By on December 2, 2006

07fordshelbygt500_17.jpgA small bump in the road traversed at the slightest discernible angle on dry pavement at 50mph will send the Shelby GT500’s rear end sideways with enough violence to engage the traction control. If you don't care, God bless you. I fully understand and appreciate your perspective: muscle cars are about power, not finesse. Finesse is for people who aren’t willing to risk their childrens' future to experience a few moments of high horsepower hoonery. Fine. But include me out.

Don’t get me wrong: I love monstrous horsepower. Whether it’s the painful jolt of a Carrera GT or an Enzo stretching the time space continuum, I’m a fervent fan of fast. But I also like to write about it. That means I only deploy as much horsepower as the car can handle without hitting solid objects. First, that requires stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off braking power. Second, it requires a suspension that's several orders of magnitude better than the one fitted to a 1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. While the GT500 has sufficient stoppers for a nose-heavy, morbidly obese, 500hp two-door– provided you don’t mind standing on the brake pedal– it serves-up less chassis control than a [very] Flexible Flyer.

07fordshelbygt500_48.jpgLet’s think about this. There you are at a stoplight. It turns green. You give it some. With its live rear axle suspension, the GT500 judders like a giant's attacking the entire car with a humongous pneumatic drill. Switch off the traction control and you're treading asphalt in a cloud of tire smoke. If you accelerate hard over a crap road, the juddering morphs into full-on pavement surfing. And don’t get to thinking that the bone shaking is reserved for those times when your right foot ignores your left brain. If the GT500 cruises over a stretch of broken pavement, it's another surfin' safari. 

I know: who cares? It’s a 500hp rear wheel-drive muscle car! That’s like saying it’s OK to shag Adriana Lima even if you know she’s got herpes. Maybe you’ll catch it, maybe you won’t. Why worry when it feels so gooood? ‘Cause it will right until the moment it doesn't. In fact, the only way avoid tree trouble with the ferociously fast GT500’s loosey-goosy handling is either A) drive it on Germany’s glassine roads or B)– nope, that’s it. The TV actor who took the GT500 to Chrysler’s homeland because he couldn’t “find a speed limit he liked” actually made the trip because he couldn’t find a road he could keep it on.

Oh, and the GT500 may be electronically limited to 155mph– enough to get you spanked on the autobahn by any number of lesser-horsed automobiles– but take it from someone who had to get to Beantown in a hurry, I would NOT want to be the one testing Nanny’s leash. I could have made more rapid progress in an Acura TL. Ah, but the TL is an anodyne automobile, a gussied-up Honda Accord with about as much soul as chicken pot pie. The Shelby GT500 is a fire-breathing Mustang hopped-up by the master, with more spice than the homemade hot sauce at Leonard’s Pit Barbecue, 5465 Fox Plaza, Memphis, Tennessee. While I prefer the Mustang GT’s shark-like snout to the GT500’s center-mounted bookshelf, I’ll grant you that the Shelby is one sexy looking beast– from the outside.

07fordshelbygt500_30.jpgFrom the inside, it’s a rental car. Forty large (without the sucker’s premium) buys you precisely nothing in the interior style department. You’re still ensconced in a car (as Frank Williams puts it) lousy with cheap. The cabin is dour, suffused with nasty ass plastic and bereft of the slightest joyful attention to detail. For example, the vanity mirrors are sub-Barbie quality and the electric driver’s seat reclines manually.

Even the bits where Ford could have made a real statement– the stereo, steering wheel, seats and shift knob– are po’ faced and pathetic. How much would it have cost to make the GT500’s interior special? At such low volumes, why don’t Ford’s "designers" simply ship the uber-Stang off to some aftermarket company to fit top notch ICE, a racing wheel, Recaro seats and a Hurst-style shift knob? Maybe they could even do something about that rear axle…

07fordshelbygt500_19.jpgNow I know many of you are itching to wail on me in the comments’ section with all sorts of blather about retro cool and manly men doing manly things in maximum Mustang muscle cars. Not to mention the economic arguments: bang- for-the-buck and halo car. Besides, if people want to buy them, why not sell them? Because retro is one thing, repeating the mistakes of the past is another. The GT500 may be a die-hard (one hopes) enthusiast's catnip, but it also reveals the ongoing supremacy of Ford's beancounters, and the company's continued inability to produce a fast, affordable rear wheel-drive car that handles as well as it goes.

Read Jonny Lieberman's original review here.

Listen to my debate with Jonny by pressing PLAY below.

(Click on "Play in Popup" and continue reading as you listen.)

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166 Comments on “Shelby GT500 Review – Counterpoint...”


  • avatar

    Okay, so it is a 500Hp POS. Last time I looked 500Hp makes anything better.

  • avatar

    Right. Sure. Absolutely. Hey, I've got an idea! Go test drive a 303hp, front wheel-drive Chevrolet Impala and tell me how much better it would be with an additional 197 horses.

  • avatar
    Qusus

    Interesting article, though I don’t think any of the arguments you make are as controversial as they seem.

    A few questions Robert:

    Why would you make faster progress in a TL? Isn’t it likely that when traveling long distances, realistically speaking, both cars would get you to Boston in the same amount of time given that they both have more than enough horsepower to cruise at triple digit speeds (or as fast as you could possibly go in even the most empty of Northeastern roads) with relative ease?

    Personally, I think the TL handles quite superbly and is far from “anodyne.” (Quiet certainly, but also with good road feel and a tight suspension.) But is it the TL’s “lack of soul” the reason you would be willing to drive it faster than a Mustang?

    I guess this is the contradiction that pops out at me, aren’t cars with “souls” the ones that not only go fast but make you WANT to go fast? Thusly, wouldn’t it be true that a TL (or any “anodyne” top speed cruiser for that matter) is in fact, a car with more of this elusive thing we call an “automotive soul” than a fire-breathing but unrefined out of control Mustang? Is this the point your trying to make?

    Overall though, I think the counterpoint makes for a pretty interesting article, a refreshing departure from the constant rar-rar-rar piston head carping at high-powered sports cars.

  • avatar
    Luther

    Another almost-good-enough car from the Ford Accounting…err… Retiree Benefit…err… Motor Company.

    If only it had an independent rear and an interior from Fisher Price instead of Mattel……

    Isnt it better than good enough for Government work though?

  • avatar

    I agree: the TL is a highly under-rated, fine handling automobile. I would dearly love to test drive the Type S. I could go faster in a TL than a GT500 because it would give me more confidence to, um, maneuver. (MA drivers NEVER move over.) Even on a smooth, straight road, a high speed jink in a GT500 is a tricky proposition. Also, as JL points out in the podcast, the GT500 doesn't feel very secure over the ton. When I called the TL anodyne, I was speaking as if I was a musclehead. While the TL certainly lacks [exterior] visual or [engine] aural flair (the ICE is awesome), it is still an entertaining machine on many levels. The automotive soul debate in general is a minefield. TTAC has discussed the disparity between what some enthusiast's call "character" and anyone with an objective perspective would call crap (unreliability, shaking, etc.). I call it the Harley Davidson dilemma: can a car be too good for its own good? NSX anyone? I can see both perspectives. Call me a woos, but when it comes to high speed driving, I err on the side of safety. Good enough for government work? If you like that sort of thing and drive with suitable caution, I suppose so. But I would NOT put a young driver/my children behind the wheel of this car.

  • avatar
    Jon Furst

    But I would NOT put a young driver/my children behind the wheel of this car.

    That seems like pretty weak criticism, Robert. Only a fool would put a young driver behind the wheel of a 500 horsepower car, regardless of the make or model. Obviously, the cheapest 500 horsepower car is going to have the fewest electronic nannies, which makes the GT500 the worst of the lot. This is a surprise to no one.

    The judder you complained about on take-off would only be exacerbated with an independent rear suspension. Ford decided that the cost to develop an independent rear suspension capable of handling the power and weight of the GT500 would not have been justified by the increase in the price. Early adopters notwithstanding, wouldn’t that interior with a $45k pricetag be even more of an affront? You’d be smack-dab in Corvette territory (a vastly superior platform) at that point, as well.

    I’m not sure the Mustang could justify much more of a base price. I can only imagine the comments you’d be making about a $50k Mustang – even if it drove excellently.

    I think Lieberman “gets” the GT500, which is clearly just a good-lookin’ $40k car with 500 horsepower (i.e., a compromise).

    FWIW, there are thousands of people driving similarly-powerful late-model Camaros and Mustangs around – some commuting in them to work and dropping their kids off as school in them – who aren’t flying off the road and killing themselves, live axle and all. To imply that the GT500 is setting some low bar for automotive safety is really pushing it.

  • avatar
    Luther

    Good enough for government work?

    I was refering to the fact the Gov’t buys a lot of Ford vehicles. Probably for the driving dynamics.

    I certainly would not let my daughter drive a 500HP American slop-mobile. She will get a Mini with a manual transmission when she is old enough to drive… whether she likes it or not. I lived in Germany for many years and understand the importance of handling/braking uber alles.

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    don’t like the GT500?

    you’re a communist.

    It’s that simple!

    No, but seriously, awesome car, rather flawed. I’d say its’ odd you didn’t point out it’s major flaw – it’s about 400lbs overweight, and is vastly front heavy.

  • avatar
    lzaffuto

    Sorry, the ‘vette, any vette, is a better car. Power is worth nothing without control.

  • avatar

    Jon Furst: And there are a lot of people driving late model, over-powered Yank tanks who ARE slinging themselves into trees. OK, not so many because A) Mustang excepted, I can't think of another US car with such bad handling and B) Darwinism (both mechanical and personal) has removed most of them from our roads. Also, why would I criticize a $50k Mustang if it were superb (inside and out, horspower and handing)? That's still cheaper than a Boxster, and THEN those 500 horses would mean something… incontrovertible. lzaffuto: I critized the new 'Vette for its suspension over rough surfaces. Relatively speaking, it's a minor distraction. Far superior car. Mrb00st: I did mention that it's heavy. They could put the engine in the middle of the car and I don't think it would make much difference– except you'd spin, and presumably stop spinning, sooner.

