Friday, November 2, 2007

The Grows of Shelby Legend

2007 Ford Mustang
Ford says the 2007 Shelby Cobra GT500 Mustang (this is not the 2006 Shelby GT500 Cobra Mustang) will be the most powerful factory-built Mustang in history, more powerful than the 1969 Mach 1 428 Super Cobra Jet or even the legendary 1969 Boss 429.

Think about that for a second. Let it sink in. Take a knee if you have to, but the reality is this: When this car hits the streets during the summer of 2006, it'll have 450-plus horsepower, making it the most powerful Mustang ever.

Start saving your pennies now.

Shelby Approves
Ford is calling the car a unique collaboration between the legend Carroll Shelby and the Ford Special Vehicle Team (SVT). "I've worked with the SVT guys for several years now," says Shelby. "And I know they have the guts, the talent and the passion to deliver the best performance Mustangs ever."

Shelby, who built the legendary Shelby Mustangs and Shelby Cobras in the 1960s, served as a senior advisor to the "Dream Team" that was assembled inside the Ford Motor Company to develop and build the 2005 Ford GT supercar.

"Carroll Shelby is truly a living automotive legend, a Ford performance legend," says Phil Martens, Ford group vice president of Product Creation. "It's a dream come true to be able to put the Shelby name on a Mustang again."

Supercharged 5.4-Liter
The Shelby's supercharged 5.4-liter, 32-valve V8 is similar to the engine in the GT. Ford started with the cast-iron 5.4-liter Triton V8 truck engine and added aluminum heads from the GT, specially calibrated camshafts, a Roots-type supercharger making 8.5 pounds of boost, and a water-to-air intercooler.

Under that blower is an all-new low-profile intake manifold, which allows the engine to fit under the GT500's special air-extraction hood. Fuel comes from a dual-bore electronic throttle body borrowed from Ford's 6.8-liter truck engine program, however, the larger radiator, increased-capacity cooling system and the exhaust manifolds are unique to this application.

The engine is also dressed with special "Powered by SVT" finned cam covers which are reminiscent of the "Cobra Powered By Ford" covers used by Shelby five decades ago, and it's backed by the same T-56 six-speed that appeared in the supercharged 2003 SVT Mustang Cobra.

Solid Rear Axle
The GT500 chassis development started during the 2005 Mustang program. "We spent a lot of time at the track developing the new Mustang and ensuring it was capable of handling future performance derivatives," says Hau Thai-Tang, director of Ford Advanced Product Creation and SVT.

The result, according to Ford, will be SVT's signature chassis tuning with a balanced, performance-tuned ride that still maintains the compliance required for everyday driving. And Ford says it will accomplish these goals, with the GT500's MacPherson-strut front suspension and three-link rear suspension, which locates a solid rear axle.

Although conventional wisdom says the antiquated rear-end design is in conflict with building a state-of-the-art performance car, Thai-Tang says it isn't a problem. "In terms of performance, the Mustang's solid-rear-axle setup in the GT500 has been proven in race competition this year with a Mustang FR500C taking the checkered flag at the season-opening Grand-Am Cup race at Daytona," he points out.

The GT500's suspension is lower than a Mustang GT's, and uses recalibrated front and rear shocks, upgraded front and rear stabilizer bars and revised spring rates. The key to the GT500's three-link architecture, according to Ford, is the Panhard rod that provides precise control over the rear axle. It's centrally located and fastened to the upper front end of the differential, while trailing arms are located near each end of the axle.

It all rolls on 19-by-9.5-inch wheels wrapped in massive tires measuring 255/45ZR19. And the brakes are equally impressive. The Brembo front rotors are 14 inches in diameter, cross-drilled and clamped by four-piston aluminum calipers. In back, Thai-Tang and his crew chose 13-inch rotors and four-piston calipers.

A New Performance Era?
According to Ford, the GT500 show car, which debuted at the New York auto show in March, points to a brand-new era in Ford Motor Company's performance future.

A company press release said, "By bringing together Carroll Shelby and Ford SVT, the company's commitment to performance becomes as powerful as at any time in its history — including the famed 'Total Performance' days of the 1960s."

Think about that for a second. Let it sink in. Take a knee if you have to.
Source: edmunds

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