With the release of Bold Moves Episode 9, Ford has officially launched the new Shelby GT Mustang. As we'd already reported, the Shelby GT is essentially a retail version of the rental-only Shelby GT-H. In some ways, it's more appealing, though. For one thing, it can be had with a five-speed manual that appears in the form of a classic Hurst cueball-topped shifter.
The Shelby GT begins life as an ordinary Mustang GT which is then shipped off to Shelby Automobiles in Las Vegas for transformation into a 325-horsepower snake. Its soul comes largely from Ford Racing performance parts. First up: the Ford Racing Handling pack, which drops the car and gives it more athletic suspension settings. To accent the changes, all the important suspension bits are painted Ford Racing Blue.
The Ford Racing Power Pack improves on the stock 4.6L V8 by adding a new cold-air intake, performance-oriented engine recalibration, a freer-flowing, better-sounding exhaust, and a shorter rear axle ratio. The aforementioned short-throw Hurst is also included if the car's equipped with the standard tranny. Power numbers rise to 325-hp and 330 lb-ft of torque.
Outside, cars are painted either Performance White or Black and receive silver LeMans striping. Lower side accent stripes with "Shelby GT" markings also appear in the transformation. GT-H-style front and rear fascias are installed and centered Shelby badging is added to the trunklid (this looks better than the offset "SHELBY" on the GT500). Unlike the GT-H, the Shelby GT does not include the rear declkid spoiler -- a change for the better, in our opinion. The stock Mustang GT badge stays in its familiar spot on the front quarter panels, and 18" chromed "Bullitt"-style rims reside in the wells. Finally, hood pins and a Cobra-style scoop are added to complete the visual upgrades. (This is another area where the Shelby GT differs from the GT-H, which wears a Shelby Performance hood).
The interior is highly reminiscent of the Hertz car, with its prominent dash and branded sill plates. Shelby GT floor mats and the Hurst (on 5-speed-equipped cars) complete the look. The number on the dash plate matches the one found on a similar plate in the engine bay.
Still no word on pricing, which will slot in somewhere between the Mustang GT and Shelby GT500. Whatever the cost, we certainly like the appearance of the new Shelby, and expect that it should be as fun to drive as it looks.
Author's Note: The standard transmission was erroneously referred to as a six-speed in the original post. The error has been corrected. The Shelby GT is available with a five-speed manual transmission.
(Hi-res photo gallery, press release after the jump)
Click any image to enlarge to 1280 pixels wide.
NEW 2007 FORD SHELBY GT OFFERS A BALANCED SMALL-BLOCK DOSE OF MODERN SHELBY MUSTANG MAGIC
- The new Ford Shelby GT adds a 4.6-liter V-8, 325-horsepower* model to the modern Shelby Mustang portfolio, joining the 5.4-liter, 500-horsepower Ford Shelby GT500.
- Ford reveals the 'Go Fast' decision-making and development process of new Shelby GT on its "Bold Moves: The Future of Ford" web-based documentary today at: www.fordboldmoves.com.
- The Shelby GT arrives in dealer showrooms in first quarter of 2007.
- Ford Shelby Mustangs have proven extremely desirable: The first publicly available Shelby GT500 sold for $600,000 in January and the only Shelby GT-H sold to the public commanded $250,000 in late July, both at charity auctions.
"Our goal is to offer a steed for every need," says John Felice, Ford brand general marketing manager. "The new Shelby GT is a low-volume, extremely collectable Mustang for enthusiasts. It also offers a few more customers the opportunity to experience firsthand magic of Mustang and Carroll Shelby."
The Shelby GT is the third modern Shelby Mustang produced through a collaboration of Ford and Shelby Automobiles. In addition to the 2007 Shelby GT500, Ford and Shelby created 500 copies of the Ford Shelby GT-H, which are available only through select Hertz rental centers.
"We have been overwhelmed at the number of people who want to buy a version of the Shelby GT-H," said Carroll Shelby, CEO of Shelby Automobiles, Inc. "The Shelby GT will deliver the power and balanced handling of the Shelby GT-H, but with more performance potential, especially due to the available manual transmission."
Modern Shelby Mustangs have proven to be extremely desirable among Mustang and Shelby enthusiasts. For example, in January an early production Shelby GT500 sold at the Barrett-Jackson auction for $600,000, with proceeds benefiting the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation. On July 28, a Shelby GT-H was sold for $250,000 at the EAA AirVenture, with proceeds benefiting the Youth Eagles aviation education program.