  • avatar

    Thank you Robert – this all needed to be said.
    Billy Ford’s checklist for BOLD MOVES:
    * Minimal engineering investment
    * Minimal durability testing (overheating SVTs and Ford GTs)
    * Maximum marketing the bejesus out of it (and you’re not an American if you don’t buy it)
    * Morbidly obese weight (4000 pound Mustangs)
    * Trot out the glories from a million years ago (poor ‘ole Shel almost looks like Captain Pike)
    * Appeals to low common demoninator (Americans are stupid, so as far as they know this junk is the best there is)
    * Build the best stuff overseas (Aussie Falcon and Euro Focus – Americans are stupid, so as far as they know we get the best there is)
    * Claim everything is new when it’s not (2008 Escape with yesterdays engine and transmission)
    * No suspension sophistication at all, borderline dangerous (4000 pound Mustang)
    * Cheap Plastics
    * Bury the best engineering (missing IRS for Mustang – developed and then cancelled)
    * Tide things over until what you really needed was ready (3.5 V-6 mysteriously delayed)
    * Cancel everything and anything Jacques did because you know he was better than you (cancelled product plans, cancelled small rear wheel drive chassis, cancelled LS/T-Bird project, cancelled IRS and Cobra, cancelled large rear wheel drive platform, cencelling Euro Forcus for North America).
    * Spend the company money like there is no tommorrow (and by canelling the product plans, there isn’t)
    * Use everybody else’s platforms but your own (Mazda and Volvo make up the majority of products now)
    * You’re rich so you don’t have to worry about a job (70,000 departures, 38,000 buy-outs).

  • avatar

    It’s “cheap” ($40k for a car is never cheap), it’s fast in a straight line, and that’s about it. I’ve ridden in a modded 2003 Cobra making more than 500hp and as someone who has daily driven a 3000lb WRX making 300hp at the wheels(no idea what the crank horsepower is), I can honestly say that the Stang did not feel especially fast. It was absolutely more torquey than my low compression 2L, but it did not feel significantly more powerful. I must admit that the supercharger whine from its aftermarket pulley was totally cool, though. :)

    3900lbs is simply too much weight. For a couple thousand more, you can pick up a discounted C6 Vette weighing nearly 900lbs less, that does everything else better, and looks more attractive on top of everything else. I’m with Farago on this one…the GT500 is what it is, but what it is isn’t anything super special. The Giugiaro Mustang being shown at the LA auto show…now that’s an altogether different story!

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    I think I’ll take the used NSX over ole shel’s new ‘stang. At least you would know you would get to where you were going and then bitch about then anodyne styling. And Ayrton Senna’s rep trumps Shelby’s.

  • avatar
    CSJohnston

    Fear not for the safety of American roads!

    As most of these GT500’s are going for well over sticker to a demographic group that can not only afford the car but the usurous insurance rates that would accompany a car that has “Mustang” and “500” in it name.

    My guess is that most owners will be loving their GT500’s in a “clean room” garage and taking them out for occasional cruises (if/when I can afford one, the cruises will be in Montana where I have a better chance of getting in a stampede than rush hour).

    The Mustang formula of cheap, good-looking and fast still works. Is the car antediluvian? Sure. Does it matter? No. There are several examples of more advanced performace cars littering the “cars that were better than a Musatng but nobody wanted them” section of automotive history (pick a company, they’ve all got some).

    Don’t bury Caesar when he does something right (and has a 40 year track record to back him up) praise him instead.

    One last thing: am I the only person that sees “Pontiac Bonneville” every time I see a TL?

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    RF values a well sorted out suspension far higher than most GT500 owners. Which is true, but irrelevant. This is a drag car with admirable on-road handling.

    But even I, a confirmed 5.0 Mustang fan, have a hard time getting interested in this Shelby. From the cheesy retro interior, oversexed exterior, portly dimensions and too many badges/names (Ford Mustang SVT Shelby GT500 Cobra) this ain’t my kind of Pony Car.

    If someone threw the Shelby’s 5.4L and a Griggs suspension into a 1979 Mustang 2-door sedan, Mustang SVO, 1987 GT, or ASC Maclaren Droptop…well then we’ll have something.

  • avatar
    macarose

    This is all about hyperbole and not about real world experience.

    I’ve driven the Shelby GT500 through a variety of rough and smooth roads in North Georgia for well over 500 miles one weekend. It actually does an EXTREMELY good job and doesn’t require the inputs of a so-called expert driver.

    Does it handle like a Porsche or Vette? Absolutely not. But making over-the-top generalizations is not going to make your points valid.

    I should also note that the Shelby receives more attention than the other two vehicles combined… and anything else that’s recently been made by the Japanese Big 2.5 in the American market.

    A Shelby designed like this one is definitely a positive for Ford. Now the real challenge for them will be to develop designs that are this striking for their mainstream platforms.

  • avatar
    HawaiiJim

    Luther: Buying the manual Mini for your daughter may make safety sense from the handling/braking perspective, but remember that tiny cars can be at a disadvantage in, God forbid, a collision with a heavier vehicle.

  • avatar

    Here’s another example of what the former SVT has become: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=330056576873
    Surely Hau Thai-Tang had a hand in this!

  • avatar
    Eric Miller

    CSJ, Sajeev, and macarose make a great point: this car will probably never see the use. Idling in a parade, waxing it at the local Shelby meet, or lighting ’em up in the local parking lot will never uncover the weakness of the GT500’s underpinnings.

    It’s like a bodybuilder. Looks strong and is certainly stronger than most. Posing flexed muscles draws attention (just enough to scare off most contenders), but the gun show is just that: a show. Bench pressing 500 pounds is impressive, but when it impairs agility and flexibility you are merely musclebound.

    jwfisher: shhhhh, I’m the winning bidder so far!

  • avatar

    macarose: "I’ve driven the Shelby GT500 through a variety of rough and smooth roads in North Georgia for well over 500 miles one weekend. It actually does an EXTREMELY good job and doesn’t require the inputs of a so-called expert driver." I can't account for your report– especially the capped EXTREMELY– unless you were driving relatively slowly or have a limited point of reference. As you've pointed out, it's all a matter of what you're used to.  Anyway, I wan't making a generalization; I was making a characterization. If I wrote a list and description of all the times the GT500 got bent out of shape, I'd use-up my 800 word allocation. (Might make interesting reading, but I had other stuff to say.) As we've posited here many times, if you don't understand it, it's not for you. The problem I'm having is that I DO get it and it's STILL not for me.

  • avatar
    CSJohnston

    Hi Sajeev,

    While we’re both on the keyboard. In Jonny’s GT500 review I commented on the Mustang II as an example of a version that strayed from the “formula” and was a failure.

    You were correct on your assesment that the `Stang Deux was a huge hit in year one (1974 Sales were 385,693 which I think makes it the fourth or fifth best sales year for Mustangs). Sales dropped in the four model years following and I think it is remembered more as an affront to Mustang lore than actually being one.

    I happily stand corrected.

    Yeah, if they could take the SVO approach with the GT500 mill… now that would be a spicy meat a` ball!

  • avatar
    Darren

    Perhaps, Mr. Farago, this is simply too much car for you. It's not an Acura…it's not supposed to be. Either you "get it" or you do not. You simply do not. There would not be dealer mark ups if there were no demand. If you don't have the sense to keep your teenager from behind the wheel with out teaching them how to properly respect horsepower, you are probably going to lose them somehow anyway, as you are an unfit parent. Mr. Farago, please do not review cars that you do not understand because it does not do anyone any good. People that don't "get it" will continue to give you kudos and you will continue to lose credibility with those that do "get it". 

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    Even an R32 Nissan Skyline would leave the ancient fossil (ole’ shel’) Mustang shaking its self to pieces.

  • avatar

    HEATHROI: Perhaps not the best example. While the R32 would leave the GT500 for dead (and a 911), the Nissan was the hardest riding car I've ever driven. Even harder than the GT500.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    every silver lining has its cloud…. now where did those fillings go to?

  • avatar
    miked

    The thing about the GT500 is that Ford is finally doing what it does best. There’s no way Ford (or Detroit) can out Toyota Toyota or out Honda Honda. They just don’t have the development cycle to be able to even keep up. So rather than trying to build a car that’s reliable, technologically advanced, has a nice interior, etc, they should be making cars that have soul. (Wasn’t there a TTAC article a couple weeks back about how Toyota’s biggest problem was that they have no history?)

    I think the GT500 is the first car to come out of Detroit in 20 years that goes back to it’s roots and doesn’t try to be something it isn’t. It’s a muscle car in the truest sense of muscle cars, and that’s what Detroit is known for. To me it doesn’t matter if the interior isn’t great (I remember sitting in a used ’70s vette at a dealership when i was about 14 while my parents were shopping for a car. I was shocked to see how GM-like the interior was, at 14 I didn’t know about parts bin sharing and stuff. But the crappy interior didn’t take away from the soul of the car), what matters is that the car makes you smile, and I know this car would make me smile (I bet it even made you smile, Robert).

    I just wish that FoMoCo would make a bunch of these. It’s no fair that these are $40K+markup, that means only the rich car collectors are really going to get one and then they’ll just sit in a garage looking pretty. If they’d bump the volume up by a factor of 10 or so, bring the price back to about $30k so us normal folk could buy one, I’d add one to my stable. It’d even be my daily driver. And It’d be great visibility for Ford. Do you think anyone notices when someone brings their 500 or Fusion to work? But if there were people bringing rumbling GT500’s to work everyday, people might start thinking about Ford as a viable purchase again.

    I hope this car is a sign of the future for Detroit – I think it’s the only way they’ll survive.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    I’m reminded of a brief encounter years ago with a modded Fox-based Mustang, wide tires, loud paint, louder exhaust, farting/revving it in local traffic.

    Mustang slows down to make a right hand turn, is carrying too much speed and after braking and completing the turn ends up in in the left lane. And lo and behold, finds itself passed in the right lane by yours truly in the stock Miata which had no problems holding a tight line at not-very-high speed.

    Of course, the embarrassed/furious Mustang owner feels obliged to rev it and pass me, given he’s got triple the horsepower.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    While we’re both on the keyboard. In Jonny’s GT500 review I commented on the Mustang II as an example of a version that strayed from the “formula” and was a failure.

    CSJohnston: yes, it was more of an insult to the Mustang tradition, which didn’t bother me much. I have some respect for them after attending a classic Mustang show and meeting the guy with a souped up 302 in his resto-mod Mustang II notchback. Engine, tranny, firmer suspension, nice wheels, you name it… it was all done, but the vintage plaid seats and other Mustang II “necessities” were still there.

    Everyone gave him dirty looks, but he had the most agile car out there, and everyone turned away when he challenged them to put their money where their mouth is. He was my kinda guy, and that’s my impression of Mustang IIs.

    Now that the Mustang’s gone retro, I seriously doubt “Mustang” people think the Foxbody Mustang had the right style either, but that’s my definition of Mustangs because of its minimalist style, trim dimensions and that classic long hood and short deck.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    I’m reminded of a brief encounter years ago with a modded Fox-based Mustang, wide tires, loud paint, louder exhaust, farting/revving it in local traffic…. lo and behold, finds itself passed in the right lane by yours truly in the stock Miata which had no problems holding a tight line at not-very-high speed.

