I have just driven a supercharged, 662-horsepower Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Coupe and I must say, it’s nothing at all like the first coupe and convertible Mustangs. Not a bit.
Those first ’Stangs came with one of four engines: a base 101-horsepower, 170-cubic-inch, six-cylinder; a four-barrel, 289-cubic-inch V-8 with 271 horsepower; a 200-cubic-inch inline V-6; and a two-barrel version of the 289 that came later in the model year.
Compare those to not only the Shelby, but the 2013 V-6 Premium coupe (305 hp) and the 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 with its snarling 444-hp, 5.0-litre V-8.
Ford, for the record, has gone about as far as it can with a car that still boasts a live axle at the rear – a live axle that’s great for straight-line acceleration, less than ideal for hairy hairpins and off-camber corners with no shoulder and no runout.
The Shelby has a base price of $61,699, but my car as tested was a pretty healthy $75,123. This is a beast of a car, though it’s easier to drive than you might think. The six-speed manual glides from gear to gear and the power comes on in predictable fashion.
The V-6, for its part, is a bargain at $26,999 for the base car and $33,829, as tested. That 3.7-litre V-6 sounds like something close to a V-8 and it delivers power to the rear wheels with plenty of gusto. Bless Ford for offering this package with a six-speed manual – one that feels utterly authentic.
And then the Boss 302 with a base price of $48,799. Steve McQueen himself would approve of the 5.0-litre V-8, I’m certain. He’d recognize the look of this coupe, too. Next up: a tour of the streets of San Francisco.