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Performance Tested: The All New Shelby GT
For decades, Mustang owners looking for extended levels of performance and style have turned to Shelby American. Carroll Shelby dialed in a winning formula in 1965 when he modified his first Mustang, and today, Shelby American in Las Vegas continues the tradition, offering Mustang and F-150 owners a variety of performance options. Of course, you can still purchase a Shelby GT350 right from Ford, or a continuation Shelby Cobra roadster or the more exotic Shelby Daytona coupe from the gang in Vegas.
But we’re here to talk Mustangs, and recently we went on track with the latest pony packages from Shelby. This includes the 627 horsepower Shelby GT, the all-new 330 horsepower Shelby GT EcoBoost and the 750-plus horsepower Super Snake—now available with an automatic for the first time!
A group of select automotive writers headed to Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch about an hour outside of Las Vegas, Nevada for a day of horse riding, and we came away all smiles. We experienced all four Shelby Mustang variants, including the Ford Mustang Shelby GT, Shelby GT EcoBoost, and stick and auto Super Snakes.
The first Mustang we drove was the 627 hp Shelby GT, which is upgradeable to 670 hp. We drove the 627 hp version that gets boost from a Ford Performance supercharger and has a wonderful sound. Our Shelby GT was unmistakable, flashing its goodness with Yellow paint, special Weld wheels, a full-compliment of carbon fiber and those famous Le Mans stripes.
On track, the Mustang was nimble thanks to the Ford Racing Handling Pack and the massive 6-piston Wilwood brakes, which gave us plenty of stopping power on the tight track. Balance is the key with this Mustang and the folks at Shelby have tweaked the Mustang in the right places to give it better-than-stock performance, that’s easily controllable and super fun to drive. We ran the tight configuration of the Spring Mountain course and the Shelby ate it up. The S550 is composed and the enhancements give you extra confidence. One huge advantage over S197 and even stock S550 Stangs, is the ability to roll the power on early during corner exit. In the old days, you’d better be pointed straight, but the Shelby GT dug in and maintained grip at the point where you want it to.
We found excellent grip from the Michelin tires, though we could induce oversteer exiting the two low-speed, hairpin corners. The Handling Pack lowers the Mustang and gives a nice level of firmness to the suspension without causing any harshness. While we didn’t back-to-back the Shelby against a stock Mustang, we could feel the improvements.
Some folks will never push hard on track, instead, they’ll be after the style and design of the Shelby GT. And the look is anything but subdued, especially when splashed in Yellow. The GT is enhanced with a sleek carbon hood, front splitter, rear spoiler and Le Mans and side stripes. Weld 20-inchers compliment the Mustang, adding to that “racer” look. Another distinct feature is the machined grille with a trapezoidal design and unique “GT” logo. This is a huge departure from the standard Mustang grille and is one of those “love-it-or-hate-it” items.
The blower, suspension and brakes make up the foundation for the supreme performer, but Shelby let’s you go crazy with options to achieve a seriously personalized pony. Some of the other options include, but are not limited to, carbon fiber hood extensions, mirror caps, tail light panel, Katzkin interior, roll cage, race seats with harness, gauge pod, plus Ford Performance driveline upgrades, Wilwood brakes, 3.73 gears and much more. The Shelby GT is available in manual or automatic, packages start at $23,995 and of course, every Shelby gets unique badging and is serialized.