    So funny you mention that, starlightmica. I had the same experience when some smart guy in a Miata thought he could out corner my modified Foxbody Cougar on a side road after losing to me on the interstate. Owning a sleeper is so great; that was a fun afternoon. :-)

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    Actually i don’t mind the Mustang but I just don’t think it has ever lived up to its name.

    In fact its maker and the other 1.5 outfits rests (way too much) on an American Graffiti allusion. Unfortunately for every American Graffiti there is a Full Metal Jacket.

  • avatar
    kc2glox

    I personally grew through this phase of motorhead development, having started out as a wrench turning knuckle dragger with a 350hp 67 Cougar. But, without the suspension & steering bits in place you simply can’t employ the power. I realized this, sold the car, and moved on.
    Its astonishing that a car with that many acronyms can’t put IFS in the mix. Marketing over engineering.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    HawaiiJim, I have to completely agree with you. In my quest for a fun four-place convertible with an attitude, I am faced with the VW Eos, Mini Cooper S, and Mustang GT. I fit in the Mini, love the way it drives, and it has appropriate attitude. But my daughter’s head ends up +/- 12″ from the back bumper, and here in the land of road yachts (Texas), I can just imagine some cell-phone gabbing idiot plowing into me at a stop light.

    And the Eos is too girly.

    So the Mustang it is, cheap plastic and all. “Soul” counts for a lot, or we’d all be driving Camrys……

  • avatar
    Adamatari

    Okay, so if I understand correctly this car is scary to drive over 100 mph in… I have an ’89 Prelude (135 hp folks) that isn’t scary to drive at that speed (in fact it gets BETTER at 80 mph)… What the hell? What’s the point of 500 hp?

    Seriously, it’s a penis car. You can say you have 500 hp but that’s about it. Maybeif you enjoy the feeling of imminent death the car is fun. That’s just sad… I thought maybe the Mustang had evolved since it got on the new chassis. Certainly the glossies neglected to mention that it still doesn’t handle.

    Though the car itself is sad, it is selling. I guess Ford IS a nostalgia brand.

  • avatar
    Jeb Hoge

    Robert said: “there are a lot of people driving late model, over-powered Yank tanks who ARE slinging themselves into trees.”

    Well, yes. Ditto with Porsches, BMWs (I saw one, a 3-series, in a ditch on the way home last night), the occasional bisected Enzo, and other very expensive Eurozoomers, and also with hopped-up Japanese speedboxes. My inclination is to think that the problem isn’t with the car, or the power, it’s with the driver. Including whether the driver’s judgement is impaired when buying more car than he or she can handle. Even a base Mini can be a deathtrap in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing (or worse, doesn’t care).

  • avatar
    ktm

    Dave M, what about the Volvo or BMW verts?

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    We had a S70 that bled us to death with repairs, as well as it doesn’t do “it” for me style-wise.

    I like the Bimmer, but am afraid it’s about $15k out of my range. I thought of the CPO program, but I plan on having the vehicle pretty much the rest of my life (not a daily driver), so buying new I guess is advantaegous for me.

    I like the style of the Saab as well, but was less than impressed on the test drive….

  • avatar
    rudiger

    The problem with the GT500 isn’t that it’s a modern day Hemicuda (which it is). The problem, as I pointed out in the comments section of Lieberman’s article, is that the GT500 is priced too closely to the BMW 335i, a car that can be driven at the same speeds the GT500 purports, but in a much safer, more comfortable, liveable way.

    Knock about $10k off the price of the GT500, and it would be a different story. This was the case a few years back with the Cobra and the M3. They both ran at similiar velocities, the Bimmer was better, but also a lot more expensive, so it was easy to overlook the foibles of the Cobra.

    With the GT500’s price much closer to that of the much more refined (and nearly as fast) 335i, there’s no longer any financial incentive to overlook the crudeness and buy the Ford.

  • avatar
    CliffG

    Obviously, many of your have a lot more money than I do, $40k+ markup is not chump change to me. It is nice I can get 500bhp for $40k, but why does it have to come with an interior 1975 would be proud of and a suspension that is firmly in the mid-60s? I think I can get a 325 for less than $40k with variable cam timing and the one of the most sophisticated suspensions on the face of the planet. The 500 is being specifically marketed towards those guys who go to the Barrett Jackson auctions and pay $115k for a ’65 Corvette. The 500 is the automotive equivalent of the chick who’s got a heck of a rack, but you find our her iq is around 80, and her ex and her have cleaned out your bank account after a couple of months.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    Now if only Ford would release a 500hp Town Car…

    They could advertise its “road hugging weight”!

  • avatar
    Eric Miller

    I’m really not sure who would seriously cross-shop a GT500 and a BMW 335, or even M3. They are apples and broccoli.

  • avatar
    macarose

    Robert is right about this being a ‘heavy’ car on the road. It’s not the tossable, flickable sports car that a BMW or an Acura represents.

    The GT500 is more comparable, in performance and brand marketing, to the Dodge Viper. This vehicle is being used as an image vehicle (or halo vehicle) for the more sporty vehicles in Ford’s lineup. It will put a few more eyeballs on the Mustangs, make the rest of Ford’s lineup appear to be more performance competitive (these vehicles will actually be showcased for a while at the dealerships), and will be reflective of Ford’s desire to make more sporty and soulful vehicles for the public in the coming years.

    It’s a very smart move that will sell well primarily in the South, Midwest, and Southwestern areas of the U.S. In these areas of the U.S. American muscle cars are popular and well-regarded.

    By the way, what Mr. Farago said in his write-up has merit. Although I think it would have been better to make more hay out of other potential options for Ford (make Shelby versions of other Fords and Lincolns to increase their market presence), I think he had very valid points overall.

    Good write-up!

  • avatar
    KixStart

    During the podcast, Liebermann said “it takes you back to the ’70’s…”

    Isn’t that condemnation enough? I don’t remember a single good American car from the ’70’s. The cars I remember are the Ford LTD (which got worse and worse as it went along), the Lincoln Mark of that era (a superb vehicle for grossly overweight detectives) and the ’77 Chevell Malibu (we had the misfortune to own one).

    True, there were probably better cars on the road but those were the cars we used every day. And smog controllage was in its infancy and all the cars I remember had “operational difficulties” as a result.

    Oh – and I almost forgot the Gran Torino. Gaaack.

    Eric Miller added, “I’m really not sure who would seriously cross-shop a GT500 and a BMW 335, or even M3. They are apples and broccoli.”

    That’s easy. A toy buyer. In fact, the one redeeming quality of the GT500 is that it’s so obviously a toy. When you purchase this – or a classic car, etc – it’s a statement that you’ve made enough money that you can afford to buy a car that makes no sense to drive. The BMW doesn’t make that statement.

  • avatar
    Eric Miller

    But how many toy buyers are at home with the brochures spread out on the table truly fretting between a GT500 and a BMW 335? Not many, if any.

  • avatar
    CliffG

    I don’t presume to be cross shopping between 325 and a 500. The real question that must be addressed is why is the interior of a 500 not that of a $40k car and the suspension is basically crap? This is not a question for the buyers of a 500, this is a question for the people who run Ford! How dare you put a half-assed car out there. Since we know people will pay $50k for it, make it bloody right. This whole “close enough” stuff has gotta stop in Detroit.

  • avatar

    Obviously, we live in a free society. Enthusiasts are free to choose whatever car they like for whatever reason floats their boat [sic]. I'm more concerned about what the GT500 says about Ford. First, the extreme version of a car reveals to us (if no one else) the quality of the base model. The M3/335i tells me the 328i is a sound automobile. The GT500 tells me the base Mustang is a sub-standard sedan. (A weekend behind the wheel of a rental Mustang V6 confirms this suspicion.) Second, the GT500 tells me that Ford hasn't advanced its engineering in THREE DECADES. Is that the best they can do for pistonheads for $40k? If so, they'd better improve– soon– or settle for the whole Harley Davidson dinosaur niche.

  • avatar
    Eric Miller

    The real question … is why is the interior of a 500 not that of a $40k car

    Because the motor is closer to that of a $70,000 car

  • avatar
    Aardappel

    You are all missing the point if you are trying to review this car as a drivers car. Everyone knows its a brutal engine strapped to a shopping cart, and that’s not going to be pretty.

    See, americans are obsessed with stats and numbers. And there is one number that you can impress people the most with and that’s HP. This car simply provides the highest number for the least $, which is what the non-driver types care about most.

    For those same non-driver types, its unrefined handling will be a bonus. After impressing their buddy with the number 500 and showing him what this car can do, the car becoming unstable after taking off from a traffic light will seem very exciting to them, and a demonstration of POWER. Put these same non-drivers in, say, a 911 turbo, and they will think its a less powerful, less exciting car because it takes off from the traffic light in a perfectly balanced and controlled way.

    Never mind that one can take you around bends at speed with milimeter precision, and the other will just slide into the grass.

    It goes together well with american’s straight line obsession, as thats about the only way this “car” can shine.

    I think Ford are very smart for bringing cars like this out, the average consumer doesn’t understand why it is not a bargain at all anyway. 500hp in a shopping cart is about as useful as a pentium 4 in your toaster, I’d rather use 300HP for 100% than 500 for 20%

  • avatar
    Eric Miller

    … or settle for the whole Harley Davidson dinosaur niche.

    If the GT500 is a Harley, was the Ford GT a Buell?

  • avatar
    CliffG

    To further RF’s (and my) point is that 100% of the developmental money that Ford spent on building the 500 went into boosting the horsepower of that old ohv V-8 from 350hp to 500hp. Congrats, but those were developmental expenses that are not transferable to the base model or any other Ford. If they had spent the time and money working on the rear suspension, the whole corp. would have benefited. When you have just mortgaged your entire infrastructure you do not have the time or money for vanity games.

  • avatar
    Eric Miller

    I would guess that developing the supercharged engine was a walk in the park (and relatively cheap) based on groundwork laid by the GT program, the 03 SVT Cobra, and the Lightning/Harley Davidson F150s.

  • avatar
    philbailey

    No sweat, the Z06 is just as bad.

  • avatar
    Eric Miller

    No sweat, the Z06 is just as bad.

    As bad as what? At what?

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Hey Lieberman,

    It’s called a “torque PEAK”, not a “torque redline.” ;-)

    I agree with RF about the burble….that was the signature feature of the 85-05 Mustangs….the sound of horsepower from my childhood….and if that’s gone, it’s a tragedy.

    And the blower whine, a feature of every Eaton equipped Cobra/Lightning/Jaguar “R” car is just annoying.

    Also, I doubt if RF has ever driven a Pinto if he thinks one can break 100, much less 120 mph.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    CliffG,

    The GT500, and every other Mustang built after 1995, as an OHC motor. OHV died in 1995.

