2007 Ford Mustang and Shelby GT500 and Shelby GT

GT models were available with two new packages, the GT California Special edition (shown here) and the GT appearance package. See more pictures of the 2007 Ford Mustang, Shelby GT500, & the Shelby GT.

The highlight of the '07 model year for the 2007 Ford Mustang was the Shelby GT500, the most powerful production Mustang ever. This car actually went on sale in early 2006, but technically was an '07 model.

The signature addition for the traditional '07 model year was the Shelby GT, basically a "civilian" version of the Hertz-rental-only 2006 Ford Shelby GT-H. Even the Shelby GT, however, didn't hue to the customary autumn model-year kick-off. Its production began in December 2006. So three Mustangs wore some form of Shelby badging at the same time. Ford was certainly getting its promotional dollars' worth out of 'ol Shel.

But what of mainstream '07s? Well, GT models were available with two new packages, the GT California Special edition and the GT appearance package.The Mustang GT California Special recalled a popular 1960s treatment and was available on GT Premium models. It added $1895 to the $26,805 coupe or $31,630 convertible. The GT/CS included 18-inch wheels, body side scoops, unique tape stripes, rolled bright exhaust tips, a chin spoiler 1.5 inches lower than the GT's, and unique front and rear fascias. Inside, black leather seats were trimmed with "Cal Special" contrasting Dove or Parchment leather inserts.The GT appearance package cost $245 and featured rolled exhaust tips, an engine cover with a Pony emblem, and a decorative hood scoop. It could be combined with the GT/SC equipment. For all models, Grabber Orange was a new color, an auxiliary audio input jack was standard, satellite radio was a new option, and a new comfort package featured heated front seats. A navigation system was a first-time feature planned for late in the model year.

The 2007 Shelby Cobra GT500 was developed by SVT to replace the Cobra, and previewed with an undisguised coupe "concept" in April 2005. It was an unabashed throwback to the rip-roaring days of Carroll Shelby's Mustang GTs, only with far more actual power and speed than the best of that legendary breed possessed.Ol' Shel even helped SVT keep the new GT500 true to his principles, having resumed his relationship with Dearborn a few years before as an advisor on the midengine Ford GT supercar. Read about his hot new baby on the next page.Want to find out even more about the Mustang legacy? Follow these links to learn all about the original pony car:

  • Saddle up for the complete story of America's best-loved sporty car. How the Ford Mustang Works chronicles the legend from its inception in the early 1960s to today's all-new Mustang.
  • The 2005 Mustang's shape was ordained by a superstar stylist with a European pedigree. Learn how the original pony car was reborn in 2005 Ford Mustang.
  • The highlight of the '06 model year for the 2006 Ford Mustang was the Shelby GT-H, a sporty racer that was available only as a Hertz rental car. Read all about it in 2006 Ford Mustang and Ford Shelby GT-H.
  • The 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 promised what it couldn't deliver. Learn why, and see photos and specifications.

The 2007 Ford Shelby GT500

Recalling 1968 Shelbys, the new GT500 was offered in both coupe and convertible form.

If classic Shelby Mustangs were liberally dosed with Vitamin HP, the '07 Shelby GT500 was a full-blown steroid case. Lurking within was a supercharged 5.4-liter twincam V-8, basically the 550-bhp Ford GT unit with a less-expensive Roots-type blower and milder tuning.

Milder? Not really. Rated horsepower was a thundering 500, torque a stump-pulling 480 pound-feet. This muscle was too much for any automatic on the Ford shelf, so the only transmission was a heavy-duty six-speed manual, familiar from recent Cobras and the race-winning FR500C Mustangs developed by Ford Racing. Thrust control also dictated a beefed-up suspension, big Brembo disc brakes with pizza-size 14-inch four-caliper rotors up front, and sticky high-performance tires sized at 255/45ZR18 up front and a massive 285/40ZR18 out back.

Aerodynamics received special attention. The wind-tunnel work was extensive, though not easily discerned. The unique "powerdome" hood, for example, had small built-in "heat extractors" near its leading edge, which served to cool the engine bay -- vital with a "blown" engine -- without disrupting airflow.

