Friday, November 2, 2007

2007 Ford Shelby Cobra GT500 by SVT

2007 Ford Shelby Cobra GT500
The most powerful factory-built Ford Mustang in history will take to the street next year, following a unique collaboration between performance car legend Carroll Shelby and the Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT).

Ford took the wraps off the 450-plus horsepower Ford Shelby Cobra GT500 show car at the New Year International Auto Show March 23. Designed in the unmistakable image of Shelby Mustangs of the 1960s, the Shelby Cobra GT500 melds SVT's modern engineering with the big-block performance that made the original GT500 the king of the road.

"The all-new 2005 Ford Mustang is one of the hottest cars in many years," says Phil Martens, Ford group vice president, Product Creation. "Its chassis was engineered from the beginning to be the basis of a high-performance, world-class sports car from SVT, and the Shelby Cobra GT500 is it."

Carroll Shelby lends his support to SVT, adapting his earlier role as a senior advisor on the "Dream Team" that was assembled to develop and build the 2005 Ford GT.?

"I've worked with the SVT guys for several years now, and I know they have the guts, the talent and the passion to deliver the best performance Mustangs ever," says Shelby.

A production version of the GT500 will go on sale in 2006, continuing the high-performance lineage of the SVT Mustang Cobra model line. It will be followed by a steady stream of performance products developed by SVT, possibly including a version of the production-intent Sport Trac Adrenalin, the industry's first performance sport-utility truck.

"SVT led the modern-day factory performance trend with the Mustang Cobra and the industry's first high-performance truck, the F-150 Lightning," says Hau Thai-Tang, director, Ford Advanced Product Creation and SVT. "Today, we're building on that pioneering vision with vehicles like the Ford GT, Shelby Cobra GT500 and Sport Trac Adrenalin ? great performance machines that connect with enthusiasts in a way no other companies or vehicles can match."

The production GT500 will be the first in a string of specialty Mustangs that SVT will help deliver. This will create Ford Motor Company's ? and one of the industry's ? broadest product portfolio, stretching from under $20,000 for the V-6 Mustang coupe to the 450-plus-horsepower GT500, each offering performance and value.

The GT500 and the production-intent Sport Trac Adrenalin teaser accelerate the wave of momentum at SVT since the launch of the 2005 Ford GT supercar. SVT also now will develop non-SVT branded Ford Division performance vehicles ? including heritage-based performance Mustangs in the spirit of the 2001 Bullitt GT and 2003 Mach 1 ? as it becomes more directly integrated into Ford's mainstream product development process.

Shelby Cobra GT500's supercharged 5.4-liter DOHC V-8 produces over 450 hp

Just as the original Shelby GT500 was the "step up" to big-block power from the GT350, the new Ford Shelby Cobra GT500 steps up to Ford's 5.4-liter "MOD" V-8. The result? The GT500 is the most powerful factory Mustang ever. Its supercharged 5.4-liter, 32-valve V-8 evolves from SVT's experience with supercharging the "MOD" engine to deliver more than 450 horsepower and 450 foot-pounds of torque.

The cast-iron-block, four-valve engine is force-fed an air-and-fuel mixture via a screw-type supercharger at 8.5 pounds per square inch of boost. Aluminum cylinder heads, piston rings and bearings sourced from the Ford GT program bring a high level of proven durability to the drivetrain, while upgraded cooling components promise longevity. "Powered by SVT" camshaft covers are the finishing touch to the engine.

"This version of the 5.4-liter V-8 has a higher horsepower rating than any other factory Mustang in history," says Jay O'Connell, SVT chief vehicle engineer. "It really delivers on the essence of two great names in Ford performance a mix of SVT's modern-day experience with supercharging and the Shelby GT500's heritage of big-block power."

The engine has been further tuned from its first application in a Mustang, the 2000 SVT Mustang Cobra R, a limited edition model of 300 units.

Helping to put the power of the GT500's supercharged V-8 to the pavement is a T-56 six-speed manual gearbox. The evenly spaced gears mean less stirring is needed to find the "sweet spot" in keeping the revs "on cam" for power to pass, while at the same time making the most of the engine's broad torque curve. The heavy-duty transmission has proven itself a willing companion to V-8 power in Mustangs in both road and track environments, including the 2000 SVT Mustang Cobra R, 2004 SVT Mustang Cobra and the new race-winning Ford Racing Mustang FR500C.

