Shelby GT500: Horses and Ponies and Snakes, Oh My!

2020 ford mustang shelby gt500
ford mustang shelby gt500

I don’t get a ton of press vehicles passing my way and the ones that do come always take awhile in my poor (look at my paycheck some time) desperate hands. The bright side of this is that when I do get a press vehicle it is usually more impressive and capable than I deserve. Such was the case when I was tossed the keys to a 2007 Shelby GT 500 Mustang.

A lot of the car magazine guys I know snickered at the regular old Mustang GT when the most recent version came out. “It’s cheesy”, “handles like a pig”, “awful interior” the comments went on and on. But a few of us were impressed by the car, after all, it is a Mustang, not an exotic sports car, and I thought it was fast, comfortable, the interior was good by Ford standards and most importantly it was fun. What more could you want from a Mustang?

Well, I found the answer to that question: 500 horsepower. Driving the Shelby GT 500 is not unlike driving the GT, the main difference is power and speed. For a car with 500 horsepower, the Shelby is remarkably easy to drive. The clutch pedal was on the heavier side which I actually prefer in a car with this type of performance. The six-speed transmission shifted flawlessly through the gears and the limited-slip rear end really proved it's worth putting the power to the ground. Although the big Mustang really liked to get sideways it never felt twitchy or harsh like the Z06 Corvette I drove earlier this year. The GT 500 did show a bit of axle hop when dropping the hammer in first gear, but otherwise, it handled great for a live axle.

The best part of this car is its power plant. The 5.4 liters 32 valves supercharged V8 performs like a champion. Delivering smooth and steady power that builds gradually as revs go up this motor will definitely pin you to your seat. With the help of 8.5 pounds of boost from a roots type blower, not to mention the cool supercharger whine, the Shelby Mustang puts out a healthy 500 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque. Despite the Moby Dick curb weight of 3,920 pounds, the Shelby can dash from naught to 60 in only 4.5 seconds. Not too bad for a car that only cost $43K.

There are some downsides to the car however and one of them is the brakes, they just aren’t as spectacular as you would hope. They stop the car ok, but you get the feeling that a few laps around a race track or 20 minutes of hard driving on a twisty road would cook them pretty well. My other complaints are pretty minor and subjective. The dashboard has a really ugly cap on it that looks like a total afterthought that was glued in place at the last minute to add more leather to the cabin. The ride height also looks a bit on the tall side in the back, giving the car that already looks like a hooligan should be driving it and even more Stockton high school kid look.

Those complaint aside the Shelby GT 500 is a good package. No, it doesn’t perform like a Corvette and it isn’t as nice as an M6, but it cost a lot less and it offers a remarkable amount of fun for the dollar. If I had $43,000 I would still probably just by a GT and take a nice vacation, the Shelby is a little too flashy for me, but that’s taking nothing away from the car. It was a blast to drive and doesn’t pretend to be anything it is not. It is just one fast Mustang, nothing more.

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