When the first Shelby GT500 hit the streets, the accolades rightfully flowed – it was a substantial bang for the buck. It was fast, it looked tough and it had that marvelous supercharger whine. The thing was, unless you were oblivious to danger or a trained professional driver, the GT500 was out to kill you. It was a white-knuckle automobile under dry conditions and downright murderous in inclement weather. This was certainly part of the draw, that unapologetic, swaggering badassery, but even for our irrational inner speed freak, it was too much at times.
With the 2010 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, the blue oval's SVT boys are aiming to bring you more of that swaggering badassery with less of the terror and with a modicum of actual comfort. With the new hardware, Ford took lessons learned with the Shelby GT500KR and adapted them to the new GT500. Power is up to a whopping 540 HP and 510 lb-ft of torque as a result of tuning and air flow improvement. With 30 lb-ft more on hand, that power is routed through a re-geared twin disc clutch six speed manual to a new 3.55 rear gear. Ford will only commit to a "significant improvement in performance" and an electronically limited top speed of 155 MPH. Aftermarket tuners, you hear that? Get to work.
The suspension tuning gets the big boy treatment with new dampers, springs, and anti-roll bars. Though still using a solid axle, Ford claims road composure, ride and handling are much improved over the outgoing model. We'd be happy if all they did was upgrade the tuning from "kidney pounding, expansion joint skipping " to "stiff but composed." Brakes remain four piston Brembos but the stability control system gets a new sport mode in addition to on and off; Sport being tuned to let you have a lot more fun but ultimately protects you from yourself.
Inside and out, the operative words at SVT for 2010 were quality and refinement. The new Shelby shares the styling changes with its lesser Mustang cousins, but upgrades abound.
Outside the new GT500 uses a different headlight cluster (HID optional) to maintain a more aggressive look set in a deeper front fascia and larger grille opening which are styling carryovers tweaked for the new car. The signature Cobra logo shifts sides in order to accommodate a cold air intake routed directly into the grille. At the rear the new spoiler is topped with a functional Gurney flap and there's a new rear diffuser down below. The result is a shift in the center of pressure towards the front for a more stable ride at speed. Both coupe and convertible get new wheels, 18's on the convertible, and 19's on the coupe, each shod in 255 mm wide Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires. Expect paint schemes to range from mild to wild, as we've seen one dubbed "Superman" which puts bright red racing stripes over light blue paint, the effect is both obnoxious and iconic.
Ford addressed customer complaints of an interior not unique enough over the standard 'Stang with a GT500 only trim. The perforated metal dash insert takes inspiration from under hood heat shields while the leather seats get sewn-in racing stripes to match the striped on the car, whatever color you pick. Satin trim replaces chrome throughout and the short throw shifter is topped off with beefy cue ball sporting molded-in racing stripes. Key points were augmented with sound deadening while the exhaust note is tuned for better feedback, despite that, the car weights in at only 20 lbs more than the outgoing model. In all it's a much nicer work environment and we can't wait until we replace that silly "new car smell" with "burnt rubber."
The 2010 Ford Mustang GT500 will be making its worldwide debut at the 2009 <a href="http://jalopnik.com/tag/detroit-auto-show/"Detroit Auto Show in a few days, and it'll be available in Ford dealers spring 2009. Read the full press release below:
2010 FORD SHELBY GT500 PACKS MORE POWERFUL PUNCH
• Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT) delivers a more powerful 2010 Shelby GT500 increased
to 540 horsepower, torque increased to 510 foot-pounds, downforce increased and drag
• New gearbox enhancements, plus a standard 3.55:1 rear axle ratio, mean the 2010 Shelby
GT500 will deliver improved acceleration performance, while providing better highway fuel
• Aggressive new exterior design features new functional details, such as the hood extractor to
remove heat from the engine and "Gurney Flap" spoiler to tune rear downforce; world-class
materials and craftsmanship create the most unique GT500 interior yet
• 2010 Shelby GT500 will be in dealer showrooms in spring
DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 1, 2009 – The new 2010 Shelby GT500 delivers the most power and
refinement ever for a Ford SVT-tuned performance Mustang – and a few surprises, too.