Great power requires great control

The great Shelby Mustangs of the 1960s were anything but one-trick ponies. They earned their stripes on twisty roads and race tracks across America and Europe. The Shelby Cobra GT500 show car continues that legacy of all-around performance.

The GT500 starts with the solid 2005 Mustang underpinnings. The all-new Mustang's platform was designed from the beginning with performance derivatives in mind, providing an exceptionally rigid, well-engineered starting point for SVT chassis engineers.

Using real-world experience gained during more than 12 years of building great-handling SVT Mustang Cobras, SVT engineers retune and upgrade key chassis components. Improvements such as revised shocks, spring rates and upgraded stabilizer bars help the GT500 stop and turn with the same authority as it goes.

The GT500 features a MacPherson strut independent front suspension with "Reverse L" lower control arms, and a solid-axle, three-link rear suspension with coil springs and a Panhard rod for precise control of the rear axle.

This rear suspension design has been validated on the track by Ford Racing. The race-prepared Ford Racing Mustang FR500C was purpose-built from the base 2005 Mustang body structure and suspension geometry to run in the Grand-Am Cup series, a class of road racing for production-based cars. Competing against the best from Germany and Japan, a Mustang FR500C competed in and won its first ever race in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway in February 2005.

"SVT and Ford Racing will be working closer than ever as we go forward on future projects, especially Mustangs," says Thai-Tang, a Ford Racing alumnus who served as the race engineer for the Newman-Haas Racing team in 1993. "The Mustang FR500C racing program is an exact demonstration of the capability we engineered into the mainstream Mustang to be capable of. Now, we have both a Daytona victory and the return of the Shelby Cobra GT500 to showcase Mustang performance possibilities."

To match this power and handling ability, SVT fitted some of the biggest brakes in the business to the GT500. Fourteen-inch cross-drilled Brembo rotors up front and 13-inch discs in the rear continue SVT's legacy of great-braking Mustangs. Secure footing is provided by 19-inch wheels wrapped in high-performance tires.

The Cobra snake logo featured on the rear medallion continues the tradition of both the vintage Shelby Mustangs and the modern SVT Mustang Cobras. It also commemorates the first time in thirty-five years a new Mustang has featured the Shelby name.

Continuing the snake logo tradition of past-generation SVT Mustang Cobras, as well as late-model Shelby Mustangs, the fenders each feature an updated design of the Cobra. For the first time on any SVT Mustang, the front grille features an off-center snake in place of the standard running horse. "GT500" is emblazoned inside the side rocker stripes. The SVT logo can be seen on the center caps of the 19- x 9.5-inch aluminum wheels, a signature SVT location over the years, as well as on the doorsill plates.

"We spent a lot of time updating the Cobra logo," says Gaffka. "The design team was very passionate about painstakingly adding detailed snake scales and adding a sharper edge to the teeth to honor the original.

"The Cobra logo is the perfect icon for the GT500. It represents the history and performance of both Shelby and SVT. And, the Cobra badge shows the future of Mustang performance, melding Shelby and SVT into a thoroughly modern vehicle that still recognizes its legacy."

Comfort and style have a clear mission in the Ford Shelby Cobra GT500 show car: provide a well-appointed yet businesslike cockpit that clearly appeals to the driving enthusiast. While seating position and comfort are always top priorities for drivers, quality materials and craftsmanship are no less important. Just a single look or touch needs to convey instantly that this is one very special Mustang.

"Today's Mustang Cobra buyer expects the kind of amenities and a level of comfort and fit and finish that simply weren't available during the Shelby heydays," says Doug Gaffka, chief designer, Ford SVT. "But we also know of enthusiasts who believe that a woodgrain dash doesn't belong in a 1970 Shelby GT500 ? or any purposeful performance car. So we sought to exceed the expectations of both in the new GT500."

The GT500 interior design borrows from the 2005 Mustang's symmetrical instrument panel and square-arched "eyebrows" on each side of the center stack, paying tribute to the muscle car's 40-year heritage. The quality materials, precision craftsmanship and technical innovations translate perfectly to the higher-end SVT model.

The GT500 also shares the base architecture's solid structure, forming the basis for engineering a quiet interior. As a result, enthusiasts will enjoy more of the 450-plus horsepower, all-American V-8's throaty grumble and less of the wind and road noises that distract from enjoyment of long drives.

