How to Build the Perfect 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

It may not be a KR, but this GT500 would certainly be the king of the road.

Marc NoordeloosWriterThe ManufacturerPhotographerSteven PhamPhotographer

Seven hundred and sixty horsepower. That's the output of the supercharged, 5.2-liter V-8 under the hood of the new 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Crazy. And where the old 661-hp GT500 could only be had with a six-speed manual, the new version can only be had with a Tremec seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. As Bob Dylan sang, "The times they are a-changin'." And how very Porsche 911 GT2 RS of Ford.

Looking through the configurator for the new Shelby, you can basically build a GT500 in two ways—track-focused or street-focused. I'd go the latter route, as I like the idea of a wicked-fast Mustang for the road. If I was going to do proper circuit work, I'd buy the lighter, naturally aspirated Shelby GT350R or the not-street-legal Shelby FP350S race car from the Ford parts department. As such, here's how to spec the perfect Mustang Shelby GT500:

Exterior

Paint: Many people will surely pick a crazy, extroverted color for this over-the-top pony car. Options along those lines include Grabber Lime, Twister Orange Tri-Coat, and Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat. The latter two options are $495 and $395, respectively. I'd go with Iconic Silver, which is a no-charge option, new for 2020, and has been shown in many of the press photos. It's gorgeous. I'd pass on the black roof ($695), vinyl side stripes ($395), "Over-the-Top" vinyl stripes ($1000), and the ultra-expensive "Over-the-Top" painted stripes ($10,000). All the stripe options are available in either black, white, or blue. Just keep in mind that stripe hue compatibility depends on your exterior color choice. And if you do want top stripes, =splurge and go with the painted version. They look way better and won't peel away.

Wheels: There are only two options, both 20 inches in diameter. I'm not a big fan of black wheels but I'd still go with the standard high-gloss black aluminum wheels. The other option is exposed carbon-fiber wheels, but they only come with the Carbon Fiber Track Pack (see below). I wish Ford offered some further wheel colors, like silver or gray for the standard double five-spoke wheels. Porsche does.

Interior

Seats: The standard perches are heated and cooled power seats in a mix of leather and Alcantara-like material. Recaro leather seats come with the track pack or are a stand-alone $1595 option. My experience with Recaro seats in Ford products is very hit or miss. I tend to like them in a Mustang but hated them in the U.S-spec Focus ST and Focus RS. But I really like the Recaro seats in the latest Euro Fiesta ST. So, it's a tough call. But given the road focus of my GT500 build, I'll stick with the stock seats, as the Recaro seat option on the GT500 deletes the power adjustment and the heating and cooling features, and disallows the selection of a memory option. The only color choice with either seat option in black with gray accents. So, no choice needed there.

Trim: The standard "Shelby exclusive" aluminum trim is great for me. Exposed carbon-fiber trim is offered for $1000 or comes with the Carbon Fiber Track Pack. I'm not a carbon interior fan, so it's not on my build—but feel free to put it on yours.

Options

Technology Package ($3000): Again, I'm going with a road-focused build. Included with this package is 12-speaker B&O audio, blind-spot monitoring, heated mirrors with turn signals and cheesy Cobra-logo puddle lights, memory for the driver's seat and navigation. Why the latter isn't standard on a near-$75,000 car is beyond me. Maybe it's that Porsche influence.

What to Skip: Most of what's offered by Ford. I've mentioned passing on the Recaro seats, carbon interior trim, and the various stripe options. The $18,500 Carbon Fiber Track Pack adds the exposed carbon-fiber wheels shod with track-focused Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires (versus the standard road-friendly Pilot Sport 4S tires), adjustable strut mounts, a giant rear wing and extra wickers on the body. The package also deletes the rear seat—I couldn't deny my wife and kids a family jaunt in the mega-powerful GT500. I could add the Handling Package ($1500) to my build but it simply includes splitter wickers and a Gurney flap for the standard rear wing, which are shipped in the trunk for later installation. That's not something I'd use. For $395, Ford offers an indoor car cover in black, red, blue or gray, as well.

Total Cost: $76,995. That's the $73,995 base price plus the tech package; it also includes the mandatory $2600 gas-guzzler tax. Compared to the $294,450 starting price for a Porsche 911 GT2 RS, not bad at all.

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