"The 2010 Shelby GT500 demonstrates Ford's continuing commitment to high-performance
vehicles," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. "In
addition to the numerous performance and refinement improvements inside and out, the 2010
Shelby GT500 is an estimated 2 miles per gallon more fuel efficient on the highway."
"We're proud of the many of the enhancements that were developed jointly by the Ford and
Shelby Automobiles team last year that we've now incorporated into the new 2010 Shelby
GT500," said Carroll Shelby, founder of Shelby Automobiles. "Building on what we learned to
create the Shelby GT500KR, this new car offers a great combination of power, handling and
braking. It is truly a special car that is a great deal of fun to drive."
Ford's Special Vehicle Team used the gains made on the 40th anniversary edition Shelby GT500KR "King of the Road" Mustangs as the performance starting point and built from there. The design team, with a nod to the original Shelby Cobras from the 1960s, takes those design cues even further with nuanced improvements in both the coupe and convertible, each of which boasts a more-refined interior.
"Working together on the KR, the Ford and Shelby teams developed new systems to continually
improve the iconic Mustang," stated Amy Boylan, president of Shelby Automobiles. "Those
lessons learned are incorporated into the 2010 Shelby GT500. This approach will help maintain
Mustang's leadership position at the front of the pack and make the ownership experience even
"The muscle car segment is becoming even more competitive," said Jamal Hameedi, chief
nameplate engineer for SVT. "We need to uphold the Mustang badge with honor, the Shelby
badge with honor and most importantly the Ford badge with honor. The 2010 GT500 is the car
that will do all of that."
More horsepower, more refinement, more functionality
The combination of added horsepower, refinement and functionality makes the 2010 Shelby
GT500 a unique high-performance car. The 2010 Shelby GT500 delivers more horsepower and
more torque than the outgoing model, thanks in part to advancements pioneered on the
The 2010 Shelby GT500 is powered by a supercharged and intercooled 5.4-liter dual overhead
cam V-8 engine expected to produce 540 horsepower and 510 foot-pounds of torque. The
redline is 6,250 rpm. The car's aluminum power dome hood not only adds to the Shelby's
appearance, it helps cool the engine through a hood extractor.
The Shelby's open-element air induction system features a conical air filter instead of a flat-
panel closed system to reduce air restriction. This approach allows more air to be pumped
through the engine, producing more power and increasing the engine's efficiency.
A cold-air intake feeds the coolest air possible directly into the air box, helping further increase
horsepower. The intake necessitated moving the Cobra snake badge to the other side of the grille
to enable maximum airflow.
The twin-disc clutch on the six-speed manual transmission has been significantly upgraded,
improving drivability and NVH. The discs on the 2010 Shelby GT500 are larger – 250 mm in
diameter compared with 215 mm in diameter on the outgoing model – and made of copper and
fiberglass to make them more robust.
A unique component of the twin-disc system is the control of the intermediate disc. Rather than
floating, it instead has six straps that control the engagement of the clutch, improving drivability.
The 2010 Shelby GT500 offers customers improved straight-line acceleration, plus fuel savings
when cruising on the highway in the top gears. Gears 1-4 remain the same, but fifth gear
changes from .80 to .74 while sixth gear goes from .63 to .50, meaning that the 2010 Shelby
GT500 will turn lower engine RPMs in those gears and deliver improved fuel efficiency. The
new final drive ratio, from 3.31 to 3.55, enables the improved acceleration in lower gears while
complementing the revised fifth and sixth gear ratios.
The Shelby's distinct sounds will be apparent as always, though with new refinements, thanks to
the work of the Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) team. A patented resonator placed
between the air filter and engine throttle body helps keep unwanted noise in check.
"You still hear the supercharger but not so that it's intrusive," said Kerry Baldori, chief
functional engineer for SVT. "It's the same with the exhaust. You want people to know you're
driving something special, but you don't want an exhaust note that overpowers the whole
"We spent a lot of time getting the right sound quality out of the exhaust so you get that nice,
crisp Shelby sound outside and a pleasant sound inside the cabin. It's a nice balance; one isn't
overpowering the other."
Driving dynamics also are improved, thanks to SVT's signature chassis tuning as well as new
19-inch Goodyear F1 Supercar tires and forged aluminum wheels on the 2010 Shelby GT500
coupe and 18s on the convertible.
