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2011 Ford Shelby GT500 (Ford FORD)
2011 Ford Shelby GT500 (Ford FORD)

What car

Should he pony up for a Shelby GT500? Add to ...

Hello boys:

Tell me what you think of the (Ford) Shelby GT500. This is the greatest-looking Mustang I've ever seen and the most powerful one ever. I'd sure like to have a car that has Carroll Shelby's name on it and I think this one might be a collector's item in a few years.

The only problem is it costs 60 grand plus taxes. Now don't tell me I should go out and buy a Corolla or something and put the rest in the bank - I've seen you give that advice before. Just tell me what you think of the Shelby and whether you think it will hold its value.

Mark

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Cato: Ya gotta give it to Carroll Shelby for his passion. I mean, he's no spring chicken - a living legend - yet he's still out there pitching. He was in Toronto in February for a tribute and to promote this very car - the GT500.

Vaughan: Well deserved tribute, too. Shelby is 87 now. But he's the one who lead Ford to two consecutive Le Mans victories in 1966 and 1967. Before that, Shelby created Cobras by stuffing Ford V-8s into a little British sports car known as the AC Ace.

His longevity is a miracle in itself. We all know he suffered heart problems from an early age. In his own words: "Three hearts (transplants) and five wives."

Cato: Imagine how much money he's spent on wives and hearts alone.

But the car: it's a collaboration between Shelby and Ford's Special Vehicle Team - SVT. It's built in the Mustang factory in Michigan, not by Shelby Automobiles in Las Vegas. Under the hood: supercharged and intercooled 540-horsepower V-8. Twist the key and enjoy the roar.

Vaughan: Go out and buy a Corolla or something and put the rest in the bank. This "collector's item" will have depreciated 20 per cent by the time you drive it off the dealer's lot.

Cato: What! Where is your soul? Spoiling Mark's dream of a Shelby. Listen Vaughan, aren't you the guy who owned a 'Stang in the Pearson era? You still rave about it.

Vaughan: It was the Chretien years and a rag top. Sure, I'm all for having fun but I can have it without shredding tires and paying insurance premiums comparable to what BP's going to face next time it wants to go drilling in the Gulf.

Cato: Mark wants performance. He's a die-hard gear head. And the image! He's not thinking about insurance rates. C'mon Vaughan, tell me you don't like the gaping grille and the power bulge on the hood for the supercharger. Look at the 19-inch wheels and extra-wide tires. And racing stripes. They don't work anywhere else, but here, on this Mustang, they work.

Vaughan: They work about as well as the Playboy Bunny logos you have pasted on the sides of your old wreck.

Cato: I removed Playboy Bunny from you years ago. Look, the GT500 is not just a performance machine; it also has the right cabin - very Mustang but with a few extra gauges and a big SVT badge in the tachometer. Supportive leather power seats with stitching down the centre to match the colour of the racing stripes. I like the embedded Cobra in the seats and there is also one on the steering wheel, and several outside.

Vaughan: They play up the Cobra heritage, but it's still a big heavy boat - almost 4,000 pounds - with a huge engine up front putting the weight where you don't want it. Turn off the stability control and the back end will break loose leaving a parking space.

Cato: And that's the idea. We're talking about a REAL muscle car here - gobs of horsepower and a solid axle with coil springs and shocks at back. Muscle cars, first and foremost, are about launching like lightning in a straight line. But the four-pot Brembos up front will stop you in a hurry.

Vaughan: I like the six-speed tranny; my old 'Stang only had four ratios. But do we really need a flat-out street racer with a factory warranty?

Cato: In a word: yes. Vaughan, these are low-volume specialty cars mostly owned by aging Boomers like you. Well, not exactly like you; you want Mark in a Corolla. But you get the idea. And this idea has some appeal. Which explains why Mark also has some other choices he might want to consider.

Vaughan: The Dodge Challenger SRT8 and Chevrolet Camaro SS. Each provides the noise, power and panache that Markey is after.

Cato: I'm a big fan of the Camaro, less thrilled about the Challenger SRT8. The Dodge has a 6.1-litre HEMI engine cranking out 425 hp and a whopping 420 lb-ft of torque.

That's some twist. But the Challenger is also heavy - 4,132 lbs. Too heavy, I think, even though the braking and cornering is decent given the size and weight of the thing.

Vaughan: The Camaro SS is a bomb, with a 6.2-litre V-8: 400-hp connected to the six-speed automatic transmission. It has the lowest price of the three although with any of them if you've had a speeding ticket this century the insurance costs will make you weep.

Cato: Mark, our pal Vaughan here may have lost his passion for horsepower, but just ignore him. Go for the Shelby with the name and the pedigree.

Vaughan: The Shelby GT500 is as much about smart marketing as high performance. And even if you don't drive it much and polish it every day, Cato is dreaming that one day it will be a major collector's item. Give that Corolla some more consideration.

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HOW THEY COMPARE



2011 Ford Shelby GT500 Coupe

2010 Chevrolet Camero SS

2010 Dodge Challenger SRT8 with Tremec

Wheelbase (mm)

2,720

2,852

2,946

Length (mm)

4,778

4,836

5,022

Width (mm)

1,880

1,918

1,923

Height (mm)

1,572

1,377

1,448

Engine

5.4-litre V-8

6.2-litre V-8

6.1-litre V-8

Output (hp)

(torque)

550 hp

510 lb-ft

426 hp

420 lb-ft

425 hp

420 lb-ft

Drive system

RWD

RWD

RWD

Transmission

Six-speed manual

Six-speed manual

Six-speed manual

Curb weight (kg)

1,778

1,746

1,892

Fuel economy

(litres/100 km)

14.4 city

8.7 highway

13.2 city

8.2 highway

16.0 city

10.6 highway

Base price

$58,999

$41,430

$48,995

Source: Car manufacturers

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