On The Road: Shelby GT500 Auto Review
I want to speak to all those old fogey baby boomers, you know, like me, who yearn for an old-fashioned, fast, loud, gaudy muscle car. Gang, I have your ride.
This is the Shelby GT500 from Ford, and it is big, loud, gaudy and so fast, you might want to consider a pair of Depends. It’s scary fast…it’s scary like that guy with the crazy eyes at the truck stop at 3AM. It is also, I cost as much as a Corvette fast, so, what do you get for your thrills.
You get the world’s best Mustang, and while Ole Shel, rest his soul, didn’t put this thing together himself, the Ford Special Vehicles Team did, it carries on the Shelby tradition of taking a relatively humble pony car and turning it into Mr. Hyde.
Only this Mr. Hyde is relatively sophisticated. Inside, is a traditional Mustang interior which is one part nostalgia and one part comfort. The twin Shelby stripes continue on the nicely shaped bucket seats, and the slick 6-speed Tremec transmission is connected to the real reason for this car.
Up front is the 5.8-liter V8 which has been hooked up to an Eaton supercharger big enough to suck up small barnyard animals. The result…662 absolutely insane horsepower. No too many years ago, that much power would have won the Indy 500, or humbled some slicked-back, Euro-trash pretender in his Ferrari.
Now, it’s what you get for your $54-grand base price. 60 miles per hour comes up in 3.5 seconds and a claimed top speed of, drum roll please, 200 miles per hour. Are you going to drive 200 miles per hour? Of course you aren’t, but you are going to loudly mention it to the guy on the next barstool, aren’t you?
The shifts are, while a bit notchy, positive and perfectly spaced. The only problem for me is the suspension.
Properly beefy, it is though, based on the standard Mustang setup which includes a live rear axle.
I won’t go into technicalities, but a modern independent rear suspension handles irregularities in the road much better, and both the Chevy Camaro LT1 and Dodge Challenger SRT8 have it. On a twisty, unmanicured road, it can feel twitchy when you push it to the limit.
Fortunately for me, I’m just cowardly enough that I never hit that point. So for me, the Shelby was terrific, and easily worthy of one of the most legendary names in automotive history.