The Truth About Cars » 2013 ford shelby gt500 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 16 Jul 2014 11:00:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 2013 ford shelby gt500 Capsule Review: 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Tue, 30 Oct 2012 12:00:39 +0000

Jackie is the first girl to fawn over the Shelby GT500 once it’s in my hands. Hadn’t expected that; make no mistake, it is a dude magnet without exception and the double-X-chromosome crowd usually goes for something cuter. Jackie appears to be the exception, so far. She’ll tell you she’s a bit of a tomboy. She likes cars, long boarding, and gangsta rap. Tonight, she’s traded her usual, Ralph Lauren-catalog attire (not-so-snug pants, a button up men’s dress shirt) for a dress that can only be described as one yard of Tensor Bandage that somehow made its way out of the factory with a muted floral print.

I’m hardly complaining, though it’s clear that she’s not used to wearing this kind of garment. I tell myself that it’s all because of my strong jawline, cleft chin and thick, flowing locks, but that’s a yarn of self-deception long enough to knit Jackie a twin to the sweater I’m glad she left at home.

It’s the car.

Jackie is comfortable looking at brake calipers and superchargers, but the dress is fighting her attempts to check out the machinery tonight. “Turn around,” she tells me, “I don’t want you to see me adjusting my underwear”.

“That dress is ridiculous.” I’m trying really hard to do the gentlemanly thing and focus on the car.

A pause. I’m facing away from her, but I can imagine her eyes running along the length of the racing stripes that trace the Shelby’s sillhouette. The car isn’t running, but I can hear the crackling and pinging of the cooling drivetrain against the humid, lifeless air of the August night.

“Not as ridiculous as the car,” she replies. “How fast did you say it is?”

Five point eight liters. Six hundred and sixty-two horsepower. There’s not much out there that’s more powerful than the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500. The Lamborghini Aventador. The Ferrari FF. Maybe one or two megabuck hypercars that will be gobbled up by our BRIC-nation overlords.

Jackie and I will not go much faster tonight than we just did. A quick blast into “lose your license” territory occurs in 3rd gear at around 3000 RPM – there is still so much power left on the table, I feel…impotent. “That did not feel like [exact speed redacted],” Jackie says, with the sort of contempt usually reserved for a prom night that’s come to a premature conclusion.

In 2012, where “green” is our secular religion, “carbon emissions” are a mortal sin and we worship at the altar of sustainability while flagellating ourselves about everything from our consumption habits to our role in the world, it truly is a miracle, in the most theistic sense of the word, that this car exists. A supercharged V8, a 6-speed gearbox, a 200 mph top speed, 10 mpg in town and an aesthetic so jingoistic it would make even the most ardent soaring-eagles-America-firster wonder if it needs toning down. If President Obama is forever identified with the Chevrolet Volt, then this car is Pat Buchanan’s likely chariot, a swift exit from the Nixon Administration into the severe right wing with all cylinders firing seven thousand times a minute. And yet, somehow, somewhere at Ford World Headquarters, someone approved this for production.

And still, it is thoroughly modern. A trip to Mosport, 60 miles away on the freeway, in 6th gear at 80 mph with the A/C blasting, returned 25 mpg. I played my music through my iPod via the dreadful touch-screen SYNC system (which I am unapologetic in declaring it to be the bastard spawn of Satan. It is awful, always has been, always will be, and it never, ever works for me). The 2013 model is an enormous improvement over the last one I drove, a 2011 that made “only” 550 horsepower. Despite being down over 100 horsepower over the 2013 GT500, that car was an absolute bastard to drive. As I wrote back in 2010

The new car leaves it in the dust. The 2013 Shelby doesn’t pop its booty sideways like the old car did. The new tires and improved traction control see to that. It just gallops forward while the exhaust bellows like a scalded silverback gorilla. There’s not even any audible supercharger noise. But what the hell am I supposed to do with it? Giving me the keys to this car is like Ford asking me to come shoot tin cans in their back yard, with the stipulation that I can only use a Stinger missle to knock them down. It is so powerful in any gear that anyone that needs to be passed is just vaporized by the omnipotent V8.

And this is ultimately what makes the Shelby GT500 so compelling, especially to “the generation that doesn’t care about cars”. The performance is astounding but irrelevant. The styling can be had on a $22,000 Mustang V6. A better drive can arguably be had with a Boss 302. But nowhere else can you give such a middle finger to the zeitgiest. It doesn’t want to check in via Foursquare at the Mexican-Korean fusion place. It doesn’t care about Car Free Sundays, or dubstep music or the newest celebrity chef. Exploding away from a stop light, hanging out the window, with a cigarette between our lips, without fear of the cops, or fear of another day of indentured servitude unpaid internships, or having to compose a response to the latest text message from our significant other. Morals are relative, the middle class is shrinking, God is dead, our lives are lived in public, and a small part of us yearns for an era we never knew, where marriage, 2.5 kids, and a mortgage was not only attainable, but attained early.  We’ve never had more freedom or opportunities, but we still find ourselves yearning for a past era, where things weren’t as fluid or permissive; it’s why we throw “Mad Men” themed dress-up parties where the guys get a free pass to make misogynistic remarks, pinch the girls’ rears and watch them giggle with guilty glee as they hand out baked treats and push feminism into the attics of their psyche.