Spring and dampers have been optimized for better roll control, giving customers more
confidence when braking, accelerating or turning. The new chassis tuning takes its philosophy
from the KR program, with a greater emphasis placed on primary body control.
The team also stiffened the steering shaft.
"All our changes were about making the car to respond as fast and as predictable as possible,"
Hameedi said. "The 2010 Shelby GT500 conveys an athletic, confident feel. The shifter, clutch
pedal, brake-pedal efforts and overall steering efforts are easier now. We wanted to make sure
we had a nice, crisp short-throw shifter that was easy to go from gear to gear."
The Goodyear F1 Supercar 19-inch tires have been upgraded, too. SVT members developed a
"recipe" for the attributes and characteristics they wanted in the tire, which Goodyear's team of
engineers, designers and manufacturers brought to life. The result is better grip, better handling
and better NVH properties, leading to a better customer experience.
The wheels themselves complement the high-performance nature of the 2010 Shelby GT500.
The 19-inch wheels are forged aluminum wheels milled on both sides. The extra machining
process creates "blade" spokes with very thin, yet strong, cross-sections. The spokes have a
specific curve from the rim to the hub, not only for strength, but also to accentuate the offset and
width of the tires.
The 2010 Shelby GT500 features AdvanceTrac, Ford's stability control system with several
options for performance. The default "on" mode accommodates every-day driving, and a Sport
mode delivers for those wanting to put the Shelby GT500 through its paces on the track. The
system also can be turned completely off, although the anti-lock brake system and other active
safety systems remain in place. Standard safety equipment includes: dual stage front air bags,
side-impact air bags and Ford's Personal Safety System.
Numerous aerodynamic upgrades, including a redesigned splitter, were made to the front end of
the 2010 Shelby GT500.
"We worked hard to get as much downforce with as little drag as possible," Baldori said. "We
worked to seal off the air that comes in the front so it can't go underneath the car. We spent a lot
time sealing components such as the radiator and intercoolor to get rid of all the leak paths.
"The result of this evolution of aerodynamics is we've increased downforce, reduced drag and
improved the overall efficiency of the 2010 Shelby GT500."
Directing the air so it's used most efficiently was a painstaking process that ultimately will be
rewarding to customers. The design of the front fascia and the car's "flush" hood helps focus air
flow. The top grille focuses air into the radiator, with a rubber flap inside the engine
compartment helping to seal the system. The lower grille helps cool the intercooler. SVT
engineers also went as far to block off specific diamonds in the front of the 2010 Shelby
GT500's distinctive grille to help maintain the correct cooling and aerodynamic balance.
A meaner, reskinned snake ready to take to the streets
The 2010 Shelby GT500 is the most-robust design and most-distinctive model of the new 2010
Mustang lineup. "The design we chose was a ‘flush' hood where the fascia defines the entire
front of the vehicle," Hameedi said. "That's very hard to execute from an engineering
standpoint, but it really sets the Shelby off as very, very different from the base Mustang."
"This epitomizes the ultimate Mustang," added George Saridakis, Exterior Design manager of
the Mustang and Shelby GT500. "It's all about power and expressing power."
Saridakis said his team took a cue from the Shelby AC Cobra 427 with respect to the front
grilles, which are gaping and appear ready to swallow the road.
Another obvious difference for the Shelby is the addition of racing stripes, which also will now
be available on the convertible. "Racing stripes made their mark on 1960s-era Ford performance
vehicles," Hameedi notes. "That's something we feel is a key part of the Shelby performance
DNA – maybe more so than some of our competition."
Rounding out the Shelby's exterior modifications are the unique signature coiled Cobra badges
on the front grille and front fenders, a more aggressive front splitter and lower-drag rear spoiler,
which added to improved aerodynamic features, round out the exterior modifications. "We
wanted the spoiler raked back aggressively to minimize drag, but we also have an integrated
Gurney Flap that provides the downforce," Saridakis said.
What's inside counts with the 2010 Shelby GT500
The base 2010 Mustang received a powerful new interior design. For the GT500, the interior
design team members challenged themselves to raise the bar even higher to create the ultimate
Shelby Mustang interior.
