Wretched excess is barely enough. This was the theme of Ford and Shelby’s newest collaboration, which resulted in the 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR. Muscle-car fans will recall that this legendary name was born exactly forty years ago. The “King of the Road” Mustang was the most powerful produced at the time, with its Cobra Jet V-8 making around 400 hp. It also was the perfect opportunity for Carroll Shelby to register the “King of the Road” name before General Motors got to it: the General wanted to use the name for its own high-performance Corvette.
Forty years later, not much has changed. With the new GT500KR, Ford and Shelby have taken the insanity to new heights. Using the GT500 as a starting point, they have fitted the supercharged V-8 with a Ford Racing Power Upgrade Pack that revises ignition and throttle calibration. Along with a cold air intake that is a part of the Upgrade Pack, horsepower jumps to an estimated 540, with 510 ft-lbs of torque. Of course, these numbers handily trump even the mighty Corvette Z06.
The fun doesn’t stop there. Ford and Shelby have sought to improve performance in every area over the standard GT500. So in addition to the engine mods, the King gets a performance exhaust system, and an enhanced suspension that includes retuned springs, dampers, and stabilizer bars. The six-speed manual transmission has been fitted with a short-throw shifter, and the rear axle ratio is 12.7 percent shorter at 3.73:1. Fourteen inch vented Brembo brakes are cooled by brake ducts in the front valance.
A person in the market for this kind of performance car probably isn’t too shy about receiving attention, and he’ll get plenty of it in this car. Ford and Shelby have taken cues from the 1967 car, cues like the side stripes low on the doors and the bulging vented hood. The car is finished in silver with wide blue stripes, and that bulging carbon composite hood is held down with stainless steel pins. Shelby-designed wheels measure twenty inches across for the show car, but they’ll be reduced to eighteen for production.
Just 1000 GT500KRs will be produced, and the first batch will arrive in dealerships in the spring of 2008. Ford says the regular GT500 has been selling incredibly well, so we’re guessing there are going to be a lot of angry people out there wishing they’d waited for the KR.