  • avatar
    philbailey

    Eric Miller:

    The Z06 handles like an ox-cart on anything but the smoothest of roads.

  • avatar
    Eric Miller

    You’ve driven one?

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    You are all insane.

    Unless you agree with me.

  • avatar
    Eric Miller

    Please say ‘from what I’ve read’ or ‘I would think’ but I’d prefer we not state opinions or here-say as fact if it isn’t first-hand knowledge or published empirical data.

    If you are lucky enough and/or well connected, please drive both the GT500 and a C6 Z06. Neither are ox carts.

    I am rather impressed with the Z06. It’s Jeckyl / Hyde: decent ride and quite docile until you unleash its fury.

    The GT500 is different. Its fury is known at all times.

  • avatar

    What “fury”? 3950 for the coupe and 4150 for the vert. Those fat obese bods dampen any fury the car might have had otherwise.
    And, numbers are deceiving – it’s easy to get 500 these days but to pass emissions (especially when hauling around such a weight) the engine still has to be dumbed down to the point where it won’t rev very quickly. And the overall gearing of the car is lousy.
    Have you seen the crank damper on this lard-ass? 38 pounds!!!

  • avatar
    tms1999

    I'd add to the debate that more than suspension setup or horsepower, the essential factor hindering speed in a car is driver experience. With this GT500, you have a classic recipe for unbalanced car: overwheight, overpowered, live axle. Most drivers will still drive them under the speed limit. But sometimes, floor it from 45 to 85 on the freeway, then jump on the brake and think to themself "wow, power!" The horspower war is a marketing war. We don't need horsepower, we need torque. We don't need more horsepower, we need less weight.

  • avatar

    Folks: the IRS was developed and tested on what became the Shelby. Here’s a pic and explanation of it:

    http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-my-automobilia/sec-imho/2005-03-20_irs-2007-svt-bs/default.htm

    And note the nice 4-piston Brembos too!

  • avatar
    Eric Miller

    The horspower war is a marketing war. We don’t need horsepower, we need torque.

    Then the GT500’s 480 lb-ft is probably just as impressive to the marketing guys.

    I agree that the GT500 could benefit from a serious diet. Everyone wins. The drag racing straight-line guys win. The corner-carving euro snobs win. The street racing ricer types win. It would just cost more.

    I said in Lieberman’s first article:
    “[I] Still think they could have included an aluminum block. That 70+ pound weight advantage over the nose would transform it from a one trick drag pony to a sweetheart road car (even more than IRS).”

    Why didn’t Ford use the GT’s aluminum block? Already developed, sourced, certified, and proven. Charge $1000 more for the car to cover the expense and they still could have sold every one.

  • avatar

    Because the motor is closer to that of a $70,000 car
    I’m not sure about that. It’s strong, but the older Cobras ran some fairly inexpensive performance parts. Specifically, they ran Eagle rods, which most definitely not comparable to the forged titanium rods in the Z06, though I do seem to remember the Eagles being H-beams, which is a good thing, IMO. I would have liked to see them use Carillo, as Eagles are forged in China and machined Stateside…not good, IMO. I believe the crank is a forged piece built in house, which is nice, but there are better options out there. As I said, this is older Cobras, so I am not sure what’s inside the GT500’s shortblock.

    It’s hard to argue with the heads…the Ford GT’s valvetrain flows air very well, from what I’ve read. Hard to imagine these heads not living up to that reputation. The car probably has a lot of headroom left in it, for those with the cajones and cash to find it.

    I would be willing to bet that you could build a factory GT to surpass this car for less than $40k, tuned and out the door. Please note that this is pure speculation, as I am no expert in aftermarket Mustang parts. I do know that you can get a WRX STi to 410awhp(more than 500bhp) for less than $40k, and that’s assuming a MSRP of ~$33k. If you spend wisely, 500hp really isn’t much of a big deal these days and people would be surprised to see how much torque something like Subaru’s 6-speed and diffs are capable of handling. In a car like that, you save 550lbs and only sacrifice a marginal amount of torque. I only cite the STi because I am familiar, not because it is the only car capable of this sort of power to weight ratio.

    That sort of thinking is what leads me to conclude that there isn’t much that’s very special about this special edition Mustang. They will sell every one of them, I’m sure, and we will see this longblock putting down 500 or 600whp dyno pulls in the next weeks or months, of that I am certain, but I would still rather have a C6 Corvette over this thing, at that price point.

    I know, I know, modded cars versus OEM hardware is apples to oranges, etc, but my point is, there are options. I agree with just about everything else you have posted in this thread.

  • avatar
    Eric Miller

    My logic was that every other 500+ hp production car is at least $70K

  • avatar
    Stig Blomqvist

    Interesting debate. Writing as I am from Europe, there seems to be a wide rift between our respective car tastes. Or rather in the characteristics you desire from a car. This Atlantic gap seems especially wide when it comes to judging this Mustang GT500. Most people with “European” or “Modern” taste (like Mr. Farago himself) says it’s a piece of junk because it’s horrendous to drive, and “True Americans” (Ford-speak) or “stunt drivers” (Lieberman’s words…) thinks it’s wonderful for the exact same reasons. Seems like a never ending debate…

    Anyway: if you like to see an experienced race driver, Jason Plato, test drive this car on a track, check out episode five of this season’s Fifth Gear, downloadable via http://www.finalgear.com/shows/fifthgear/10/5/
    Note that he drives the car on a perfectly flat race track and thus avoids the road joints, the bumps and the ruts you normally encounter.

    I also recommend you to download other episodes of this very good TV-show (even though this autumns episode have been somewhat below standard). Very good racing drivers beating the crap out of various cars. For many Americans I think their views on some cars will be somewhat enlightening.

    Start e.g. at http://www.finalgear.com

  • avatar

    The GT’s aluminum block isn’t made by Ford – and it’s *expensive*. It also has some differences from the other mod motors. So it would have added considerable cost.

    The Shelby engine is not at all the same engine as the Ford GT engine. There are very few shared parts – notably the heads. The rest of it is by and large Ford’s truck engine. Crank, rods, pistons – all different. Supercharger – very different.

    As for creating an aluminum block, the money was originally in the 2000 Cobra R program – paid for by the Navigator. Lincoln would have paid the bill, but cut the program at the last minute. The weight savings would have been much more than 70 pounds… but that didn’t really matter much in a Navigator. So, the Mustang lost out too.

    The 5.4 mod is a fairly poor engine… small bore = forced small valves. Poor breathing. And it’s expensive. Ford hasn’t put any major money into the mod motor program in years, with the exception of the 3-valve heads for the trucks (hand-me-down to the Mustang). That engine isn’t going anywhere. Plans for a Yamaha-headed 5-valve and a second gen design are all dead for lack of budget (and leadership!).

    Now imagine what could be done if Ford had an LS2-type engine. The cost woud have been considerably less… the displacement could have been far more. A blower on that would have been way more power. In fact, who would need the stupid blower and all of it’s inherent heat problems?
    (note: assume the LS-2 type Ford wouldn’t have the lousyt oiling issues the entire LS family has).

  • avatar

    Someone will twin-turbo one of these things and make ludicrous, testicle popping power, following the path taken by some previous generation Cobra owners. Why didn’t Ford think of that?

  • avatar

    Keep in mind that Jeremy Clarkson blew up the Shelby in an American test drive. Garked it’s fluid all over the place. And from highways, not track use. August 2006.

    This is entirely keeping with the practice of SVTs to gark their fluid whenever driven hard. Even Ford’s own GT used in the SVT driving events repeatedly blew it’s fluid at events… leading to it’s withdrawal after a rebuild failed to sove the program.

  • avatar
    Eric Miller
  • avatar
    Matthew Potena

    If Ford were truly serious about this car, especially in light of their use of a commercial with the guy going to Germany because of the lack of suitable speed limits in America, then they would not have placed a limit of 155 mph on this car.

  • avatar
    f8

    Great, just when I started to doubt the sanity of the TTAC writers after the TWAT award nominations and the first Shelby 500 article.

    I’m sorry, but a 4,000 pound sports car with a live-axle rear suspension is simply embarassing in 2007. Absolutely embarassing. Nissan is planning to roll out the next Skyline GTR with an advanced AWD system and a kick-ass suspension. EVO and STI offer great performance with AWD and rally-like suspensions. Ford makes a slightly redone Mustang without even bothering to improve on it in any major way, other than adding a supercharger.

    Anyone who spends $40K on this either works for Ford, is going through a severe midlife crisis, or knows nothing about cars and their value other than “more horsepower=better than”

    Here’s a video of a 14-year old kid crashing a brand new Shelby Mustang:

  • avatar
    qfrog

    ugh… this car is like FOMOCO pretending like we never broke out of the 60’s and the imports are all crappy knockoffs of domestics with wanky little engines. If I stick my fingers in my ears, close my eyes real tight… shout LA LA LA LA LA LA LA I CANT HEAR YOU at the top of my voice it will still be the 60’s and everything will be okay. While I’m at it let me slip on my ruby red shoes for some heel clacking action because I’ve got a witch to kill and some straw man telling me he wants organs, human organs.

    Hard to believe that the same company brought us this suspension in the 80’s… yet still produces a sports car with a live axle… where is my chest wig (insert tim taylor augh augh augh noises)

    http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/b/bb/Ford_RS200_engine.jpg

    And lets not forget a bit of this in the 90’s… my god its almost like one of those japanese evo or sti cars… with some new fangled turbocharged motor and 16 valves designed by people with a clue and a hankering for a WRC title. Four wheel drive and mondern suspension too!

    http://us1.webpublications.com.au/static/images/articles/i25/2503_5mg.jpg

  • avatar

    Robert, Noted.

    I’m glad I didn’t submit my original comment about Adriana Lima…

  • avatar
    CSJohnston

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Please take the time to add up your WRX, Evo, 350Z (I noticed nobody brings up the porky Nissan when discussing the gossamer beauty of Japanese design and engineering on this post) RX8, etc sales. The Mustang outsells all of them by a hefty margin.

    Motor Trend ran an informal survey at a high school in California a couple of years ago asking them to pick from four or five compact cars (I think the WRX was one, a Civic, a Cavalier, etc). Many chose the Subie as their preferred ride amongst the group. When asked what car they REALLY wanted to look cool in, the majority said 60’s era muscle car.

    A car’s appeal is in its attitude and how it makes you feel. By that measure, the `Stang is simply a bitchin’ ride.

    Ford has got the Mustang just right for the American buyer. Now if they could only peg the needle on the rest of their car lineup, we may be lucky enough to see the next-gen Mustang.