Using genuine materials such as real leather in all seats, real aluminum on the instrument panel
and Alcantara inserts on the seats and steering wheel gave the appearance a precisely crafted,
jewel-like yet functional feel. "You'll definitely know you're in a Shelby," said Douglas Gaffka,
Chief Designer, Shelby GT500.
The genuine aluminum finish panels have a unique-to-GT500 three-dimensional dimpled texture
pattern inspired by racing clutch plates, braided hoses and cross-drilled racing brake rotors. The
pattern has been painstakingly tuned to compensate for the compound curvature of the
instrument panels. In addition, the "GT500" logo has been discretely engraved into the
aluminum in front of the passenger as a nod to classic Shelby Mustangs of the 1960s.
This unique aluminum finish panel is fully encapsulated by an exquisite soft seamless TPO
(Thermoplastic Olefin) instrument panel with a shape that resonates with Mustang's powerful
heritage. The center stack flows into the console and features a sub-flush shifter trim ring, flush
cup holder door and lockable console stowage featuring the word "SHELBY" engraved in its
Satin Liquid Chrome release button.
All 2010 Mustangs and Shelbys feature bright 360-degree rings surrounding the gauge cluster,
uninterrupted by the steering column. These rings will come in chrome for the Mustang and a
Satin Liquid Chrome finish for the GT500. This finish is featured throughout the interior. An
intricate cobra is etched into the center of the aluminum steering wheel badge. The Shelby
Cobra appears at startup on the navigation screen, and the familiar red "SVT" logo utilizes new
ambient lighting to illuminate the door scuffplate.
"When customers drive this car, they're not only going to be impressed by the performance and
the Shelby heritage, but they're going to see all these carefully designed details and know
they've bought a well-crafted car," Saridakis said.
Even the classic white shift knob – an icon of Shelby Mustang DNA from years past – received
special attention. First, it had to be the traditional white. It also had to be specific to the Shelby.
The answer was to combine the racing-stripes theme with the traditional "H" pattern found on
shifters to create a one-of-a-kind knob. Like the exterior, the racing stripes wrap from end to
end, encircling the knob.
Wide suite of standard features on the 2010 Shelby GT500
The 2010 Shelby GT500 includes several Ford innovations and industry-exclusive standard
• SYNC: The voice-activated hands-free in-car communication and entertainment system
developed by Ford and Microsoft. The system fully integrates most Bluetooth-enabled
mobile phones and digital media players, providing customers hands-free cell phone and
music selection capabilities – plus new 911 Assist and Vehicle Health Report provided with
no monthly fees.
o 911 Assist: When a phone is properly paired, turned on and connected to SYNC, the
system is ready to assist in placing a call directly to a local 911 emergency operator in the
event of an air bag-deploying accident. The key advantage of SYNC 911 Assist is speed,
as calls are placed directly to local 911 operators.
o Vehicle Health Report (VHR): SYNC gathers relevant information from the major
vehicle control modules and packages diagnostic data into a usable format in a matter of
minutes. That data packet is sent to Ford via an 800-number automatically dialed using
the customer's paired and operable mobile phone.
• Ambient Lighting System with MyColor™ allows drivers to customize the interior lighting
of the vehicle to suit their mood. The enhanced MyColor system features seven base colors –
ice blue, purple, blue, orange, red, white and green. Customers also can create 125 custom
colors by mixing the red-green-blue palette.
• Voice-Activated Navigation with SIRIUS Travel Link™ is an industry-leading technology
that will provide users with a unique, information-rich in-car experience. The suite of data
services includes up-to-the-minute real-time traffic data with accident and incident
information for 78 markets, coast-to-coast weather data including current conditions and
five-day forecasts and fuel price information for more than 120,000 gas stations. SIRIUS
Travel Link also offers sports scores and schedules and a listing of more than 4,500 movie
theaters with movie times, theater addresses, movie synopses and more.
This combination of outstanding performance coupled with a fresh, exciting, well-crafted interior
intensely focused on improving the entire experience will make the 2010 Shelby GT500 even
more sought after, and a fitting addition to a long and proud history.
The 2010 Shelby GT500 will be in dealer showrooms in spring. The cars will be built at the
Auto Alliance International Plant in Flat Rock, Mich.