Pay no attention to the "2008" on that snake badge. Even though the 540-horsepower Shelby GT500KR was built to celebrate the 40th anniversary of a certain former chicken-farmer's automotive exploits, it seems that neither Ford nor 'ol Shel want the party to end. As a result, Ford and Shelby will produce an additional 746 units of the GT500KR in model year 2009. 541 of those will go to U.S. customers, making for a U.S.-market total of 1,571 cars, which conveniently matches the production run of the original KR. (Never mind those additional foreign-market cars -- they just mess with that warm, fuzzy, marketing-oriented math.) For your enjoyment, check out our gallery of the Vista Blue Shelby GT500KR currently on the New York Auto Show floor.
FORD AND SHELBY TO BUILD 2009 SHELBY GT500KR MUSTANGS TO MEET WORLDWIDE DEMAND
DEARBORN, Mich., March 20, 2008 - To compliment the 1,000 2008 40th anniversary Edition Shelby GT500KR "King of the Road" Mustangs, Ford and Shelby Automobiles announce that an additional 746 units will be built for the 2009 model year to help meet worldwide demand of the supercar. Of that total, 571 units will be available for U.S. customers thus equaling the 1,571-unit production run of the original Shelby GT500KR. The remainder of the units will be for countries that did not receive 2008 models.
"The response to this car has been overwhelming, so I'm glad we can share it with more Mustang enthusiasts," said Carroll Shelby. "This car is really special to me and demonstrates that when Shelby Automobiles gets together with Ford SVT and Ford Racing, we can deliver a Mustang that will compete with the best in the world."
Like the 40th anniversary limited edition, the 2009 Shelby GT500KR will feature a 540-hp 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 with a Ford Racing Power Upgrade Pack, 3.73:1 rear axle ratio, short-throw shifter, and unique suspension tuning. Exterior design draws inspiration from the classic Shelby KR Mustangs and features unique carbon composite hood, wheels, and unique striping.
The unique 40th anniversary badging will only be featured on the 2008 special edition.
The Shelby GT500KR or "King of the Road" Mustang is the fourth limited-edition Mustang that Shelby Automobiles and Ford have brought to market since resuming their collaboration in 2001. It builds on the performance and success of the 500-horsepower Shelby GT500 – the most powerful production Mustang ever.
"If you drive a Shelby Mustang, you are part of something special: a 40-year history of legendary racing and street cars," says Robert Parker, Ford Division Car marketing manager. "That's what is driving interest in the GT500KR among enthusiasts around the world."
Delivering the "King of the Road"
The 2008 Shelby GT500KR began production on Carroll Shelby's 85th birthday on Jan. 11 earlier this year. As production ramps up to launch, enthusiasts can expect to see the first GT500KRs arrive in dealers this spring.
Each Shelby GT500KR begins life as a GT500, built at AutoAlliance International Inc., in Flat Rock, Mich. From there, the cars are shipped to the Shelby Automobile facility in Las Vegas, where a Ford Racing Performance Pack, exhaust system and short-throw shifter are installed. The GT500KR also is fitted with unique body, chassis and interior components. Every GT500KR will be hand customized and delivered to each customer in an enclosed transporter, just like the legendary Ford GT.
The strong demand for the new Shelby GT500KR was recently demonstrated at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Az. where a one-of-a-kind version built with a glass-roof was auctioned off for charity. The GT500KR sold with a winning bid of $550,000, which went toward helping the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.