By on May 2, 2017

2014 Ford Mustang GT500

Ever since the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 disappeared after 2014, taking the pony car horsepower crown with it, the other members of the Detroit Three were only too happy to relegate the Blue Oval to third place.

While the GT350 has performed yeoman’s duty satisfying Mustang fans — minus a cooling omission and some spectacular fires — buyers with a need for speed can now hit up a Chevrolet dealer for a 650-horsepower Camaro ZL1, or perhaps wander over to the Dodge retailer for a 707 hp Challenger Hellcat. You just know Ford wants to hit back.

According to new spy photos, Mustang aficionados could soon have their horsepower prayers answered.

The shots, taken in Detroit, show a camouflaged Mustang with heavy shrouding over the front and back ends, as well as lids clamped over the wheels. Even some of the sidewall markings have been scrubbed away. Clearly, Ford wants to keep a secret.

Interestingly, the man behind the wheel bears a resemblance to Dave Pericak, global director of Ford Performance.

While the camo-clad ‘Stang rolling through the Motor City gives away few secrets, its tires hold a clue. The photos reveal 20-inch rubber on the front wheels — 305/30/ZR20, to be exact. The existing GT350 and GT350R both carry 19-inch tires up front.

Unless this vehicle is an unusually early prototype for the next generation GT350, which was recently renewed for the 2018 model year with no drivetrain changes, all signs point to something hotter. Is the GT500 on its way? Already, many have claimed yes. A report last year cited an unnamed source who said the GT500 would return for 2018 with power “well over the 700 hp mark.”

The last generation GT500 made 662 hp, so a Hellcat-beating figure seems doable for Ford. Speculation has rounded down the possible engine choices to a twin-turbocharged 5.0-liter Coyote V8 or a supercharged 5.2-liter Voodoo V8.

Whatever Ford is cooking up, don’t expect it to top Dodge’s Challenger SRT Demon. The Demon, with its 840 hp (when running 100 octane), will only see 3,000 U.S.-bound units before single-year production wraps up. Ford likely has its eye on models with showroom longevity.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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14 Comments on “Spy Shots Reveal Ford Might be Doing Something About Its Third-Place Pony Car Power...”

  • avatar

    Ford doesn’t need to beat the Demon since that is a dragster. The GT350 has shifted Ford’s focus to track prowess. It does appear from the limited information I’ve come across, the GT500 is targeting the 650-horsepower Camaro ZL1. Even if they used the previous GT500’s 5.8 litre, they will have more HP than the Camaro. I’ve heard that deck height is an issue so we’ll most likely see a twin turbo voodoo. At least that is my best guesstimate.

    • 0 avatar

      The 5.8 fits fine if a bit tight ( I can’t think of the tuner right now but they have a T-5 5.4 and I asked how difficult the swap was and they said it wasn’t bad at all ) IIRC it’s an assembly line issue and the engineering doesn’t go smoothly in from the bottom.

      As far as I know the GT500 name has been shelved and the next big HP car will be called something else ( Cobra would be my guess ) also IMO Ford will probably do a supercharged V8 simply because it’s easier to package.

      If you look at all the aftermarket installs they either put them down low tp tje rear where the turbos are exposed to debris and the elements or up high and to the front which bakes everything in between the engine and radiator. The preferred spot would be as close to the exhaust ports as possible and there just isn’t room unless Ford where considering a “hot vee” configuration and reverse flow heads. People like to flash pics of the EB V8 race car but it’s just that, a racecar with zero production considerations

      My guess is a 5.2 or 5.0 SC V8 using a crossplane crank along with the newly adopted hybrid injection. Such an engine easily meets the power requirements with a ZL1 competitor with our having to reinvent the wheel ( although a hot vee twin turbo V8 would make a,killer statement ),

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        raph, installing a supercharger on the Coyote with a conventional crank would make more traditional engine sounds appropriate for “Cobra” branding. A domed hood would solve most of the supercharger packaging issues while also looking appropriate for “Cobra” branding.

        • 0 avatar

          Hmm, sounds familiar:

        • 0 avatar

          @ George there is plenty of space to put a supercharger in there in a size most manufacturers would use except maybe for an export model where the good is a pedestrian energy absorbing structure but certainly a power dome hood would required equipment since the Shelby, Cobra, Boss, at al have to look the part.

      • 0 avatar

        raph – thanks.

  • avatar

    The car is fast enough. Effort needs to be made toward keeping it out of the shop for repairs.

  • avatar

    The Big Three are playing one-upsmanship with horsepower ratings. A few more notches up the rung and they will match the Koenigsegg’s 1001 HP.
    The cold reality of driving on pavement is the existence of speed limits, rules of the road and trees. There’s nowhere that 700+ horsepower can be put to work for more than about four seconds.
    Numerous muscle cars have been wrapped around trees and telephone poles and slid into roadside ditches over the years, and it looks like that trend will be continuing. At least there are better suspensions, tires, traction controls and airbags now.

    • 0 avatar

      You aren’t far wrong, however, you failed to mention the two biggest issues with this sort of power and two-wheel drive: poor road surfaces and the limits of practical street tyres.

      My car (RWD, LSD, ~670hp, 550ft-lbs) can spin its wheels, even on good pavement, at just about any legal speed if you put your foot down. I’m running Michelin Pilot Supersports, which my research indicates is the best street tyre for all weather conditions. I don’t want to fit tyres that give better grip in the dry because then the car would be downright dangerous in the wet.

      Before going anywhere near full throttle I need to take a good look at the road surface ahead of me. If there are cracks, bumps, potholes, gravel, anything like that – best to back off. You don’t want to start to go sideways under full throttle. And I usually borrow my wife’s car if it’s raining; to drive my car safely on a wet road requires accelerator discipline that I’m not sure I have.

      If I ever buy a car with more horsepower it will definitely be AWD. Unfortunately, I just can’t afford the sort of cars which have power + AWD (big Audis, etc). I think they’re a lot safer than RWD, though.

    • 0 avatar

      I drive an MX-5 miata. I like to beat on it, and often take it to its 7200 rpm limit. It’s alot of fun doing it. With 600+ HP, there is no way that I could beat on it and

      a) not end up in jail
      b) end up dead

      So a 600+ HP car sounds ….


      • 0 avatar

        Are you a man-child?

        600+ HP/Tq is a good sane number in any 4,000+ lbs pony/sports, even with TC nanies OFF. I guarantee you a dumb 16 year old can get just as arrested or dead with just 300 HP/Tq. If you’re and adult, you can deal with the temptation and not have to run it ballz to the wall, anytime, anywhere.

        A normal production, 600+ HP Mustang GT, with brakes and suspension to deal with it would be perfect! A GT500 if it must be. But ideally under or around $45K with an unlimited production run, and deep rebates/incentives if you buy right.

        Then I don’t care if the others are up to 1,000 HP 1/4 mile bandits, very limited production and close to $100,000.

  • avatar

    Ford, let Dodge play the crazy HP and drag racing game. It’s not direct competition.

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