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2007 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang

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San Francisco: Years ago when I was a kid I worked at Moriarty Brothers Lincoln-Mercury in Manchester, Connecticut. Ford was into big time auto racing back then and Matt Moriarty Jr. was too. Matt had a friend who owned a 1967 Shelby GT500 with the fabled 427 engine. 

I was working the midnight shift at the dealership and the Shelby was in for service. I still remember sitting in it back in the service department, starting it up and listening to the rumble of the exhaust system and the clatter of the solid lifters. I fell in love with that car; and if I actually owned anything worthwhile at the time I would have traded it all for that Shelby.

Flash forward forty years. Ford Motor Company and Carroll Shelby have once again teamed up to produce a masterpiece, sure to make kids (and more than a few grownups) drool. I know I drooled, and once again I looked about for something, anything, I might be able to sell.

I will get right down to it; this is the baddest Mustang ever. The GT500 is like Muhammad Ali in his prime, when you are that good you do not need to prove yourself at every opportunity. Many will challenge you, but you just smile and let them go; there is no reason to humiliate them.

The only ones to challenge the GT500 were the foolish who did not recognize the power bulge in the hood, or the not so subtle Cobra emblems. Those who knew what they were looking at just gave a thumb's up and a broad smile.

Visually the 2007 GT500 is oh so reminiscent of the 1967 & 1968 Mustangs.  The new Mustang body takes its styling clues from them. The GT500 has a very similar front-end treatment, the twin Le Mans white stripes, and the special wheels, and the new 18 inches in diameter are dead ringers for the originals.

That is where the similarities end though. There were two 67 & 68 GT500s back then, the base 428 V8 and the 427 V8.  Although the 428 was more streetable than the 427, regardless of engine, the original GT500 was a manly car in the sense that it took brawn to drive it. The 2007 GT500, even though it is quicker, faster, and handles and stops better, could easily be your daily driver. The controls are no heavier than those of a garden variety Mustang GT.

The amenities, while not over the top luxurious, make the 2007 GT500 a real Gran Turismo. Amazingly both door windows are auto up and down, one of the few North American cars to have them.

The GT500 is not about power windows or the ability to cruise comfortably.  It is about raw power, unadulterated power. Under the hood is a special supercharged 5.4-liter, DOHC, 32-valve V8 that produces an astounding 500 horsepower.  Do you have any idea what 500 hp feels like? I do. The power is fed through a 6-speed manual transmission that is one of the smoothest shifting 6-speeds I have ever used, mated to a solid rear axle assembly with a 3.31:1 final drive gear ratio. This Mustang just rips up the payment.

The new GT500ís are all equipped with traction control and the programming lets the rear wheels spin just enough to make you appreciate all the power. For the very talented, or extremely stupid, the traction control can be turned off. I never turned it off, not even once. I never side-stepped the clutch either, but just easing the clutch out and nailing the throttle once under way is more than enough to break the massive P285/40ZR18 tires loose, and they will break loose in at least the first three gears (I did not have the cojones to try it after that). Ford and Shelby need to do a little work on the rear suspension thou because there is way too much axle hop with the wheels spinning.

I had the GT500 for a week, just like most other cars I get. For some reason traffic was moderate to heavy every single morning and evening. I kept hoping for a break, especially on my drive home in the afternoon. My right foot wanted to push that pedal to the floor for extended periods and 280 is such a good high-speed highway. But the chance did not come. Then on the last morning's drive to work there was a huge break in traffic. I downshifted from sixth to fourth and got on it, shifting up to fifth at around 120 mph.  I saw an indicated 140 mph before I started closing on the cars ahead and had to slow down. Top speed is electronically limited to 155.

I know some of you will be outraged that I dared drive that fast on a public road. No harm, no foul as they say. I was amazed at how stable the GT500 was at speed.  I used to own a 1989 Mustang GT and it was far less stable at lower speeds then this Mustang is at 100 MPH plus.

One reason I felt relatively safe at that speed was the brakes. The front brake rotors are massive 14 inches in diameter, and the calipers are four-piston Brembos. The rear brakes are two-piston calipers on 11.8 rotors. This is one Mustang that stops right NOW!

You do not expect great fuel economy from a car like the GT500, and if you drive it like it is intended to be driven, you will not get it. If you drive it reasonably (slow) you can expect about 21 highway and 15 city. Trust me, you will never see those figures.

The downside (why does there always have to be a downside?) for the 2007 Shelby GT500 is the price. Not the suggested list price, which is under $45,000, no the GT500 is worth every penny of that. The problem is the greedy dealers tacking on exorbitant profits. If you can find a Shelby GT500 expect to pay at least $20,000 over the MSRP list price. 

But the real downside is the same one that existed for me forty years ago. I could not afford the $4,195 that a 1967 GT500 cost in 1967, and I cannot afford a 2007 GT500 today, even at the suggested retail price of $43,765 for my test car. That still is the pity of it; someone else will be driving my Shelby GT500, at least for now. But you never know about tomorrow.  By Bruce Hotchkiss © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: 
This is the baddest Mustang ever
Topic: The 2007 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang
Word Count:  1159
Photo Caption: 
The 2007 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang
Photo Credits:  Ford Mustang Internet Media
Series #: 
2007 - 26

 

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