Shelby spirit gives kick to '13 Mustang
Nearly a year after race car driver and car designer Carroll Shelby died, his spirit lives on in a 2013 Ford Mustang with the most powerful series production V-8 in the world and unmistakable Shelby Mustang styling.
With a top speed of 200 miles per hour, the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Coupe is breathtaking, even daring, to drive — perfectly in character with the rugged Formula 1 race car driver.
The 5.8-liter Ford V-8 under the car's raised hood is supercharged to generate a whopping 662 horsepower and 631 foot-pounds of torque.
From a standstill, unless the accelerator was pressed with a feather-light touch, the test car's big, wide and somewhat worn rear tires could be overwhelmed by the power, sending the car's rear end fishtailing.
It made for lightning quick turns and grand exits — and a feeling that somewhere, Carroll Shelby was grinning mischievously.
Intriguingly, this 2013 Shelby two-door, which is the ultimate Mustang this model year, is built on the same Flat Rock, Mich., assembly line as more basic and less pricey Mustangs.
Starting retail price for a 2013 Shelby GT500 Coupe is $54,995, and the only transmission is a six-speed manual. A Shelby GT500 Convertible is offered as a 2014 model, with a starting retail price of $60,445.
While these prices are up there, the four-seat Shelby is something of a bargain, given all the power that comes with the price.
As a comparison, the starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, for a 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 with 580 horsepower and 556 foot-pounds of torque is $56,550. Note this Camaro price includes the federal government's gas guzzler tax of $1,300. The 2013 Shelby GT500 does not incur the gas guzzler tax.
Meantime, a 2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 with supercharged V-8 developing 638 horses and 604 foot-pounds of torque has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $113,595.
In his late 80s as the 2013 Shelby GT500 was being developed, Shelby collaborated with Ford and drove the car himself for up to eight hours at a time at Ford's proving grounds.
It wasn't a memorial car, exactly, to Shelby, who had health problems for many years. But it was a car with his name on it, and the gritty Texan wasn't about to miss out on making it his own.
Fittingly, the test car snapped passersby to attention with its long hood, wide body stripe going from front to back and an awesome, deep exhaust note. In fact, a neighbor didn't see the test car in the residential garage but heard it before it emerged and came running.
Still, this Shelby GT500 isn't a limited-production model. Ford will match production with demand, with up to 10,000 sales in a year anticipated.
For car buffs, the test car could be emotional: Driver reactions need to be quick, and the ride can be harsh.