Can you get more all-American than a red-white-and-blue trio of Mustang Shelby GT500s? [credit: Jonathan Gitlin ]
LAS VEGAS—The Ford Motor Company made headlines earlier this year with the news that it's done with cars, at least here in the United States. Mostly. The Fiesta and Focus and Fusion might have all gone to the great parking lot in the sky, but one car nameplate remains on the Blue Oval's roster—the Mustang. It's been an icon for the company ever since the first Mustang rolled off the production line in 1964.
The Mustang has such cachet that Ford's first long-range battery-electric car will wear pony car styling cues. But we'll have to wait until next month to learn more about the Mach-E, with even longer to go until we get to drive it. Today's Mustang is the polar opposite of that car. It's not electric, it's not a crossover, and while you could drive it every day on the street, it's really designed with the race track in mind. It is the uber-stang. It is the Mustang Shelby GT500.
The name comes from Carroll Shelby, a Le Mans-winning driver who turned his hand to vehicle development after a heart condition put an end to his racing days. Shelby famously dropped a Ford V8 into AC's lithe little Ace coupe, creating the AC Cobra, and he was the man Ford turned to when it wanted to make the Mustang go as fast as it looked. Back in the '60s, you could buy two different flavors of Shelby Mustang; the GT350, and the GT500. The former was meant for circuit racers, with lightweight parts, uprated suspension, and a more powerful engine. Meanwhile, the GT500 was developed with the drag strip in mind, with a massive 7.0L V8 under the hood.