Shelby-inspired performance, proven by Ford Racing
"The Shelby GT builds on the expertise of Ford Racing, the experience of Carroll Shelby and the Shelby team to deliver an incredible driving experience that is unmistakably Shelby," says Jamie Allison, manager, Ford Racing Performance Group. "And, like every Shelby Mustang should be, the Shelby GT is ready to be both a weekday driver and a weekend warrior for track days."
The Shelby GT driving dynamics are fine tuned with the Ford Racing Handling Pack, which was developed by the same engineers that developed the Ford Racing FR500C, which won the 2005 Grand-Am Cup Championship. New coil springs drop the overall ride height by an inch-and-a-half for a more aggressive stance and reduced body roll. Stiffer dampers and front swaybar further enhance cornering feel and body control. To showcase the key performance modifications, Ford Racing painted all the key suspension components, including the damper, spring, and swaybar Ford Racing Blue.
A front strut-tower brace adds additional strength to the chassis structure, and P235/55ZR18 high-performance tires maximize the benefits of the chassis upgrades.
Under hood, the Ford Racing Power Pack increases the output of the naturally aspirated, three-valve, 4.6-liter V-8 to 325-horsepower, and 330 pound-feet of torque. The Power Pack includes a 90 millimeter cold-air intake and a new performance engine calibration for improved response. The high-flow exhaust system with X-pipe crossover offers better power delivery and a throaty V-8 exhaust note. A shorter rear-axle ratio is installed to capitalize on the Shelby GT coupe's extra power, especially accelerating off the line. For Shelby GT models equipped with a manual transmission, a Hurst short-throw shifter is installed for more precise shift action.
"The Shelby GT is great fun on the track," continues Shelby. "It's got the heart and soul of the Mustang GT pumped up with a strong motor, nimble chassis and great sound. It's one of those rare cars that's easy to drive really fast."
Authentic Shelby design cues
The Shelby GT will be offered only as a coupe, and only in two exterior colors, Performance White or Black. Both colors are accented by silver LeMans-style racing stripes – a signature detail of classic Shelby Mustangs. The LeMans stripes extend over the hood, roof, and trunk, and are complemented by matching side stripes with "Shelby GT" nomenclature.
The powerful face of the Shelby GT features a unique front fascia, with a more aggressive lower air dam. The brushed-aluminum grille is accented by an offset Mustang logo. In addition, the Shelby GT has a new hood scoop that comes directly from the famed Shelby Cobra roadster.
The side profile features chrome-finished 18-inch wheels and unique side scoops just before the rear wheel arches. The rear fascia frames the larger dual exhaust tips, and is topped by Shelby badging on the trunk lid.
Inside, features include 'Shelby GT' logo floor mats and custom sill plates with Shelby GT nomenclature. In addition, the Shelby GT features an authentication plate on the center dashboard, as well as matching tag underhood. This tag features the CSX number, which is recorded in the Shelby Automobiles registry.
Shelby GT models will begin as a stock Mustang GT assembled at AutoAlliance International assembly plant in Flat Rock, Mich. The cars are then shipped to the Shelby Automobiles facility in Las Vegas for modification before delivery to Ford dealerships.
"The Shelby team in Las Vegas is excited about building the Shelby GT," said Amy Boylan, President of Shelby Automobiles, Inc. "With our friends at Ford, we are creating the next chapter in the Shelby legacy."
Offering a steed for every need
"It's an exciting time to be a muscle car fan, as legendary names from the 1960's are being reincarnated in the marketplace," says Felice. "As the Shelby GT shows, Ford will continue to dominate the new muscle car wars just as we have done for over forty years. No other nameplate will be able to match the depth and breadth of options the Mustang offers."
In support of Ford's "steed for every need" strategy, Ford now offers four horsepower options for Mustang, with pricing from $19,995 for a 240-hp V-6 Mustang coupe to $46,500 for a 500-hp Shelby GT500 convertible.
Ford has also introduced several special packages on Mustang further increasing its unique offerings, including the Pony Package and the California Special. And there are plans for more in the future.
In addition, Ford Racing offers a complete catalog of performance parts for Mustang fans, from custom wheels and exhausts to the complete, turn-key Ford Racing Mustang FR500C race car.
As a result, Ford offers Mustang enthusiasts the ability to buy, modify and drive the steed that perfectly fits their need.
For more information about Shelby Automobiles, Inc., and a sneak-peak of the build of the first Shelby GT prototypes, visit www.shelbyautos.com.