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MAYNARD'S GARAGE- 662 Horsepower! Shelby GT500 Hand Built With Pride PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 07 November 2013 07:52

Photo Credit Creative Syndicate

With a starting price of $55,000 ($66,000 as tested), at least half of the MSRP is the Shelby pedigree and beefed-up components.

I followed a sheriff's cruiser into the parking lot of a sandwich shop, being careful to park several cars away. Not that I was driving recklessly, but the ripped physique of a metallic Ruby Red Mustang Shelby GT500 sends a subtle message of casual disregard for motor laws.

And, oh, great, here comes the deputy now, heading straight for the car and me.

I reached out my hand and barely caught his name he was so intent on seeing the engine. The supercharged 5.8-liter V-8 puts out 662 horsepower and a tire-vaporizing 632 foot-pounds of torque. This engine will fry the tires in first, second and third gears and probably fourth if I tried hard enough. Ford says it is the most powerful V-8 engine in the world that gets shoehorned into a production car for mainstream use.

"My uncle builds the engines for these and I want to see if his name is on it," said the officer, who will remain nameless as a professional courtesy. He's also the owner of a vintage pickup, highly modified with 600 horsepower. I like this guy.

I popped the release from inside the car and he raised the aluminum hood and set the prop rod as if he'd done it 100 times before.

"There," he said, pointing to a small plaque on the forward edge of the right-side valve cover. And in etched script on a small aluminum plate was the names of two engine assemblers: Jeff Hamblin (the uncle) and Gary Marston.

We paused for a moment of "wow" and pride for a handassembled product from Flat Rock, Mich., which made a family connection 2,400 miles away in Southern California. The Shelby GT500 is a special car and not one for every Mustang enthusiast. There is a special breed of performance person who just can't get enough power. This is their car and often these owners will add modified superchargers, exhaust and other enhancements to get more power -- 750 horsepower is a common upgrade, and some go upwards of 1,000.

With a starting price of $55,000 ($66,000 as tested), at least half of the MSRP is the Shelby pedigree and beefed-up components, which include the supercharger, cross-drilled block and heads, camshaft profiles, carbon fiber driveshaft and clutch, transmission and axle.

Acceleration from 0-60 can happen in a couple clicks quicker than four seconds. But it is the raging power through second, third and fourth gears that quickly establishes respect for this car. It can be driven as calmly as a Mustang GT, but it stomps and chomps like the Hulk waiting to bust out of its cylinders and go screaming. And sometimes you just have to let it go.

The GT500 has a higher level of precision to parts and pieces. The electric steering requires just sly inputs to stay on course. The front brakes are 15-inch Brembo discs with six-piston calipers. And the suspension is balletic in weight transfers through corners, to which I credit the adjustable Bilstein shock absorbers in the Performance package.

This is the end of the line for this Mustang body style. The 2015 restyling will be slimmed down for aerodynamics and fuel efficiency, but with some traditional Mustang elements. The new car is expected to debut sometime around mid- April next year for the 50th anniversary of the Mustang.

Will there be another GT500? Ford isn't talking about the new model or possible variants, but there has been a Special Vehicle Team since the 1993 SVT Cobra. And a V8 is at the core of Mustang history, said my Mustang mole in Dearborn, Mich.

The engineers, designers and planners own Mustangs and are immersed in the culture, said my source. "They live in the (car) community, they own the cars and do the things that the enthusiast community does. "Bottom line, we are not going to disappoint our fans."

Mark Maynard is online at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Find photo galleries and more news at Facebook.com/MaynardsGarage

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Last Updated on Thursday, 07 November 2013 07:56