Posted by Anthony CarboneApril 13, 2007 at 3:33 pm
1. Front hood line raised one inch: allows larger grille opening
2. Hood scoops vent under hood air buildup; look will change slightly on production model
3. Snake badge resembles 1960s ver, but is redesigned in cast of brushed aluminum
4. Side scoops deemed unnecessary, as they would’ve been nonfunctional
5. Glass quarter windows- no changes, as this look was pioneered on 1966 Shelby
6. Rear spoiler reduces lift and adds attitude
7. Front splitter keeps nose pinned at speed
8. 18-inch wheels pick up Ford GT flavor; optional 19s likely; rotors and calipers larger, too
9. GT 500 stripes almost identical to 1965-1968 look
10. Rocker panel rendered in satin black; makes car looks longer,thinner in profile
11. Rear fascia is lower than stock GT’s; incorporates functional under-tray diffuser
With the absence of the 2005 and 2006 SVT Mustang, the phase out of the SVT Focus and the abrupt halting of the next-gen Lightning truck development, I was left wondering what the Ford SVT (Special Vehicle Team) has up their sleeves with the recent GT500 about to be spotted on a road near you.
SVT’s current lineup of exactly zero models is expected to grow by several new models within a few years’ time. The Shelby Mustang (GT500) is first up, to be followed by an SVT Ford Fusion which will tout a turbocharged engine, six-speed tranny, and share the Mazda 6 Speed all-wheel drive system.
The Shelby-Spec GT500 engine is an evolution of the SVT Cobra engine, but will bear at least 450 some horses, an iron block, aluminum head, four valves, Roots-blown 4.6L, with 1 critical difference: It has finally received a displacement increase to 5.4 liters. Boo YAH!
Hau Tai-Tang, the 2005 Mustang’s chief program engineer, was handed the reins at SVT last fall and had some interesting things to say.
“The GT 500 gets unique suspension tuning, springs, anti-roll bars, bushings, shock valving, and a 12-to-15mm ride-height reduction,” says Tai-Tang. “Visceral feedback from all driver inputs will be greatly increased; differentiated from the GT, yet well harmonized.”
“The shapes of the grille and new front fascia relate directly to the 1968 GT 500,” Gaffka continues. The front visage is hungrier, more aggressive. “We could’ve put different quarter windows in it, but this is the look that first appeared on the 1966 Shelby, so we didn’t see any reason to change it. We could’ve put side scoops on it, too, but there was no need for them, and we didn’t want to just tack on a nonfunctional piece. Keith Rogman was in charge of the Mustang GT-R [Motor Trend, March 2005] design program, and we got great response to that car, so we decided to take some cues from it and bump them up a notch for this one. The front splitter, for example, is consistent with the GT-R’s.”
“We’ve toned the interior down a bit in search of a more sophisticated look,” says Wolfgang Gotschke, design manager, SVT.
“We’ve changed the seat trim and leather pattern, plus there’ll be more leather. There’s a new steering wheel with less brightwork and perforated leather where the driver grips the wheel.” Tach and speedometer positions have been swapped, so the driver’s left hand doesn’t block the tach while the right hand is shifting. Instrument typefaces have been revised to reflect a more modern look than the retro style on the GT. “Plus, of course, we added a boost gauge!”
“We looked at the marginal handling improvement attainable by going to an IRS (independent rear suspension), and we didn’t feel the gain justified the cost. The incremental benefit of an IRS is refinement, but not much more in terms of all-out performance. We’ve got good geometry and good shock-motion ratios, and we’re happy with the suspension we have. We won’t hesitate to have you do a driving comparison against IRS-suspended competitors.” Tai-Tang.
Some Enthousiasts will cry “why not 500 horsepower, like the new Z06?” or may whine about the lack of an IRS. The SVT brain trust has addressed these issues from an engineering standpoint, but drives the message home at the bottom line.
Unlike the 500 horse, IRS-suspended Viper, which costs $85K-plus USD, and unlike the 500-horse, IRS-equipped Corvette Z06, from $60k-$75k USD, the Ford Shelby GT 500 will cost a lot less. Best guess?? $40k-45k USD.
A pricier version modified as an SVT Cobra was under consideration, which would’ve had an IRS and an even more powerful engine. But the business case was rejected by management as too rich for a Mustang.
Its just business so please don’t take managements Cobra decision personally.