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2014 Ford Shelby GT Flies Again!
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.
What gets you next is the sound. The engine fires with no more drama than starting up your average rental car, but the roar, snap, and burble from the Borla pipes is magic. The car is loud in a genuinely good way, especially under mid rpm load or on the overrun when it pops and snaps off-throttle out of the big stainless pipes, all of which in this case is nicely overlaid with the whine of the supercharger. You'll be hot throttling it through your favorite long tunnels, for sure. Fortunately, it won't drive you out of the car, as all the good motor music tones down at higher gear cruising speeds.
Our brief drive took us near and around Shelby's Los Angeles facilities, which is decidedly industrial and somewhat bereft of great cornering opportunities, save for the occasional skidpad-style freeway onramp. But we're sensing great handling capability here, including cat-quick response to steering inputs and high grip levels. We'll make plans to evaluate one on a road course and get back to you with better-informed feedback.
Even though this car in top GT/SC 624-horse trim is a cousin, not direct competitor, to Shelby's own GT 500 Super Snake, the comparison is unavoidable, and in the end we like this new GT better. The baddest of the Super Snakes offer more power, but the GT may handle and ride better, and seems more eager to rev up. There's a little less weight on the nose, so the overall balance feels a bit better, and of course even a fully decked out GT costs less than a Super Snake. Different cars for different enthusiasts.
If there's any elephant in the room about the return of the Shelby GT, it's the '15 Mustang and what the '15 Shelby models may look and run like. These cars are under development and as of yet unrevealed, so those questions remain unanswered for now. We do know that such cars remain many months off, so for those who don't wish to wait, or are wholly committed to the current Mustang's muscular styling and hardware makeup, any version of this new Shelby GT should make them very happy. And it may come down to price, this new Shelby being a particularly good combination of cost and content.
"While the Shelby GT is very affordable for such an exclusive vehicle, a post-title program allows us to take performance to new levels," said Shelby American VP of Production Gary Davis. "Working with partners like Ford Racing, it is docile enough to be a daily driver and still dominate the track on the weekends."
The 624hp Shelby GT/SC is expected to blast from 0-60 mph in about 3.7 seconds; the quarter-mile time should be in the mid 11-second range. The car should also pull over 1g on the lateral skid-pad. Having driven the 624-horse version, albeit only on public roads, we have little reason to question Shelby American's performance estimates.
The price of the base Shelby GT package, not including the Mustang GT, is $14,995. The 525-horsepower Shelby GT/SC conversion begins at $24,995, with the 624-horse config another three grand over that.
For more information about arranging the build of your own '14 Shelby GT, call 704/942-7325. You can start by building your Shelby GT online at http://www.shelbyamerican.com/2014sgt.asp.
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Shelby GT Equipment
Caster/camber plate set
Shelby/Barton short shifter
Panhard suspension bar
Shelby GT dash plaque and engine plate
Billet upper grille with Ford running pony emblem
"Powered by Ford" side badges
Shelby trunk letters
20 x 9 wheels, silver BFG G-Force Comp2 tires
Shelby GT front fascia
Shelby GT fiberglass hood
Shelby GT carbon laminated hood louvers
Shelby head rest covers
Shelby GT LeMans and side stripes
Shelby GT/SC Add'l Features
525 or 624 horsepower
Shelby/Ford Racing Whipple supercharger, 525hp, black
Shelby/Wilwood 6-piston front brakes, red Shelby/Wilwood 4-piston rear brakes, red
Michelin Pilot Super-sport tires
A-Pillar gauge pod with boost, fuel, and oil pressure gauges
Shelby GT/SC side stripes
Shelby/Ford Racing Whipple supercharger, 525hp, black or polished
Shelby/Ford Racing Whipple supercharger, 624hp, black or polished
Shelby/Kenne Bell super- charger
Shelby GT aluminum driveshaft
20 x 9 Wheels, black
Shelby/Wilwood 6-piston front brakes, red or black
Shelby/Wilwood 4-piston rear brakes, red or black
Shelby billet Watts link
Eibach sway bar kit
Eibach coil-over kit
Shelby cooling system
Shelby GT front spoiler
Shelby GT 500 rear spoiler
Quarter window covers
Light bar w/third brake light (convertible)
Shelby/Kicker audio system
Shelby interior upgrade
Shelby GT lighted door sill plates
Serialized car cover
Shelby Wide Body Kit*
*Separate transaction, available in rear only or front and rear.