Time spent at race tracks to develop the 2005 Mustang pay off in the GT500's interior ergonomics. The steering wheel, shifter and pedals are all placed optimally for enthusiast driving, ideal for heel-and-toe performance shifting, thanks to the upfront engineering work. The seating position is more natural, supportive and comfortable for drivers ? either for spirited track driving or for long stints along the twisties.

"We spent a lot of time developing the 2005 Mustang at race tracks because we knew enthusiast driving traits would benefit all versions of the car, not just the Shelby GT500," says Hau Thai-Tang, director, Advanced Product Creation and SVT. "These track tests were important for tuning the car and, importantly, for laying out key driving interfaces inside the car."

Lathered in black leather, even on the dash

The GT500 gives new meaning to the term "leather interior" as the dash, seat borders and door panels are completely wrapped in Black Ebony leather. Also wrapped in ebony leather are the shift lever, shift boot and parking-brake handle.

For visual contrast, the GT500 features satin-aluminum finished trim (rather than traditional chrome) and new "SVT Red" leather seat inserts and door-trim panels provide a marked contrast to the rest of the leather-trimmed cabin, creating a very special driving environment.

Mini-perforated leather seat inserts cover the GT500's extra-supportive bucket seats for a soft, supple hide that breathes, making for a more comfortable ride. As an added styling touch, Cobra emblems are embroidered on the front seatbacks.

When the driver takes hold of the steering wheel, he or she will instantly know this is a car made for the serious car enthusiast in part due to the substantial size and feel that enhances driver control.

"One change we made in the GT500 interior plays directly into the driver's hands ? literally," says Gaffka. "We redesigned the leather-wrapped steering wheel so the grips are thicker and better positioned for enthusiast driving. And, of course, the airbag cover had to wear proper GT500 identification."

SVT-style, titanium-faced instruments and performance shifter keep driver connected

High-performance driving involves keeping track of a myriad of visual inputs, and that includes the regular monitoring of engine and other vehicle system functions. As such, the GT500 has a unique instrument cluster specially designed for the needs of an enthusiast driver.

To enthusiasts, a tachometer is at least as important as a speedometer, and a full array of gauges is a must. As such, the positions of the tachometer and speedometer are reversed on the GT500, making the tachometer the dominant gauge visibly for the driver. Also, the voltmeter gauge is replaced with a boost gauge that monitors the performance and health of the supercharger.

The reorganized gauge faces feature a unique titanium-colored finish, with white lettering ? a unique performance cue SVT pioneered on the original Mustang Cobra. At night, the color of the illuminated letters can be modified by the MyColor color-configurable instrument panel.

The system consists of three light-emitting diodes green, blue and red projected through "light pipe" fittings located on the sides of the speedometer and tachometer. At the driver's command, these pipes mix various combinations of the three primary colors to create more than 125 unique background color options for the gauges.

The center stack is well designed and uncluttered for easy use of the radio, climate control and other switchgear with minimal driver distraction. The highlight of the driver's cockpit is the substantial leather-wrapped shifter for the six-speed manual transmission. Reviews of similarly equipped 2005 Mustang GTs promise enthusiasts will appreciate the shifter's short, smooth shifts just as much as its visual importance.

The space race ? Ample accommodations assure comfort, room for gear on long drives

The GT500 shares the base architecture's larger dimensions that open more space inside the cabin while providing an aggressive stance and a foundation for great driving dynamics. The benefits include more room for the driver and front- and rear-seat passengers for more comfort on long trips. Importantly, the trunk is more than 10 percent larger to hold more travel gear.

"The tallest drivers in our customer base have not been fully happy with previous Mustangs," says Jay O'Connell, SVT chief vehicle engineer. "We've addressed that in this all-new car, while maintaining the 'cockpit feel' essential to a driver's car. But we wanted to improve comfort for passengers, too. The extra cabin space makes a world of difference on long drives."

Together, these changes help make the Shelby Cobra GT500 a driver-oriented car that possesses style and comfort ? and no woodgrain in sight.
Source: FoMoCo

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Shelby is a great car, but I dunno if the price is justified by the Shelby name. And I think the lack of IRS is a shame.

Check out a video I put together that follows the Mustang from it's fox body days.

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