" hood helps focus air flow. The top grille focuses air into the radiator, with a rubber flap inside the engine compartment helping to seal the system. The lower grille helps cool the intercooler. SVT engineers also went as far to block off specific diamonds in the front of the Shelby GT500's distinctive grille to help maintain the correct cooling and aerodynamic balance.
What's inside counts with the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
The base Mustang received a powerful new interior design. For the GT500, the interior design team members challenged themselves to raise the bar even higher to create the ultimate Shelby Mustang interior.
The genuine aluminum finish panels have a unique-to-GT500 three-dimensional dimpled texture pattern inspired by racing clutch plates, braided hoses and cross-drilled racing brake rotors. The pattern has been painstakingly tuned to compensate for the compound curvature of the instrument panels. In addition, the "GT500" logo has been discretely engraved into the aluminum in front of the passenger as a nod to classic Shelby Mustangs of the 1960s.
The unique aluminum finish panel is fully encapsulated by an exquisite soft seamless TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) instrument panel with a shape that resonates with Mustang's powerful heritage. The center stack flows into the console and features a sub-flush shifter trim ring, flush cup holder door and lockable console stowage featuring the word "SHELBY" engraved in its Satin Liquid Chrome release button.
The Mustangs and Shelbys feature bright 360-degree rings surrounding the gauge cluster, uninterrupted by the steering column. These rings will come in chrome for the Mustang and a Satin Liquid Chrome finish for the GT500. This finish is featured throughout the interior. An intricate cobra is etched into the center of the aluminum steering wheel badge. The Shelby Cobra appears at startup on the navigation screen, and the familiar red "SVT" logo utilizes new ambient lighting to illuminate the door scuffplate.
Even the classic white shift knob - an icon of Shelby Mustang DNA from years past - received special attention. First, it had to be the traditional white. It also had to be specific to the Shelby. The answer was to combine the racing-stripes theme with the traditional "H" pattern found on shifters to create a one-of-a-kind knob. Like the exterior, the racing stripes wrap from end to end, encircling the knob.