What happens when a performance legend from Dearborn reunites with a performance legend from Texas? You get the Ford Shelby GT500. The collaboration between Shelby and Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT) continues to yield an instant collector's Mustang that delivers 500 horsepower from its supercharged 5.4-liter V-8. Collectability is almost guaranteed, thanks to this one being a low-mileage first-year example. Note how much more valuable the '65 Shelby GT350 is than the '66—it's all in the introduction date.
A modern interpretation of the big-block Shelby Mustang of the late 1960s, the 2007 Shelby GT500 uses advanced engineering to attain the kind of performance that made it the original the “King of the Road.” With an original goal of 450 horsepower, the engineers at Ford barreled through that self-imposed limit and instead endowed the GT500 with a nice, round 500 horsepower, making it the most powerful production Mustang built to date.
Of course, when it was announced, Mustang and Shelby fans alike started lining up at dealerships across the country, deposits in hand, to snatch up the first run of the new Shelby supercar. A lot of them were driven and enjoyed, but a few savvy buyers knew they had something special and put them away. RK Motors Charlotte has always featured beautiful, low-mileage Shelby Mustangs, and this Torch Red example is only the latest in a long line of exceptionally nice cars. With only 1200 miles on the clock, this first-year GT500 has been only rarely driven, and has never seen rain or inclement weather. It is in new condition in every imaginable way, even down to the tires which are always subject to abuse in a 500 horsepower car.
Bathed in Torch Red with traditional white stripes, this 2007 Shelby GT500 is brilliant in person, and as far from subtle as I can imagine. As with all of our low-mileage late-model cars, it is as-new in every single way. The factory paint is excellent, and on a $50,000 Mustang, it had better be. Glossy and smooth, with good panel gaps, I think we should all take a moment and be thankful for modern assembly techniques and paint technology, because it's giving us cars that are so nice, they can stand proudly next to hand-built and freshly restored pieces with pride. A sinister-looking front-end design includes wide upper and lower fascia openings with a functional lower air splitter. The upper grille opening sports the famous Cobra logo, floating off-center in place of a centered galloping pony found on other Mustangs. On either side, slanting headlamp openings add to the dramatic front appearance.
The bulging hood has a set of matching heat extractors protruding near the leading edge, combining to provide improved airflow and aerodynamics. As air passes over the hood, hot air from the engine compartment is drawn out through venting attached to the extractors.
The unique rear fascia features lower strakes inspired by the Ford GT's integrated rear airflow diffuser, and a rear spoiler reminiscent of a classic GT500. To mark the collaboration of two Mustang performance icons, the GT500 features both Shelby and SVT badges.
The fenders each sport an updated design of the famed Cobra emblem. The front grille houses 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 written across the rear deck. The SVT logo can be seen on the wheel center caps, a signature SVT location, as well as on the doorsill plates. To top it off, the medallion between the taillights reads, “Shelby GT500” centered on the Cobra image.
Under the skin, there are many additional ways in which the GT500 stands apart from other Mustangs. For one, it boasts a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 engine capable of cranking out 500 horsepower and 480 pounds of torque—take that, Camaro! Based on the engine in the Ford GT, it has been modified for heavy-duty use in the GT500 with an iron block and revised engine management software. Cool “Powered by SVT” badges adorn the cam covers, and almost everything is exactly the way the factory installed it—a virtual roadmap of detail that restorers in coming decades will clamor to review.
If 500 horsepower isn't enough to win the hearts of performance enthusiasts everywhere, the GT500 features performance upgrades throughout. For instance, it comes with a MacPherson strut independent front suspension with reverse-L lower control arms, backed by spring rates and an upgraded stabilizer for improved handling and stopping performance. Next, the GT500 is only available with a 6-speed manual transmission, designed exclusively for performance driving. In fact, the car's heavy-duty transmission is the same in design as the race-winning Mustang FR500C. In back, it has comfortable 3.31 gears on a limited slip, which you're definitely going to need.
As for braking, the GT500 boasts massive four-piston Brembo calipers fitted to 14-inch Brembo vented rotors up front and 11.8-inch vented discs in the rear. In the rolling stock department, it rolls on 18x9.5-inch wheels featuring 255/45/18 Goodyears up front and 285/40/18s in back.
The GT500's interior has been designed to suit the performance driver. For instance, the optional charcoal and red leather seats feature additional lateral support to help keep the driver optimally positioned during cornering, and all the stitching is in contrasting red to match. The cockpit also features a revised instrument panel and tachometer, designed to provide better viewing of shifting points in performance-driving conditions. Shelby's GT500 script and Cobra image are featured on the steering wheel cap. The cockpit also features Ford Racing shifter with a cue ball knob, as well as accessories with a satin aluminum finish. This car also features the ambient lighting feature, where drivers can program one of seven different interior lighting options to suit their individual tastes. The ambient lighting features LEDs mounted in the front console, two in the footwells, and two around the cup holder. Lighting can be changed depending on the driver's mood.
Documentation includes everything you'll need to make this a fully pedigreed Shelby in the future, including the original window sticker, owner's manuals, instruction sheets, and other paperwork that come standard with every new Mustang.
I'm often surprised by time capsule cars that show up now and again, showing that someone had the forethought to put a car away for the future. Of course, we all know about the '76 Eldorados, the '78 Corvette pace cars, and other obvious collector pieces that turned out to be duds, but I don't think these Shelbys will end up like those. First of all, a vast majority of people who are buying these cars are actually taking them out and enjoying them, racking up the miles and reducing value. Second, Shelbys are something special today, not merely transportation, and as Keith Martin of “Sports Car Market” magazine always says, if it's special today, it will be special in the future. A 500 horsepower Mustang is most certainly something special. This one is a benchmark in many ways—performance, value, and documentation. If you missed your chance in 2007 to get one of the first ones off the line in untouched original condition, we're offering you another opportunity. Take advantage of it and call today!