Ford Shelby Mustang Cobra GT500

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SVT, and Carroll Shelby, get back in the Mustang tuning business with the Shelby Cobra GT500, which should arrive in showrooms next spring. In place of the standard Mustang GT's 300-hp, 4.6-liter V-8, the GT500 uses a 5.4-liter engine, supercharged for an estimated 450 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque, hooked up to a six-speed manual gearbox. This powertrain originally dates back to the 2000 SVT Mustang Cobra R, although Ford claims it has been modified since then. Chassis-wise, the new GT500 flies in the face of recent Mustang Cobra tradition by retaining its live rear axle and shunning an independent rear suspension. Compared to standard Mustangs, the GT500's chassis changes are limited to springs, antiroll bars, dampers, and bigger brakes (Brembo cross-drilled 14-inch discs up front, 13-inchers at the rear). Inside, the GT500 backs off a bit from the Mustang's retro vibe, dropping the '60s-look instruments in favor of a contemporary design and swapping the positions of the speedo and tach. The tach is now on the right, which SVT feels is the more prominent position, less likely to be obscured because drivers' use their right hand for shifting. The silver trim has been toned down and but the leather factor has been turned up, with leather now swathing the door panels, center armrest, and dashboard cover. Outside, designers have layered some Shelby Mustang cues over the top of the old SVT Cobra stuff. The double white stripes, the reshaped upper and lower grille, and the new aluminum hood with function dual air extractors all nod to the Shelby Mustangs of old. More modern touches include round fog lamps set into the corners of the front fascia, a new rear bumper that extends down to a rear air diffuser, a redesigned (and functional) rear spoiler, and ten-spoke nineteen-inch wheels.

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