  • avatar
    CSJohnston

    Just a quick question about the 155 mph speed limiter. Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t most of the German cruise missiles (M5, AMG’s, etc) limited to a buck fifty-five? I thought I read that most of them are capped that way and that you have to go aftermarket to have the limiter removed.

  • avatar

    BMW, Audi and Mercedes still limit their cars to 155mph as part of a “gentlemen’s agreement” to do so (originally formulated to stop the greens from speed restricting the autobahn).

    Pistonheads pay to have the software removed. Porsche, of course, said screw that right from the start.

  • avatar
    CSJohnston

    Robert,

    Thanks kindly. So can someone have the limiter removed at the factory level then?

    Porsche should rightly stay out of that agreement. Still a superior sports car to anything the other three Bahn-burners have put out.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    For the record, I will so race Robert anywhere he wants to go in his TL with a GT500.

    And beat him silly.

  • avatar
    XK150

    JWFisher says:
    “The 5.4 mod is a fairly poor engine… small bore = forced small valves. Poor breathing. And it’s expensive. Ford hasn’t put any major money into the mod motor program in years, with the exception of the 3-valve heads for the trucks (hand-me-down to the Mustang). That engine isn’t going anywhere”.

    Have a look at what a little Aussie ingenuity can do with it:

    http://www.fpv.com.au/cars/gt/enginetransmission/engine.aspx

    Basically, it’s a head transplant: swap the basic 3 valve heads for a modified Mustang Cobra R twincam, four valve design. Simple, really.

    For those with an imperial bent: 290kW is 348 bhp and 500Nm is about 369 ft lb. Not bad for an engine that isn’t going anywhere …

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    I’m largely with miked on this one.

    I think that Detroit needs to do what Detroit *can* do–and that is use their vintage soul capital. They can’t build a better and cheaper Porsche, BMW, Honda, or Toyota, but they can sure as heck build a better Mustang.

    I’m not so sure about the whole “people bringing rumbling GT500s to work every day” to make ford look good in the public eye thing. To the unwashed American eye, the GT500 looks like a GT with racing stripes. The V6 “pony package” mustang looks a LOT like a GT. Put racing stripes on all of them and they’ll all look the same. The pony package V6 and the GT *are* within the budgets of MANY americans (look at how many bought $40,000 explorers and $38,000 bonnevilles). Since they all look mostly the same, and the GT can rumble with the right pipes, and the GT and pony package V6s are affordable, and Ford *still* doesn’t look like a more viable choice, I don’t know if a chicken in every pot and a GT500 in every lot can turn the image tide for ford.

    However, if you’re looking down the barrel of chapter 7 or 11 and the outcome seems inevitable, and your choices are to build more rental cars or build a donk-stomping muscle car, would you rather go out in a flood of beige or a cloud of tire smoke?

    I say light ’em up.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Eric,
    How much did Dodge charge for that Ram with a Viper engine in it? I think it was less than $70k.

    Actually, that might be a better comparison to the GT500 than the 335.

  • avatar

    What a laugh… compare it against the relatively low-tech (and far less expensive) LS2 with 400 HP and 400 torque.

    Now spend a few bucks on variable displacement (cylinder shutoff) and cam phasing and you have the 2009 Camaro engine.

    More powerful, more economical, smaller, and more fuel efficient.

  • avatar
    macarose

    Thanks CSJohnston for bringing this entire conversation back to earth.

    The Shelby GT500 is NOT a modern sports car in the traditional ‘Euro’ sense of the term. It’s a ‘halo car’ that reflects the potency of the Mustang from times past to times present.

    Just like the Viper was a harbinger for Chrysler’s forward thinking designs and class leading acceleration back in the 1990’s, the GT500 represents the beauty and brute force that muscle cars offer to the marketplace.

    The Mustang is a class leading vehicle and is in the eyes of many auto critics, one of the best designs of the last ten years. It’s rather ironic to hear this group promoting a large number of unsuccessful vehicles in times past and present, while criticizing Ford for making a car that’s been enormously successful in the marketplace.

    Wake up!

  • avatar
    skor

    Fact is that the majority of American piston-heads would love nothing better than a 1000 HP engine bolted to a shopping cart frame — that’s why the Mustang is so popular.

    In 1988 Ford was going to build its new Mustang on the Mazda MX-6 platform. When word got out that the new ‘Stang was going to be a wrong-wheel-drive “Jap” car, the true believers went totally jihad. Ford was inundated with letters from muscle car mujahideen — mostly written in crayon on yellow legal pad paper — threatening suicide bombings by greasy fingernail nitwits with BVDs packed full of semtex.

    Ford had no choice but to keep the Fairmont/Mustang, but they already spent a lot of money on the replacement car, so America got Probed.

    Actually, I drove both the ’89 Mustang and Probe in GT trim. The Probe was the all around better car. The Probe handled better, stopped better, had better fit and finish, and was only a bit slower than the 5.0. The Probe has been in Dodo-ville for 10 years now, while the Mustang stampedes on.

    America does not have a grown up performance car culture, and probably will not have one anytime soon.

  • avatar
    Bubba Gump

    I think I finally figured the Farago out. “Its called culture identity crisis.” Holy Smokes. LOL

  • avatar
    Bubba Gump

    Now back to your regularly scheduled program. :)

  • avatar
    Eric Miller

    Eric,
    How much did Dodge charge for that Ram with a Viper engine in it? I think it was less than $70k.

    Actually, that might be a better comparison to the GT500 than the 335.

    You’re right, the Ram SRT10 starts under $50K and has 500hp. I did say production ‘car’, but I had honestly forgotten about the Ram.

    5100+ pounds, rollin’ on duece-duece bling … I guarantee that somebody somewhere has both a GT500 and a Ram SRT10 in their garage. Two peas of a pod.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    If you want a good all-around car just put a supercharger on an 07 350z. Looks nice on the outside, looks OK on the inside, fast in a line or curve. Either that or just wait on an Evo X in late 07 or 08. Now that one is going to be a monster. Too bad Ford won’t bring the Focus RS, 300+hp AWD to the U.S.

    I’d have to side with Robert on this, I’ll take a good dose of handling with my kick in the pants, I’d buy a 335i for that kind of green.

  • avatar
    Eric Miller

    America does not have a grown up performance car culture, and probably will not have one anytime soon.

    What is a ‘grown up performance car culture’ exactly?

  • avatar
    macarose

    I guess in certain circles here it’s wine, cheese, and ones curved up / carved up nose stuck deep in BMW’s tailpipe.

    Or is it their ……

  • avatar
    Brendan McAleer

    skor:

    I bought my MX-6 for 3 grand CA$ and it ran a 14 second quarter with 300,000kms on the clock. Exhaust and manual boost-controller.
    Mind you a Fox-body can go as fast as you can afford.

    I like this counterpoint idear.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    It is interesting that the even the apologists are basically saying that there is no way Ford can build a much better car today than they did fourty years ago. Now if only the rest of the industry were still building it’s 1960s vehicles then maybe the 2.5 would have a fighting chance.

    Where is the Mustang which embodies the spirit of the original while making no excuses visa-vis the present competition? It is absolutely unforgiveable for Ford to be selling a $40k vehicle with a solid rear axle. Ford even managed to finally update the Explorer with IRS, yet cheaped out on the ‘stang.

    “Good enough” isn’t good enough anymore. If the best that Ford can do is to remake it’s old bestsellers then they belong at a lounge in Reno, Nevada singing along with the rest of the over the hill bands.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    “Please take the time to add up your WRX, Evo, 350Z … . The Mustang outsells all of them by a hefty margin.”

    By this logic the Big Mac is the country’s finest serving of beef simply because they sell so many of them. For the same money I would savor a beef wellington over a Big Mac any day. The GT500 is the automotive equivalent of a Super Sized Big Mac meal with all the fixin’s!

    Now if you haven’t a clue what beef wellington even is, perhaps the GT500 is for you. Or, you might like to learn about some of the better things in life:

    http://www.dinnerplanner.com/beef_wellington.htm

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    I still stand by my original statement that this engine should be in the new Town Car. Maybe detuned to 450.

    Tell me you would not drive that.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    You’re right, the Ram SRT10 starts under $50K and has 500hp. I did say production ‘car’, but I had honestly forgotten about the Ram.

    That’s what they originally sold for when they were introduced. There were surely a few ‘gotta-have-the-first-ones’ that paid $70k.

    However, the last time I checked ebay, the asking price was a lot less for any remaining new ones. In fact, there may be a few dealers that still have brand new ’04 Ram SRT-10s sitting on their lots (in addition to ’05s and ’06s).

  • avatar

    The Ram SRT-10 would only do 154mph. Heh, I say only.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_Ram_SRT_10

  • avatar
    rudiger

    I’ll bet that’s a scary 154mph.

  • avatar

    No wonder – the aerodynamics of a brick and front end lift of an airplane.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    I still stand by my original statement that this engine should be in the new Town Car. Maybe detuned to 450.

    Tell me you would not drive that.

    Dayum, that’d be a Bold Move indeed.

    Add in a 6-speed automatic that downshifts like the old C6s, Police Interceptor suspension and I’d hit it.

  • avatar
    CSJohnston

    By this logic the Big Mac is the country’s finest serving of beef simply because they sell so many of them. For the same money I would savor a beef wellington over a Big Mac any day. The GT500 is the automotive equivalent of a Super Sized Big Mac meal with all the fixin’s!

    Taking the statement in that context, your analogy is acceptable. Let’s continue with it. The Mustang succeeds because everyone cannot afford Beef Wellington. I can get a Big Mac in every town in North America. The Big Mac, regardless of your opinion of it culinary qualities seems to be a very popular hamburger. Based on statistics alone, I would suspect that every consumer of a Big Mac is not a complete idiot and knows exactly what they’re getting. Statistically, I would also suspect that there are people who have eaten both a Big Mac and a Beef Wellington and that they will continue eating Big Macs no matter how tasty they might have found the Beef Wellington.

    The Big Mac and the Mustang are very similar: simple, popular, straightforward, iconic and uniquely American.

    Now to fire the Beef Wellington analogy back at ya. If we are to regard the Beef Wellington as the pinnacle of “beefdom”, does that mean that we should regard English cuisine as an example of all that is good about food? Does that extend to their automotive industry?

    PS- Richard Nixon’s favourite dish was Beef Wellington

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    I’m with jwfisher…if only Ford had a bigger bore V8 like the fabulous LS2/LS7….a new gen “Windsor” if you will… instead of the compromised undersquare small bore design, it would be a far superior powerplant. Lucklily, I’ve had no oiling issues with any of the LSx motors I’ve owned and flogged at the track.