Competition experience also brought forth a modest air splitter at the base of the nose, an air diffuser below the rear bumper, and a carefully shaped ducktail decklid spoiler, all designed to optimize high-speed stability.

The GT500's interior featured heavily bolstered front seats, leather upholstery in black or black/crimson, satin-finish aluminum trim, and white-faced gauges.

Optimizing visual impact at any speed were a menacing "big mouth" grille and Shelby-traditional rocker-panel stripes, wide dorsal "LeMans" striping, large Shelby lettering on the tail, and chrome snake insignia on the grille and fuel-filler cap.

More snakes showed up inside, along with heavily bolstered front seats and leather upholstery in black or black/crimson. Other unique cockpit touches included satin-finish aluminum trim to replace chrome, white-faced gauges per SVT custom, and swapped speedometer and tachometer positions so drivers could more easily see when to shift.

Recalling 1968 Shelbys, the new GT500 was offered in both coupe and convertible form. Road testers liked them, but not without some reservations, as you'll learn on the next page.

Want to find out even more about the Mustang legacy? Follow these links to learn all about the original pony car:

  • Saddle up for the complete story of America's best-loved sporty car. How the Ford Mustang Works chronicles the legend from its inception in the early 1960s to today's all-new Mustang.
  • The 2005 Mustang's shape was ordained by a superstar stylist with a European pedigree. Learn how the original pony car was reborn in 2005 Ford Mustang.
  • The highlight of the '06 model year for the 2006 Ford Mustang was the Shelby GT-H, a sporty racer that was available only as a Hertz rental car. Read all about it in 2006 Ford Mustang and Ford Shelby GT-H.
  • The 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 promised what it couldn't deliver. Learn why, and see photos and specifications.

Driving the 2007 Ford Shelby GT500

The '07 GT500 sported a powerful V-8 engine, but Ford electronically limited this pony car's top speed to 150 mph.

The Ford Shelby GT500 development program was led by none other than Hau Thai-Tang, Mustang's chief engineer who was recently promoted to director of Advanced Product Creation and head of SVT. "Our goal was to build the most powerful, most capable Mustang ever," he said.

Ford's performance claims were in line with his assertion: 0-60 mph in four seconds flat, a 12.5-second quarter-mile at 116 mph, and at least 0.94g of skidpad grip.

Testers had some trouble matching those numbers. The Shelby GT500 was hampered by a 3950-pound curb weight, some 600 pounds heavier than a two-seat Chevrolet Corvette coupe, for example. Significantly, where the Mustang GT put 53 percent of its weight on the front axle, the Shelby GT placed 57 percent of its weight there. Blame the iron block V-8, supercharger, and water-to-air intercooler.

Nonetheless, handling was balanced and predictable, and ride quality was surprisingly compliant, making the Shelby GT500 a credible everyday high-performance car. And the price was relatively friendly, too. The Shelby GT500 coupe started at $40,930, the convertible at $45,755. That compared with $69,175 for the 505-horsepower 2007 Chevrolet Corvette Z06. A 400-horsepower Corvette coupe with the Z51 suspension and six-speed manual listed for $47,115. 

The '07 Shelby GT500's handling was balanced and predictable, and ride quality was surprisingly compliant, making it a credible everyday high-performance car.

Road & Track pitted the Shelby GT500 against those very Corvettes, and for grins added a 300-horsepower Mustang GT/CS to the comparison mix.

The Z06 was quickest, at 3.6 seconds 0-60 mpg and 12.0 seconds at 121.0 mph in the quarter mile. The Shelby's times were 4.6 0-60 and 12.8 at 113.2 in the quarter mile. The Z51 'Vette clocked 4.5 and 12.8 at 112.5. The GT/CS seemed tame at 5.3 and 13.9 at 103.

Ford electronically limited the GT500's top speed to 150 mph. Even without the limiter, Ford said the car's aerodynamics would hold it below 170 mph. With no speed limiter, the Z51 Corvette did 186 mph.

