First Drive: 2010 Ford Shelby GT500

Don Sherman
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On the modern muscle car battleground, no blow goes unanswered. Mere moments after the new Chevy Camaro SS was offered for testing, Ford parried with a 2010 Shelby GT500 armed with added firepower, a fortified chassis, and freshened interior and exterior appearance.

Let Ford Pimp Your Ride

The GT500 is basically a Mustang pimped by Ford's revived Special Vehicle Team (SVT). Building on last year's 500GTKR (King of the Road) edition, the new GT500 brings more aggressive body armor, a hotter supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 engine, and a host of chassis upgrades to avid Ford enthusiasts bent on running with the quickest Camaros and Challengers. Tagged with a base price of $48,175 - including delivery and a $1000 gas guzzler tax - keeping up with these Joneses doesn't run cheap.

Malicious Visual Intent

The most notable styling touch is a prominent fascia standing ahead of the aluminum hood to toughen the GT500's nose. Subtle apertures and blockers route air to the heat exchangers, the engine's intake plenum, and the front brakes. As before, the job of the scoops in the hood is to provide a convenient escape path for trapped heat. Clever rear touches include a decklid spoiler fitted with a Gurney flap insert for improved aero performance, meaty 4-inch exhaust outlets, and the essential (but non-functional) lower air diffuser. Forged and machined SuperAlloy brand aluminum wheels shod with 19-inch Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar radials adorn the flanks. A triple dose of screaming racing stripes (hood, roof, sides) are standard but can be deleted, for those who'd rather not attract so much attention.

Snakes Alive

Responding to its loyal constituents, the SVT tuning team upped interior quality and content. The five-piece aluminum dash adornment panels are decorated with a polka-dot treatment while door panels, seat bolsters, and the steering wheel rim are blessed with Alcantara patches for added grip. Last year's stitched-leather dash top has left the bill of materials. Tuck-and-roll leather seat trim is offered in black-on-black or black with a high-contrast racing stripe motif. The insert color palette includes white, silver, blue, and red. Snakes hiss from the seat backs and steering wheel hub. Another special touch is a white billiard-style shift knob inlaid with both an H-pattern and one final helping of racing stripes.

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