On A List Of Cars That Needed More Horsepower, The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Was At The Top

Hm, you might say. I can think of many more cars that “needed” more horsepower than the GT500, which last had 662 horsepower and will soon have something in the 700 range. The Toyota 86, the Subaru CrossTrek, come to mind. Nah. No car makes you need more power than the GT500.


The GT500 was the first car I ever drove that had, ostensibly, too much power. It was red like a pool of blood, and the tires were just about bald. I picked it up in Midtown Manhattan and drove it, as gently as I possibly could, through NYC traffic.

Every time I pushed in the clutch, I was convinced the car would lurch forward into the taxi ahead when I let it back out. This was 662 HP. I was used to about 100. I had no idea what would come of it.


But it didn’t take long for me to realize that if you didn’t lay deep into the throttle, the car’s supercharged V8 was perfectly docile and pootled around town like an Accord. I mean, maybe it was like an Accord that had a NASCAR soundtrack dubbed over it, but whatever.

Sure, the car did burnouts. It did burnouts everywhere. It did burnouts with traction control set to extremely on.


I’ve driven a handful of other high-horsepower cars since that GT500, including a new GT350R. None of them had such an active disdain for their own rear tires.

But the problem was that the way the GT500 drove made me hunger for even more power. It was so easy to handle, so not-scary when I only needed a car, not a powerful one. And when I did want to lay into it, it was so orderly and easy to anticipate, I only wanted more. Longer burnouts. Bigger clouds of smoke. Stronger pushes into the seats.


So there are many other cars that could use more power, but none of them make you feel like you need it more than a GT500. I can’t wait until the new one, even with more than 700 horses, still feels like it could do with a bit extra.

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Raphael Orlove

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.