    XK150….we had twin cam 32V 5.4s here from 1999-2004 in our Navigators conservatively tuned to 300 HP. Unfortunately only the Aussies had the gumption to upgrade that naturally aspirated motor and put it in something that weighs less than the QE2. I wonder how much the FPV 32V heads have in common with the Navigator heads, and the Ford GT heads, for that matter.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Has anyone heard about the the supposed 5.0L “Hurricane” motor in the upcoming Boss 302 Mustang? Is this another small bore modular motor or a new block with wider bore center that was rumored to be in the works? It’s mentioned in the new Jan issue of Motor Trend.

  • avatar
    CSJohnston

    I still stand by my original statement that this engine should be in the new Town Car. Maybe detuned to 450.

    Tell me you would not drive that.

    Oh man, that’d be so cool! Kind of like Grosse Point Blank meets the Fast and the Furious!

    All in black and chrome please!

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Man oh man, the blown 5.4 in a Town Car would be the ultimate cruiser….what the Marauder coulda/shoulda been!

  • avatar
    CSJohnston

    Has anyone heard about the the supposed 5.0L “Hurricane” motor in the upcoming Boss 302 Mustang? Is this another small bore modular motor or a new block with wider bore center that was rumored to be in the works? It’s mentioned in the new Jan issue of Motor Trend.

    I was always under the impression that it was to a wider bore engine to combat the larger V8’s coming from Dodge and GM. It was supposed to be introduced in this year’s F-150 to blunt the launches of the new Tundra and Sierra/Silverado.

    However, I thought it was off the table until at least `08 or `09 when Ford was to launch their new Super Duty.

    I have not read the latest Motor Trend yet.

  • avatar
    dhathewa

    [Blown 5.4, with its supercharger whine, in a Town Car…]

    Who’d buy a noisy Town Car?

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    CSJohnson,

    Yes, I too thought it was a ways off…that’s why the new MT claim that it’s in the ’07 boss 302 was even more suprising!

  • avatar
    jthorner

    “The Mustang succeeds because everyone cannot afford Beef Wellington. ”

    A $15-$20k Mustang can be an entertaining car and an OK value. My point is that this $40k GT500 is greatly overpriced for what it is. A $40k car with a solid rear axle and a Dollar Tree inspired interior? That is a Big Mac at Beef Wellington prices.

  • avatar
    CSJohnston

    A $15-$20k Mustang can be an entertaining car and an OK value. My point is that this $40k GT500 is greatly overpriced for what it is. A $40k car with a solid rear axle and a Dollar Tree inspired interior? That is a Big Mac at Beef Wellington prices.

    Yes, I would agree with some of that. However, I think a more appropriate comparison would be a FatBurger. Good ingredients (you cannot argue with the engine), tasty but messy.

    Again, at a a stock level, the Mustang has NEVER been about all around performance. It has always sat on humble roots (Falcon, Pinto, Fox). It has racing heritage but at the most accessible levels (Trans-Am). As heritage is important to Mustang success, the new GT500 is a very worthy successor to the original (which if you read reviews from that time had similar knocks against it for being “all motor” and not much else. Which has done nothing to deter its legendary status or desireability).

    And yes, a solid rear axle is not and never will be as good a performance solution as IRS but they are hard to kill. The Mustang aftermarket is huge and on par with any other in terms of performance modifications. Most Mustang fans want bigger power and quarter mile bragging rights. A SRA allows for all sorts of straight line solutions at minimal cost.

    I remember hearing when the next gen Cobra was conceived (which the GT500 represents) it was supposed to be a sophistcated machine capable of running with M3’s, etc.

    My guess was that concept was killed due to budget constriction (the same reason we do not have a current Lightning, SVT Focus, SVT Sport Trac, etc) and the de facto dismantling of the SVT division.

    Maybe Ford will try to build a Mustang sports car again, maybe not. They have many options from the global inventory to bring something else in. However, is Ford all about sophisticated performance in North America? Has it ever been?

  • avatar
    Luther

    Most people with “European” or “Modern” taste (like Mr. Farago himself) says it’s a piece of junk because it’s horrendous to drive, and “True Americans” (Ford-speak) or “stunt drivers” (Lieberman’s words…) thinks it’s wonderful for the exact same reasons. Seems like a never ending debate…

    Yup. It is kinda automotive class warfare. It is task-man vs thinking-man.

    One prefers beer, pizza, television the other prefers fine dining and Mozart. One prefers brute force, loud, vulgar the other prefers precision, elegance. One prefers women with huge breasts the other prefers women with huge breasts (Not really. proportion, charm).

    It is not really a debate. It is like debating which ice cream taste better chocolate vs strawberry. The debate, of course, would never end.

    The Ford GT500 is a MB E63 AMG that did not go to College.

  • avatar

    Late fall 2004 – SVE/T was killed off… Tom Scarpello was let go, Colletti departed (many believe he was given the heave-ho as a result of the 2003/4 Cobra and Ford GT quality debacles), and the entire SVE staff was assigned to other development groups. SVT, which was never more than a marketing organization that was contracted by Ford, was all let go.
    November 2004: the *real* Cobra (aluminum 5.4, IRS) was killed. The Shelby – which was intended originally solely as a special model – was tagged to take it’s place at the top. The IRS was dropped, and the price was brought down as much as possible (iron block, etc). The Ford GT was assigned an end date, and the follow-on project was killed.

  • avatar
    CSJohnston

    Re: Mustang IRS.

    The last gen Mustang could easily get an IRS bolted on as the hard points on the platform mated up to the IRS assembly from the old Mark VIII.

    I wonder if a Lincoln LS or Jag S-Type R assembly could be fitted on to the Mustang as they share platform roots?

    Anyone out there thought this through?

  • avatar

    Per my post above, a new bolt-in IRS unit was developed for the current S197. I even have the sole picture that exists in the world of of it on my site (http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-my-automobilia/sec-imho/2005-03-20_irs-2007-svt-bs/default.htm).

    But the LS IRS won’t fit – the entire frame past the middle of the car is totally different and unrelated.

    Common misconception is that the S197 is a DEW98 platform… it is not. It’s been totally changed to the point where only the wheelbase is the same. Entire front and rear ends are different.
    And, finally, the SN95 IRS was of no relationship to the Mark IRS – except the center aluminum diff and the aluminum uprights were reused. Otherwise, nothing was was in common and the architecture was very different.

  • avatar
    CSJohnston

    Re: SVT RIP

    It is too bad about that. Coletti was someone who understood “soul”. Quality debacles at Ford (at that time) were as common as MBA’s in the purchasing division.

    Coincidence???

  • avatar
    CSJohnston

    Re: IRS on Mustang

    But the LS IRS won’t fit – the entire frame past the middle of the car is totally different and unrelated.

    Bummer. I guess I have to go back to my other Franken-Ford idea which is to take a T-Bird and put an S-Type R suspension and motor in it.

    The things you think about on Sunday mornings… other than, uh, church! Yeah, that’s the ticket!

  • avatar

    He was a great guy but he was also where the buck stopped. So, when over 400 Ford GTs had to be recalled to replace the entire set of 8 control arms (they were cracking), put a diaper on the rear main crank seal (it was leaking), replace the seatbelts, and a bunch of other stuff (Ford’s cost: 19,000 per car), somebody had to pay the piper. He was it.
    Also note all the bugs in the 2003/2004 Cobras – multiple rewrites of the control software, mega-numbers of engine replacements on warrenty, multiple recalls, broken early T56s, cylinder head issues.
    Somebody inside Ford rightly asked where it would all stop.

  • avatar

    T-Bird already has a suspension in common with an S-Type. (minus updates and tweaks done after launch)… adding the R components to it wouldn’t be too bad. Note that originally (as revealed in an interview in Automobile magazine), the T-Bird was to get a handling package that would have included Brembo brakes all around. That, along with the planned supercharged motor and manual tranny, were all killed. The supercharged T-Bird was shown in concept form on the show-car circuit by Ford… I have pics of it’s launch on my site.

  • avatar
    CSJohnston

    Re: Coletti,

    Yes, leadership has its ups and downs.

    However, and I am asking this striaght-up, did the engineering team for the Focus take similar hits, what about the Escape? You only get to go with what purchasing and accounting allows you to have. Suppliers were squeezed on costs across all lines until there were no corners left to cut.

    Ultimate blame lies at the very top. It seems that top dogs are always the last to go.

  • avatar

    Don’t directly know. I’ve mainly only discussed the former SVE/SVT group.
    I think, though, that the Escape problem (new body on the old platform and ye olde 3 liter and 4-speed) was purely one of economics. Just how much development funding can this company lay it’s hands on at the moment? Not much. It’s a shame, the thing definitely needed a mid-life update… it just took a few too many years. It’s not a bad platform, it should have had the 3.5/6-sp put into it.

  • avatar
    1984

    What is your problem with Mustangs RF?

    Every time someone publishes a “good” review of a mustang you have to tear it up.

    Every article was written to trash on the mustang immediately after a rear review was written. Here are the 3 examples:

    The review: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=2711
    RF 3: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=2733

    The review: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=2324
    RF 2: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=2331

    The review: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1981
    RF 1: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1988

  • avatar
    noley

    Horsepower is always a some is good, more is better thing. And pure straight line acceleration is fun but it gets old. If you can’t use the power on a narrow, real-world road with bumps, dips, mid-corner elevation changes, a few off-camber turns, and other goodies then what’s the point? I’ll take half the power and a top-notch suspension any day.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    1984,

    I think RF summed it up best himself in this podcast, where I believe he said, “It’s a big American car from the old days; I didn’t like them then, and I don’t like them now.” Granted, the Mustang is no Grandma R. Quis, but it is still pretty bloated, esp for a “sports car.”

    It’s like trying to explain Metallica to the average NPR listener or symphony season ticket holder….different strokes and all that good stuff.

    I wonder if he can at least appreciate the improvement over the old Fox chassis cars with their archaic 4 link rear suspension. To me…the new car hascome a long way, despite the weight gain, thanks to much better chassis rigidity and a better located rear axle. Not all solid axle cars are created equal!

    Of course, I could still be convinced to want one if it was 10% smaller with something resembling 50/50 weight distribution. Alas, not in its current iteration.

  • avatar

    The Mustang is not and has never been a “sports car”. It doesn’t meet any of the qualifications whatsoever.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    I agree with you….but apparently Chief engineer Hau Thai-Tang doesn’t.

