Matt Stone
January 22, 2014
Photos By: Jerry Heasley

You might be surprised to learn that the best-selling Shelby Mustang ever is the Shelby GT from '07-'08. This model, which slotted neatly between Ford's standard Mustang GT and the Shelby GT 500, gave enthusiasts a choice of a more affordable naturally-aspirated Shelby Mustang, and put to good use the parts and equipment developed for the popular '06 GT-H Hertz Shelby rental program.

In the wake of the now-out-of-production Shelby GT 350, Shelby American is filling the void with a new Shelby GT, using its Los Angeles Auto Show press conference last November as a launching pad. The new generation Shelby GT is based on the '11-'14 Mustang GT with an attractive base price and 430 horsepower. The optional Shelby GT/SC supercharged model comes in as either a 525hp or a staggering 624hp version, making it the most potent Shelby GT to date, says Shelby.

"The Shelby GT was one of the most important vehicles in our history," said John Luft, president of Shelby American. "It kicked off Shelby's rebirth in Las Vegas by putting a Mustang-based small-block car into Ford dealerships. Ever since the Shelby GT went out of production, people have clamored for its return."

In 2007, Ford Division, Carroll Shelby, and Ford Racing created the Shelby GT. Beginning as 4.6-liter Mustang GTs assembled at Ford's AutoAlliance assembly plant, they were shipped to what was then Shelby Automobiles in Las Vegas for transformation. The 320hp '07 Shelby GT coupes were all Performance White or Black with silver stripes. For '08, Shelby added Vista Blue and a choice of coupe or convertible bodystyle. About 8,000 Shelby GTs were built.

"The Shelby GT was wildly popular and the people who snagged one have been among our most passionate owner groups," adds Luft. "The cars were often tailored with custom parts to fit an owner's personality and then driven hard on both the street and track. The Shelby GT dominated its SCCA racing class in 2007 and 2008."

Shelby American VP of Sales Gary Patterson adds, "Based on the standard Mustang GT, the total cost of our entry-level '14 Shelby GT is only about $45,000, yet it offers so much more than the previous model. The performance-to-price ratio makes the Shelby GT perfect for any serious pony car enthusiast."

As with the GT 350, the new Shelby GT is a post-title program; owners or Shelby-authorized Ford dealers send 5.0-liter coupes or convertibles to Shelby for the upfit. And it doesn't have to be a '14 model; Patterson stresses that any '11-'14 Mustang GT, new or used, can be upgraded to a Shelby GT. Every aspect of the car is enhanced or replaced to create a potent, balanced performer. The entry-level Shelby GT package upgrades include a Ford Racing suspension; Shelby branded exhaust, intake, and engine tune for 430hp; special wheels and tires; short shifter; hood and front fascia; and Le Mans stripes that make it uniquely Shelby. Every Shelby GT is 50-state emissions legal and runs on pump gas.

The Deep Impact Blue 624 horsepower GT/SC we drove is the exact car Shelby featured on its stand at the LA Auto Show, proving that it was much more than a show pony. Of course, it's the look that grabs you, with the Deep Impact Blue Metallic contrasting perfectly with the silver Shelby stripes (owners have a choice of the entire Mustang GT color palette). The appearance is very similar to the GT 350, if a little cleaner and simpler without the "GT 350" lettering that was reverse die-cut into that model's hood stripes (which some people liked and others did not). The Shelby GT looks haunched and purposeful on its fat 20-inch rolling stock showing off its huge brakes. We also like the way the ribs of the aluminum intercooler mounted down low in the fascia neatly match the brushed aluminum ribs of the special Shelby grille just above it. Of course, all the requisite Shelby ID is in place, inside and out, and it's the cabin that demonstrates how much Ford and Shelby have upgraded the level of materials, fit, and finish over the earlier Shelby GT of just five seasons back. This is a great looking, racy, comfortable, and high quality interior.