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King Cobra. Image by Ford.

King Cobra
More presence, more technology, more power. The new Ford Shelby GT500 is the best thing to come out of America so far this year.
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In case you'd forgotten, there was a small American car industry crisis-type-thing all the way back in 2008. Christmas provided some welcome respite from stories of the US carmageddon, though, and now Ford is acting like the whole thing never even happened.

So sit up and enjoy a surprisingly rosy start to the new American car news feed in the form of this: the Ford Shelby GT500, because the proverbial is probably only days away from resuming its steady stream towards the fan.

The Mustang-based Shelby GT500 is an icon of American motoring, of course, and this 2010 model promises to be the best yet. Developed jointly by the Blue Oval and Shelby Automobiles, the GT500 is a true American muscle car with roots in the Shelby Cobras of the 1960s. Well that's what Ford says, anyway, but that could just mean the GT500 is really fast and it has stripes.

We're far from complaining, though, because the GT500 will be really fast and the stripes look pretty good to our peepers. Using the limited edition 40th Anniversary GT500KR ('king of the road') Mustang as a focal point, the 2010 car gets 540bhp and 510lb.ft of torque from a 5.4-litre V8 engine, fed to the 19-inch diameter rubber through a six-speed manual gearbox. Taller fifth and sixth ratios mean fuel consumption is improved over the outgoing car, but acceleration is better too thanks to a 40bhp power upgrade.

But the new Shelby 'Stang is more than just a horsepower hike. The new car has undergone a myriad of revisions - some positively anal - including larger discs for the twin-disc clutch (up by 35mm), which are now also made of a stronger copper/fibreglass composite. Cabin noise is reduced, though it's engineered so the supercharger can still be heard, and the exhaust's aural fireworks are modified for a more pleasing note.

The wheels are lightened, the tyres made of stickier rubber, and the springs and dampers re-optimised for a more compliant ride/handling balance. Even the steering column is strengthened for better handling and more feel.

Standard features include AdvanceTrac stability control, a 'sport' mode for the track, lots of airbags, a natty system that calls 911 if one of the airbags is deployed, another even nattier one that tells Ford how healthy the car is automatically, and the more trivial ambient lighting system that provides an interchangeable interior hue (with 125 colours). Massive cup holders are a given, and the seats are Cobra-striped, too. We'll see more of it when it's officially unveiled in Detroit next week.

Mark Nichol - 5 Jan 2009


2009 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang. Image by Kyle Fortune.2009 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang. Image by Kyle Fortune.2009 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang. Image by Kyle Fortune.2009 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang. Image by Kyle Fortune.2009 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang. Image by Ford.

2009 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang. Image by Ford.2009 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang. Image by Ford.2009 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang. Image by Ford.2009 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang. Image by Ford.2009 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang. Image by Ford.









www.ford.co.uk    - Ford road tests
- Ford news
- Shelby GT500 images






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