Anyone with a pulse is aware of how well the 2005 Ford Mustang has been received by critics and consumers alike. Of course, that makes sense - it's a car that offers contemporary styling with a definite retro flair and a choice of two desirable engines. That car is so hot, in fact, that its rumored that factory executives and Ford’s own designers are far behind a long list of customers waiting for 2005's gotta-have-it car. Apparently Ford isn't satisfied with this raging interest, though, so 2006 will add a higher performance version called the Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500, an asphalt-munching beast that traces its heritage back to a highly praised 1968 model of the same name.
With Ford's talented SVT (Special Vehicle Team) unit and the legendary Carroll Shelby working together on this project, it was almost certainly a guaranteed success. The result of this collaboration will surely put goofy grins on the faces of Mustang and power lovers everywhere: 450 horsepower, 450 lb.-ft. of torque, Brembo calipers, 19-inch alloy wheels, and a price that should be in line with that of the previous Mustang Cobra model. And according to project designers, the 2006 Ford Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500 "will be the most powerful production Mustang ever built."
Ford officials are tight-lipped on how much it will cost to get into a 2006 Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500, but they do say that pricing will be in the same range as the previous Cobra, which started in the mid $30s. However, since the new model is better in most every way, we expect pricing to start at least in the high $30s.
A six-speed manual transmission, featuring a 3.31 final drive ratio, is responsible for putting the power to the pavement.
An independent MacPherson strut suspension is used up front, aided by the same 34-mm stabilizer bar used on the Mustang GT. The rear features a three-link solid axle setup with coil springs (chosen over an independent rear suspension because of its performance in tire-smoking drag runs and overall durability), but the 24-mm stabilizer is two millimeters larger than that found on the Mustang GT. A Panhard rod, with SVT-tuned bushings, has been bolted to the rear axle to keep everything in place when 450 lb.-ft. of torque is unleashed; a control arm attached to the front of the differential also assures that all of that twist doesn’t wreak havoc. Finally, front and rear ride heights have been lowered to improve handling.
Outside, the Shelby Cobra GT500 is accented by dual racing stripes, GT500 lettering, Shelby badges, 19-inch alloys, and revised front and rear fascias. A rear diffuser has been added, and the integrated spoiler is smaller than that found on the regular Mustang GT. Affixed to the front air dam is an air splitter, and the aluminum hood has a noticeable center “dome” under which lies the supercharger.
The previous, non-supercharged Ford SVT Mustang Cobra R reportedly reached 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds and 100 mph in about 11 seconds – look for the 2006 Ford Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500 and its 450 horsepower and 450 lb.-ft. of torque to improve on those numbers.
Which goes to prove – American muscle lives!
Photos courtesy of Ford Motor Company