  • avatar

    Three recent press quotes, in sequence, by Hau Thai-Tang, Director, Advanced Product Creation and Special Vehicle Team:

    – “Drag racers and Ford’s accountants will be pleased at the choice of a live axle out back. Among our customer groups that know and care what sort of rear suspension their car has, a large number of them want a solid rear axle; they’re primarily the core enthusiast drag racers, and they like the durability, reliability, and ease of modification with it, changing axle ratios, etc.,” says Thai-Tang. “There’s another group that wants the sophistication and cornering advantage of an IRS, and we’re going to offer it on the upcoming SVT Cobra. Unlike the last time, when we kind of shoehorned the IRS in [an older platform]; this time, we’ve designed the rear architecture to accommodate both right from the beginning.”
    – “Ninety-two percent of (Mustang) Cobra customers wouldn’t have considered a Ford product”
    – “We’ll never appease those IRS snobs.”

    In progression, HTT goes from addressing the requirements of his customers and promising they would be met, to outright insulting them.

    HTT should be fired. He doesn’t deserve to man a broom in the Atlanta plant.

  • avatar
    Darren

    skor:
    December 3rd, 2006 at 12:01 am
    Fact is that the majority of American piston-heads would love nothing better than a 1000 HP engine bolted to a shopping cart frame — that’s why the Mustang is so popular.

    In 1988 Ford was going to build its new Mustang on the Mazda MX-6 platform. When word got out that the new ‘Stang was going to be a wrong-wheel-drive “Jap” car, the true believers went totally jihad. Ford was inundated with letters from muscle car mujahideen — mostly written in crayon on yellow legal pad paper — threatening suicide bombings by greasy fingernail nitwits with BVDs packed full of semtex.

    Ford had no choice but to keep the Fairmont/Mustang, but they already spent a lot of money on the replacement car, so America got Probed.

    Actually, I drove both the ‘89 Mustang and Probe in GT trim. The Probe was the all around better car. The Probe handled better, stopped better, had better fit and finish, and was only a bit slower than the 5.0. The Probe has been in Dodo-ville for 10 years now, while the Mustang stampedes on.

    America does not have a grown up performance car culture, and probably will not have one anytime soon.

    Mr. skor,

    You are not a car guy. I don’t know what you are, but your not a car guy. Your comment about greasy finger nailed nit-wits kinda sums it all up. Don’t feel bad, there is a lot of men that have to call AAA to fix a tire. There are not a lot of men, however, that are upset that Ford didn’t turn the Mustang into a teenage girls car in 1988. I’m sure the Mazda/Probe was a better car stock, but it had zero potential. Many of the crayon toting, bombastic, childish muscle car retards you speak of, turned those pathetic inferior fox body Mustangs into cars that would run circles around anyone of your “grown up” performance cars and did so at a fraction of the cost. Lastly there is NOTHING grown up about a performace car culture. Grown ups should know better- thats part of the fun. Go play golf.

  • avatar
    NoneMoreBlack

    Ford didn’t turn the Mustang into a teenage girls car in 1988.

    Mustang Sally, guess you better
    slow your Mustang down…

  • avatar
    Qusus

    Thanks for the clarification Robert. All editorial pieces (be they political or mere movie reviews) should have a forum where the author can answer to his detractors.

    Personally, I think the NSX is rockin’. Since it’s introduction as a safe, reliable, rattle-free supercar many years ago, it seems that it has proven to be way ahead of it’s time. Notice that generally speaking, sports cars’ have gotten more similar to the NSX by refining it’s everyday usability as well as performance in addition to becoming more reliable. (Porsche comes to mind.) And that these days, consumers – even the rich – consider unrefined expensive sporting cars (and sedans) as mostly unacceptable no matter the aesthetic or performance appeal. (Jaguar, Aston Martin comes to mind.)

    Anyways, I suppose the “Harley-Davidson dilemma” as you call is another article or twenty in itself. Just by glancing at the responses this has triggered I can see there are just as many people on both sides of the fence.

  • avatar

    So…here we go again:

    “Morbidly Obese”-look at 4-place coupes with at least 8 cylinders and for sale in the US…look at the weights…and welcome to the modern era of modern car safety/rigidity.

    Why some repeat the same gripe with NO research about the competition…I can’t imagine.

    I’m not saying I prefer heavy cars, I’m saying that the Mustang’s weight is hardly something it suffers alone.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    i got a kick out out of the audio conversation. made me smile

  • avatar
    Claude Dickson

    This Mustang is a muscle car for muscle car lovers. Muscle car lovers mix with sports car lovers like oil and water. You are either in one camp or the other. And you almost never, ever see anyone change camps.

    I imagine that muscle car lovers “get” this car, while the rest of us never will.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    i always wanted to be a stunt car driver… i think i’ll get one ;-)

  • avatar
    cretinx

    Leave going fast comfortably to ze Germans

    This car isn’t about comfort – its about letting crusty baby-boomers with the cash to afford a toy like this to relive their muscle car memories and the illusion of raising their plumetting testosterone levels.

  • avatar

    FYI I just noticed that the color of the GT500’s blue stripe doesn’t match from the rear bumper to the trunk to the hood. (The trunk stripe is lighter colored.) In fact, the color doesn’t match on either side of the [plastic] logo on the trunk.

    That ain’t right.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    From the inside, it’s a rental car. Forty large (without the sucker’s premium) buys you precisely nothing in the interior style department.

    According to Loverman, it buys you snakes, lots of snakes.

    Hissing snakes.

  • avatar

    I’d like to raise a glass of Guinness to both Farago and all the comments here…BRILLIANT! You’ve made my work day that much more enjoyable.

    The GT500 looks absolutely badass, but give me a TL Type-S and I’ll slay the Stang through the curves of a PA highway without thinking twice. You will beat me off the line, but that’s it.

    A car that costs more than $40k and has zero refinement is a joke. If it’s $40k, it can easily be $42k, and have a nicer interior standard. At that point, $2k isn’t making or breaking a buyer as it is in the $20k and below range of the base ‘Stang. I love the way the car looks – there’s no doubt the facade is beautiful, as I find myself doing a double take when I drive by one on the road. But the thought of actually driving it makes me cringe. Then again, I’m just a regular guy enjoying the hell out of my anodyne Acura (and pissing all over any regular GT stang that dares rev me at a red light).

    By the way, I saw a new Mitsu Evo smoke a clearly modified new style ‘Stang last week on the highway…not exactly a Bold Move…

    Edited to add – I had to go back and re-read JL’s review, and I hadn’t read the comments…but in the comments, JL says his buddy who has an Audi RS6 was impressed with the GT500. Are you kidding me?

  • avatar

    40 grand, plus gas-guzzler tax, plus obscene dealer markup.
    For a 3950 pound coupe or 4150 ‘vert. 58.5% front weight balance!
    That according to tests is only an increment over an ’03/4 Cobra in acceleration.

  • avatar
    Jon Furst

    What does a TL Type-S run in the 1/4 anyway, Ronin317? I haven’t seen any stats. I find it a little hard to believe that you’re “pissing all over…GT stang[s]”, especially since they have 14 horsepower, 64 lb/ft, and 113 pound weight advantage over you. Let’s not even bring up the $12,700 price difference. But, hey, if I blew almost $40k on an Accord, I’d probably be pretty defensive, too.

  • avatar
    Jim H

    If a dealer truely wants extra cash above the MSRP, I tell them I’m not interested. That money isn’t going to technology, doesn’t help the actual company, and certainly doesn’t help customer-to-business relations. (at least not in my mind)

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Ronin — not kidding — he was blown away.

    Again, please remember, that for whatever reason Ford is under-reporting the power the GT500 puts out.

    It is closer to 530hp than 500hp.

    Fast.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    i wont buy a mustang cause they dont come with a sun roof or a moon roof or whatever they are called.

  • avatar
    Terry Parkhurst

    The late Mike Royko, famed columnist for a Chicago newpaper, once wrote a column that started out by stating what is obvious to most males I know: most everything men, especially young men, do, is to attract the opposite sex. Going further back in time, I can readily recall, when I was a young Navy enlisted man and the proud possesser of a soon to be “vintage” (but then just a 14 year old used) 1960 Austin-Healey 3000 MK1, I couldn’t get no satisfaction. But then, I took care of the house of a civil service guy who worked at the air base where I was stationed, and got to drive his son’s 5 year old ’69 Mustang Mach 1 fastback. Girls were talking to me at stop lights with words such as “Nice car!” Believe me, I am not making this up. Maybe Mustang corner like, well back in the day, like the tarted up Ford Falcons they were, and the brakes, were to put it as Borak might, “shit!” Nonetheless, the babe in small towns (such as where the aforementioned air base was) like them; and if you’re lucky, want to show you “their lady lumps” (as a pop song of the moment says). Is this fair? Shouldn’t someone who knows who Donald Healey was get attention (which the Healey never did, leastways, with me in it)? Maybe H.L. Mencken said it best, when he said, “Nobody ever lost money, underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

  • avatar
    1984

    Ronin317,

    You gotta be f’n kidding me… LOL!

    I bet the Acura TL-S really fast on the X-Box, eh?

  • avatar
    finger

    “And Ayrton Senna’s rep trumps Shelby’s. ”

    And who exactly is Ayrton Senna?

  • avatar
    finger

    I’ll take your word for it that the car lacks refinement and is terrible on bad roads.

    But I still would love to put the hammer down on it.

  • avatar
    Darren

    1984,

    My God, do you not know anything?? How out of the loop are you? There is currently no X- Box Game with an Acura TL-S in it. It would be sooooo rad if there was though….they could call the game Dork Race 3000 or something.

  • avatar
    CSJohnston

    FYI I just noticed that the color of the GT500’s blue stripe doesn’t match from the rear bumper to the trunk to the hood. (The trunk stripe is lighter colored.) In fact, the color doesn’t match on either side of the [plastic] logo on the trunk.

    That ain’t right.

    “Sigh” It is very frustrating when they can’t even colour match the same piece of poly.

    I am assuming the stripes all come off the same roll of decal materials?

    Oh well, maybe there’s a colour changing stripe out there so it can match the instrument panel!

    CJ

  • avatar

    You guys crack me up. In a good way. Thanks for all the comments, pro and con. It makes my life worth living.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Jerseydevil is even crazier than me

  • avatar
    haya_ku

    drove one the other day…don’t see how it’s any better, or even as good, as the 1993 notchback 5.0L I owned. Certainly doesn’t handle better. Maybe the worst car I’ve driven since the Daewoo Lanos.

  • avatar

    finger:

    Senna was F1 champ in 88, 90, 91 with McLaren-Honda.

  • avatar
    Tommyudo

    I have a serious problem with this car, and I think its a shame because I’d like to have another Mustang (I have a ’66 convertible and had a ’96 Cobra Mustang) My current daily driver is an ’01 M3 convertible. I understand that Ford can only (barely) afford to make one halo Mustang at a time. My problem isn’t with the price or the cheapish interior, my problem is with the overall balance of the car. I ‘d put my money where my mouth is if I could buy a Mustang that had a 400hp NA aluminum 5.0 liter, IRS, weighed 400 lbs less and had better weight distribution.