The orgiastic past may recede before us, but this car – our one link to that bygone epoch – keeps getting better and better.

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Life With Shelby Part One: A Thousand Street Miles And A Meeting Of The Siblings Thu, 20 Sep 2012 16:58:40 +0000

How similar is a man to his brother? Their parents flipped the chromosonal coin twenty-five thousand times with each. Perhaps they are entirely different, individuals in perfect reversal. Perhaps they are identical twins. But it’s rarely that simple. Imagine two brothers, similar and different. One is balanced, light, controlled; the other is brutish, temperamental, dramatic. One is well-liked everywhere he goes; the other is either despised or adored. Yet they are both capable of callous viciousness, careless love, arrogant intellect, base stupidity. It would be a rare woman who would want them both.

We’re obviously talking about the 2013 Boss 302 and Shelby GT500, right? As fate would have it, I happened to have the Shelby for a week. In the course of that week I drove it over a thousand miles on gnarled back roads and ruler-straight Midwestern freeways, took it to five different states, and hammered it to one hundred and sixty-eight miles per hour on the back straight of Virginia International Raceway. I would have loved to have compared it to the Camaro ZL1, but I’ll need to do a few more Sonic advertorials before I get GM loaner cars here in the States. Instead, I compared the big Shelby to the only car that its purchasers are likely to genuinely consider. Brother Boss, step forward.

I found Instagram fancier and former professional bluesman Bark M. relaxing with his son at his rather oversized Kentucky home. “You interested in checking out the Shelby?” I inquired, already knowing the answer. We rolled down Route 1958 near Winchester in tandem, two middle-aged guys laughing their heads off, cranking the music, nodding at the open-mouthed Fox Mustang and F-150 drivers rolling the other way. At any speed up to about a hundred miles per hour, the GT500 can smoke the rear tires on the roll, the force-fed 5.8-liter making instant and Herculean power. The Boss has a lighter nose and a lesser twist, but it snarls viciously through its side-bypass exhaust.

It’s interesting how different these two brothers are. There’s a twenty-thousand-dollar gap between Bark’s Recaros-and-Torsen Boss and my Performance-Pack-and-Track-Package Shelby, and it’s reflected in various little ways, from the Shelby’s leather trim to the no-frills stereo fitted in the 302. When we come to a halt, Bark immediately demands to look at the Shelby’s suspension. “Not adjustable,” he sneers.

“It is, with a button on the dashboard.” His expression is contemptuous.

“Hope one of those two settings is right, then.” Nor does the GT500 have the massive strut tower brace fitted to the Boss. This is probably because the 5.8-liter block is visibly taller and deeper. It looks squeezed into the engine compartment where the five-liter simply fits.

I know Ford’s M3-mauling ponycar pretty well, but Bark has no such Shelby experience. I toss him the keys and watch him disappear down a two-lane, back wheels spinning, the back of the car hanging almost into the ditch. He’s an autocrosser, I’m a road racer, but we’re both part of what NASA’s director of competition, John Lindsey, once called “the brotherhood of speed” in an email to me. Full disclosure: the occasion on the email was my putting a fellow “brother of speed” on a LifeFlight. Oh well.

Bark returns half an hour later. I’d spent the time helping his five-year-old son photograph bugs in the church garden. Bark’s son is quiet in his concentration, while mine is outgoing and easily distracted. I remember Bark being a lot like my son as a child; my mother says I was a lot like his son. Perhaps the gods have decided to make us raise each other.

And now we’ll turn this review over to Bark for a moment to get his impressions:

When first sitting in the GT500, everything seemed familiar. A couple of slight differences-I actually prefer the all alcantara steering wheel on the 302 as opposed to the half leather/half alcantara on the GT500. Seems like that would make the dreaded shuffle steering on an autocross course really challenging. The white shift knob on the GT500 sticks out a little too much for me-I prefer the 8 ball look of the knob on the 302.

Now, when it comes to driving-it’s really an either/or type of situation. If you want to go very, very fast in a straight line in a very, very composed fashion, the Shelby is the pick. The whine of the supercharger is constant, making a very smooth torque curve and a seamless, disturbingly quick jaunt to triple digits. Steering with the throttle is a dicey proposition. The Goodyears are a little grippier than the Pirellis on the Boss, but they aren’t as predictable.

The Boss does everything a little more slowly than the Shelby, but it’s more exciting. The transmission isn’t as smooth, but that seems to make each shift a little more thrilling. The rear end is predictable and willing to dance in comparison to the Shelby. It’s the more “raw” of the two cars-you get a lot more feedback from the Boss, and it seems more amenable to having a two-way discussion.

