The collaboration between Shelby and Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT) is yielding an instant collector's Mustang that builds 500 horsepower in its 5.4-liter supercharged V-8.
A modern interpretation of the Shelby Mustang of the 1960s, the Ford Shelby GT500 uses advanced engineering to attain the performance that made the original GT500 the king of the road. True to the original GT500, it will be available both as a coupe and as a convertible when it goes on sale in the summer of 2006. "When Carroll was developing the original GT350 and GT500, he wanted to build the most powerful, most capable Mustangs of his day," says Hau Thai-Tang, director, Advanced Product Creation and Special Vehicle Team. "Our goal was to build the most powerful, most capable Mustang ever."
Just as the big-block GT500 from 1968 was a step up from the GT350, the 2007 Ford Shelby GT500’s 500 horsepower, 5.4-liter V-8 is a step up from the 4.6-liter V-8 used in yesterday’s SVT Mustang Cobra. Not coincidentally, the 2007 Shelby GT500 sports the largest displacement engine installed in a volume version of the Mustang since 1973. The 1995 SVT Mustang Cobra R used a 5.8-liter 300 horsepower overhead valve V-8, and 250 units were produced. The 2000 SVT Mustang Cobra R used a 385 horsepower 5.4-liter dual overhead cam V-8, and a limited run of 300 cars was produced.
While the big block, overhead cams and four valves per cylinder contribute significantly to the 500-horsepower output of the 2007 Shelby GT500’s 5.4-liter V-8, a Roots-type supercharger and intercooler are the icing on the cake. In fact, the configuration is similar to the Ford GT supercar, offering the right combination of classic Ford big-block power and modern technology. Using the Ford GT as a blueprint, SVT has given the GT500 more total horsepower than any factory Mustang in the car’s celebrated history. "The Shelby GT500 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," says Jay O’Connell, SVT chief vehicle engineer.
With the stout cast-iron, 5.4-liter Triton V-8 engine as a starting point, the Shelby GT500 adds a Roots-type 8.5-pounds-per-square-inch Eaton supercharger and water-to-air intercooler. "A screw-type supercharger that we use in the Ford GT gives you a little more top end, and the Roots type is a little fatter in the midrange," says O’Connell. Given that the GT500 will be used as a daily driver far more than the Ford GT is, it’s the ideal choice."
Adding forced-induction power is more than just a bolt-on proposition. The engine’s internals need upgrading for the sake of strength and durability. To that end, the Shelby GT500’s powerplant benefits from unique connecting rods and forged pistons to handle the extra strain on the lower end of the block. "The entire induction system is unique," says O’Connell. "That includes the intake, intercooler, fuel supply – everything." The all-new intake manifold helps to channel the supercharged fuel-air mixture into the cylinders. The low-profile manifold design also effectively packages the entire induction system under the GT500’s special air-extractor hood. Fuel comes from a dual-bore electronic throttle body borrowed from Ford’s 6.8-liter V-10 truck engine program. To manage heat produced by 500 horses, engineers devised a set of GT500 specific features, including an air-extractor hood, a high-capacity aluminum radiator, an intercooler mounted below the blower, a loop-style power-steering cooler and an oil-to-water stacked-dish engine oil cooler.