Ford Motor Company threw us the keys to a red (with black stripes) 2013 Shelby GT500. It had the optional SVT Performance Package ($3,495), SVT Track Package ($2,995), and Leather Recaro Seats ($1,595). The Base Price is $54,200 (MSRP), plus $795 for Destination & Delivery.
The red devil looked fast parked, just waiting to be unleashed. Push in the clutch, turn the key, and you are treated to a symphony of wonderful exhaust sounds from the quad exhaust tips, which only get better as you work your way through the gears. We're sure the stereo sounds great also, but we never bothered to turn it on.
During our first drive, we almost ran over a squirrel, which was either awestruck by the car, or too slow. Either way, we're happy to report that the squirrel made it, but it served as an early heads up that this car moves. To try to put it into perspective, you can merge onto a highway, and get up to speed in first gear without redlining the tachometer, and then you still have 5 additional gears. Stupid fast.
The optional Recaro seats are simply amazing. They are supportive, comfortable, and hug you like an old friend... a very fast old friend. One capable of punching a hole through the air at over 200 MPH, if you can find a place to legally do something like that.
Sure, there are a handful of other cars capable of keeping up with the GT500, but they are exotics, costing well over $100K, while the Shelby starts at $55K. Anyone who thinks $55K is a lot for a Mustang needs to beg their local Ford dealer for a test-drive. For $55K, you get a 662-HP, 631-torque, 200-MPH racecar, which is quite manageable when keeping your right foot from pushing down too hard on the accelerator pedal. Not easy though. This car wants to go, go, go. With most other cars, you need to push them to extract performance;
These days, you can build an engine with this much horsepower yourself, but it will cost you a lot of money, and you will no doubt end up overpowering whatever vehicle you put it into. Horsepower is nice, but a car is really only as good as its supporting cast (brakes, suspension, steering, etc), and Ford engineers should all get raises for making it all work together so nicely In the GT500. They built us a racecar which can be driven on the street, with more power than most people will ever be able to use, decent gas mileage, and topped it off with a factory warranty.
Carroll Shelby left us with the fastest production V8 car on the planet before exiting. His vision, brought to life by Ford engineers, is almost too much fun to be legal. Only Ford knows what the 2015 Mustang will look like, but the 2013 Shelby GT500 is a fitting tribute to not only the Ford Mustang, but also to Carroll Shelby himself. The most appropriate way to salute all involved is to blip the throttle, and then smoke the tires... These are the good old days of performance cars!
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