Surprisingly, the Shelby seems to be more refined in its delivery of power. I wonder if that has something to do with the target audience of the cars? The Shelby seems like it would be quite at home being piloted by a lead-footed man in his fifties, while the Boss seems more like the Gen X car.

I don’t disagree with his conclusions, although I prefer the Tremec transmission in the Shelby. I have a suspicion that it will last longer. In fairness, I’ve never had a missed shift with either on-track. In concession to my loathsome taste in food, Bark agrees to eat at McDonald’s with me despite the likely effect on his P90X workouts. We spend half an hour answering questions about the cars, and then it’s time for me to head to VIR.

My partner in crime, the infamous Vodka McBigBra, has always wanted to see the “Natural Bridge” in Kentucky, so I plot a 350-mile route down the mountain two-lanes and we set off. The two-mile hike to the top of the rather unique rock formation is a bit tiring, but amazingly enough in this liability-conscious era we are permitted to walk along the top. An attractive, predictably-tattooed couple is attempting to take a self-shot with the girl’s iPhone. “Let me take the photo for you,” I offer.

“Nope,” she replies, “we’re trying to do this the reverse way. For once,” she snarls at the boy, and I can’t repress the chuckle.

“My advice,” I tell him, “is to cancel your XBox Live account.” Youth is wasted on the young.

As Kentucky Route 80 enters Hazard County, (yes! that Hazard County!) it becomes a wide two-lane with long stretches up the mountains and lumbering trucks dragging clumps of frustrated cars in their wake. I squeeze the steering wheel three times as I always do in the pace lap. Time to grab third and light the fire beneath this intercontinental ballistic Mustang. Across the dotted line and there’s one car gone already, then twothreefour — there’s a shape coming my way — fivesix – I can now clearly identify the oncoming car as a Camry — seveneight — yes, it’s a black-grilled SE — ninetentruck! I step off the throttle as we pass the Freightliner’s cab and the Shelby sonic-boom rattles his doorhandle. The Camry doesn’t even bother to honk. He’d been prepared to be angry but the GT500 eats traffic like a B-58 Hustler on the afterburners and I’d never really been in his way.

We do it again. And again. And again. Finally, as we blast up what looks like a six percent grade, someone takes offense. He’s at the head of the line in a boosted Cummins diesel Ram and I see his vertical cab pipes blast a twin Mount St. Helens of smoke as he spots the Shelby coming in the mirror. He’s full-throttle, leaping from the car behind like a drag racer. I know from experience that some of these tuned-up trucks can be deceptively fast. Some of them run in the elevens, and we still have three or four cars to get past. He catches my eye in the mirror and smiles. I smile too. The programmable “SVT” light on the dashboard flashes, and while I still have his eye I reach down… Fourth! There’s a mild squeak — my God, I just chirped fourth — and I step off the throttle as we blast by.

Boom bap, bitch.

I look in the rear view. The man in the Cummins has his hand out the window and is showing me a finger. Not the finger. His thumb, straight up. Fairly beaten, firmly impressed. How could he not be? This is probably the most powerful American production car in history. It isn’t a toy, as we will see in Part Two. It requires respect and a gentle hand. Still, it isn’t a Hemi Dart or anything like that. It cruises windows-up at 72mph on the freeway, delivers twenty miles per gallon, chills the cabin, plays Sade’s “Love Deluxe” with appropriate fidelity, doesn’t cook the luggage in the mail-slot trunk, rides acceptably on bad pavement, looks spectacular, costs less than a loaded German mid-size sedan, will be sought-after in the used market as long as there’s a gallon of gasoline to be had anywhere. It reaches for the road ahead with incandescent aggression and remains stable long after the fenceposts have blurred into invisibility.

Of course, it will all fall apart at the racetrack. Or will it?

Picture courtesy Julie Hyde. Picture courtesy Julie Hyde. Picture courtesy Julie Hyde. Picture courtesy Julie Hyde. Picture courtesy Julie Hyde. IPicture courtesy Julie Hyde. Picture courtesy Julie Hyde. IMG_9159 (Medium) IMG_9160 (Medium) Picture courtesy Julie Hyde. Picture courtesy Julie Hyde. "She suggested a threesome? Well," I told him, "I haven't seen you naked since you were six years old and I'm not inclined to break that streak." Picture courtesy of the author. Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 67
2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible Good For “Only” 155 MPH: 2012 Chicago Auto Show Wed, 08 Feb 2012 15:45:47 +0000

Hang on to your hairplugs. The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 has the same 650 horsepower supercharged 5.8L V8 making 600 lb-ft of torque. But unlike the 200 mph coupe, the ‘vert will only top out at 155 mph. The vert does get 6-piston Brembo brakes, a carbon fiber driveshaft, an upgraded clutch, electronically adjustable Bilstein shocks and a Motley Crue Greatest Hits CD in the Shaker audio system.

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