    Just my .$02,

    Tom

  • avatar

    Exactly… that I’d go for. But this unbalanced overweight pig, that isn’t even very fast and can’t turn or stop – forget it. It’d get too boring too quickly – especially for those of us who have had some of these in the past.

  • avatar
    GT500INFL

    I recently purchased a GT500 Shelby Convertible! It is an awesome car fast and powerful. I was on the Florida Turnpike going 100 MPH and the car was ready for alot more. I upgraded the exhausts with a Magnaflow Cat-Back system and purchased a chip upgrade from Superchip Inc. I guess these two options may have added another 70 +/- horsepower and the superchip unlimits the 155 mph speed limit. Although I do not believe I will be ever testing this limit.

    I bought the car as a third car that goes out on an occasional weekend cruise. She will spend most of her life in my garage and will never see rain. I will never take her on any long trips of say more than 25 or 30 miles, I have a Caddy Escalade for longer drives and comfort on the road!

    My use of the car will be to go to an occasional car show, drive around on a sunny Sunday afternoon and an occasional zero to 60 race from a traffic light with some wannabee in his Hemi Chrysler or some Cool Cat in his stock Corvette!!

    I’m all in the car, with the aftermarket upgrades at about $70K. The way I look at it, if I keep the car as planned for the next 25 years it is costing me less than $3k per year.
    And who knows what she will be worth.

    In comparison, for $70k I could have bought a brand new mid range Mercedes that looks like every other car on the road, definitely will not get a second look on Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Blvd. and will be virtually worthless in ten years! You do the math!!

  • avatar
    Mack

    I keep seeing people talk about the 500 being too much at $40000 but they are all selling for $15-20000 over sticker easy that’s from dealer level, they go for more privately. So buy your depreciating BMW or whatever this will only go up in value from its $40000 sticker. I see how quickly euro imports depreciate, it’s disgusting. These cars are hardly aiming to the southern midwest. I live in Canada, and my dealership had over 20 people leave deposits on GT500’s, not counting how many people wanted to leave them and we said too bad there is no way to get one, and we don’t even sell them, our sister dealership does. I mean they are sold where there is money, I mean there is 4 of only 200 Ford GT’s where I live. Ford specialty vehicles or just plain rare one’s are in high demand all over North America.

  • avatar
    Mack

    Oh yeah and tell me you’d feel confident in the safety of the mini cooper if it were hit by an 18wheeler.

  • avatar
    admin007

    Hi Robert!

    Not a Shelby GT 500 fan? The computer is programed not to let the driver get in a brand new
    Shelby GT 500 and put the pedal to the metal. That is what the wheel hop and stuttering is about. Oh maybe I’m wrong, how many miles did the Shelby have before you road tested it? Any way cheer up, sounds like you had a bum experience,
    you’ll get over it.

  • avatar
    Brizio67

    Ok, guys, I'll tell ol' Robert what. I'm from ol' Italy, and I am one of the very very few owners of a blue, white-striped GT500. I bought it from a very peculiar dealer, he only deals with overseas cars. The GT500 is amazing, only thing is, you gotta know how to drive it. Difficult handling? For sure. Rear end sliding if you put the pedal down in a curve? Yeah. So what, ol' Robert? 500-HP-cars owners are pretty used to that. The point is, you have to be a good driver. Ya think drivin' a 911Turbo or a F430 is that much easier just because you have better electronics? Nah. Just because they have a lower stance, larger tires and are 5 inches lower. (I put 20" wheels on my Shelby) And, of course, no need to tell they cost triple that amount. So, Robbie, if you grew up driving automatic beat-up cars along the interstate from your backyard to some Betty-Sue's farm, that sure didn't help you to become a skilled driver, so it' pretty likely a GT500 will give you that terrible feeling. You feel you can't control it? You're damn right, pal, YOU can't control it. I drive it everyday here, along smaller roads and, what's more, my girlfriend lives in tha mountains. Think I ever got a stability problem? Every curve sliding one side or the other, with smokin' tyres? No, man, if you actually CAN drive, that's no problem at all. You have to get slowly USED to deal with 500HP, 'course you don't give your 18-year-old-son a GT500 to race around with his buddies, but once you've made some million miles, it's no problem at all. The interior is pretty poor, I can agree with that, but I see the world divided in two: people who like, understand, know and get emotioned from cars, and people who buy Porsches, Ferraris, BMWs, because "they are safe". Cars are NOT safe, Robert, never. PEOPLE occasionally are. Bye everybody!!

  • avatar
    IndianScout101

    Having purchased one of these so called "MONSTERS",  The State of Maine isn't known for road maintenance of any kind, and even on our broken up roads, the car is very predictable at speeds well over 50. Super car for an affordable price, and American at that.

  • avatar

    Oh wow! This is my dream car! The Shelby Mustang. Anyone wish to trade my Mercury Cougar for your Shelby?

  • avatar

    I can’t believe Ford is continuing using a solid rear axle in the face of all the competition. 2008 is going to be the year that the Challenger and the Camaro go toe to toe with the Mustang. Instead of constant small variants why not FIX the car!

    I say this owning a 2007 Mustang convertible…

  • avatar
    znr

     this much RWHP and RWTQ in anything at such low RPM and instantly is going to be difficult to handle while on street tires. speed limiter? who cares. SCT tuners are cheap and gets rid of that w/i a few minutes. the bang for the buck argument is always valid so why cry about it? or did you want Ford to give away all of those parts (Recaros, etc) that you suggested for free?

  • avatar
    MATTHEW

    Guess what? Mustangs with the same “hopelessly flawed” solid rear axle are winning races. They took first and second at the CanAm 200 at Daytona.
    I know vette owners and the owners fancy european sports cars can stand it when mustangs blow their doors off. The cars and their owners are so unrefined.

    I know I had a new vette and it happened to me with my best girl the car.

    I drive the 08 shelby now. I ride a GSXR 1000. They both have insane power and thats the way I like it.

  • avatar
    MATTHEW

    I now know why the GT-500 has a solid rear axle.
    The Ford engineers very quitely built the 4v 5.4 engine that stock with a few bolt on mods can turn over 950RWHP without nitrous. They knew only a solid axle could handle that power.

    The car was built for drag racing. Already tuners are running low 9s in the 1/4. Forget curves, who cares?

    I have serious doubts if chevolet or chrysler will ever produce a vehicle that will touch the GT500. Sorry but the new camaro (if it is ever actually produced) and charger will be left a the starting line. Ford Mustang Rules the Road maybe forever.

  • avatar
    hacksawz

    Well I have heard alot of pros and cons of the GT500 and I went ahead and bought one. I have drag raced cars and motorcycles since 1980 and put hundreds of thousands of miles on our roads here in the USA. Before anyone bashes this car, one must drive one. It handles just fine on these roads. For about $2000. you can get absolutely awsome handling and add over 150 extra horse power to the wheels. As for looks, you may as well have Marilyn Monroe sitting next to you. I can safely say it is down right fast. You cannot buy a car like this for the money. I welcome fast cars but they just stay away.

  • avatar
    bradelaine13

    I cant agree more Hacksawz… You have to drive it to understand what it is before you can say anything.

    The Shelby GT500 is not a luxury liner. It does not have the interior that you would want to set up an apartment in or drive your 2 kids and your schnauzer in unless maybe you dug retro glimming plastic and wall to wall plush carpeting without the plush. But who cares? Trying to compare it on interior cosmetic merits is silly and will just lead to frustration as that’s not what its about. If it is a tidy leather and walnut trim you’re looking for move to England. If it’s a big heavy in your face American ball of fire that you can’t help but smile when you drive it, then this cars for you.

    Trying to compare the Shelby GT500 to flashy European and premium sports cars is missing the point. All have their merits and it is not an apples to apples comparison. If this were people it would be like comparing John Wayne to Elton John. The Shelby is all grit, cool and swagger. It’s not flashy, glitzy and wearing funky glasses or carbon fiber for that matter.

    The exterior has classic lines that throw you back to yesterday and make you feel like your driving a piece of automobile history in a modern engineering forum because I guess you are. The convertible is relatively comfortable, with a clean retro interior and a nice upgraded cloth top.

    Where it really shines is it can send a chill down your spine and put your heart in your mouth when you stomp on it and all hell breaks lose. You can feel its personality really jump up. The outrageous whine of the supercharger is like a scene out of Mad Max : “last of the V-8 interceptors” and the brutal pull of rare power can’t help but make you giggle like a kid if your not too busy wondering if you’re going to die or not. How many cars are out there that can invoke such personality and nostalgia so intensely for the price?

    For a relatively inexpensive bolt on and mod. I had mine tuned to 630hhp with 552hhp at the wheels and 550 torque. I am thinking that’s all I will probably need most days to keep up with my fellow commuters in their hybrids and Corollas. And it’s got a little extra for the weekend road warrior in me. Yeah it guzzles gas like a bad ass muscle car should but no more than other big blocks. It makes me think about how much fossil fuel I am burning more than any other car I have. I guess that helps make me environmentally aware at the same time. Therefore, it even has a socially redeeming trait ha ha.

    Even at the going prices you are getting a lot of engine,(and yeah you can throw an extra small kid or two in the back and even the dog on those days the wife needs you to behave like a responsible adult. You can’t do that with a corvette unless you have plenty of rope to strap them on the hood).

    There is plenty of power, tight enough suspension and over steer to give you that seat of the pants on edge thrill ride and if you really are looking at the plastic interior when you’re going 0-60 in 4.6+ seconds, its shinny enough to see the grin on your face in it which you can’t say for all that dark expensive trim on those fancy pants cars.

    The ride in the vert. is quite solid and although this thing should be on the “biggest loser” when it comes to its bloated weight, it’s still nimble enough and handles surprisingly well. Unless you a serious driving expert you won’t notice it in the ride on the live axle. Most of the time you won’t be doing over 60-70 in it anyway unless you make it a garage museum piece and it drives plenty modern enough at those speeds to be an everyday commuter by day and then a fire breathing dragon by Weekend. It feels far more stable and stiff body wise than previous stang vert. bodies. The Top flips down with ease after a quick flick of the two roof latches and sets nice enough behind the rear seats that it looks almost better without the boot over it.

    Again trying to rationalize this car is really not going to get you anywhere. There are going to be those that like John Wayne movies and some that love Elton John songs. And some that get both I guess. Its one of those that you love because it invokes something when you drive it. If you feel it and get it you will love it. If you’re trying to pull a Sigmund Freud analysis on it to justify it against other cars you will go crazy and should hold off buying. I personally love mine.

    This car says America all over it with a hint of nostalgia, a lot of cool and just plain gritty fun. All American Swagger – get some.


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