Still, the Shelby GT500 had a presence and a spirit and enough usable performance to do any part of its name proud. That name, as you'll see on the next page, continued to hold plenty of appeal to Mustang and its customers. 

Want to find out even more about the Mustang legacy? Follow these links to learn all about the original pony car:

  • Saddle up for the complete story of America's best-loved sporty car. How the Ford Mustang Works chronicles the legend from its inception in the early 1960s to today's all-new Mustang.
  • The 2005 Mustang's shape was ordained by a superstar stylist with a European pedigree. Learn how the original pony car was reborn in 2005 Ford Mustang.
  • The highlight of the '06 model year for the 2006 Ford Mustang was the Shelby GT-H, a sporty racer that was available only as a Hertz rental car. Read all about it in 2006 Ford Mustang and Ford Shelby GT-H.
  • The 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 promised what it couldn't deliver. Learn why, and see photos and specifications.

2007 Ford Shelby GT

The Shelby GT was a more dynamic, more engaging version of the Mustang GT.

The 2007 Shelby GT took the "Rent-A-Racer" Shelby GT-H out of the rental fleet and put it into the hands of any Mustang fan with $38,000. Well, up to 5000 Mustang fans at least, for that was its scheduled production run.

Ford's position was that the 500-horsepower Shelby GT500 represented the ultimate in Shelby Mustang performance, and that the Shelby GT was positioned as a more dynamic, more engaging version of the Mustang GT.

"Our goal is to offer a steed for every need," said Barry Engle, general marketing manager, Ford Division. "The Shelby GT is a low-volume, extremely collectable Mustang for enthusiasts. It offers a few more customers the opportunity to experience the magic of Mustang and Carroll Shelby firsthand."

Shelby GT models began as stock Mustang GTs assembled alongside other Mustangs at the AutoAlliance International plant in Michigan. The cars were then shipped to the Shelby Automobiles facility in Las Vegas for modification before delivery to Ford dealerships.

The Shelby GT was a near twin visually to its Hertz counterpart, copying its side scoops, aggressive nose treatment, and brushed-aluminum grille with offset Mustang logo. Both hoods were secured with pins, but the Shelby GT's featured a scoop.

All GT-Hs were black with gold accents. The Shelby GT was offered in white or black, both accented by silver LeMans-style racing stripes. Matching side stripes had "Shelby GT" nomenclature. Shelby logos decorated the trunk lid, floor mats and custom sill plates. Each Shelby GT also had an "authentication plate" on the center dashboard, as well as a matching tag under the hood. This tag featured the CSM number, which is recorded in the Shelby American World Registry.

Each Shelby GT sported an "authentication plate" on the center dashboard.

The GT-H and Shelby GT were similar under the hood, as well. Both employed the Ford Racing Power Upgrade Package (FR1) for the naturally aspirated, three-valve, 4.6-liter V-8, though the Shelby GT was rated at 319 horsepower instead of 325. Both had 330 pounds-feet of torque. Modifications to intake and exhaust were similar, as was the addition of a strut-tower brace.

Both cars included a beefed-up 3.55:1 ratio rear axle assembly, but the Shelby GT came standard with a five-speed manual transmission featuring a Hurst short-throw shifter. The five-speed automatic transmission mandatory on the GT-H was an option here.

Being aimed at enthusiasts who were likely to welcome, and tolerate, a compromise in ride comfort, the Shelby GT's suspension tuning was more aggressive than that of the rental car.

The Shelby GT, like the GT-H, sported a naturally aspirated, three-valve, 4.6-liter V-8, though the Shelby GT was rated at 319 horsepower to the GT-H's 325.

The Shelby GT came with the Ford Racing Handling Pack (FR3) with special-tuned dampers inspired from the Grand-Am Cup championship-winning FR500C race car. New coil springs dropped overall ride height by an inch-and-a-half for a more aggressive stance and reduced body roll.

To showcase these performance modifications, Ford Racing painted all the key suspension components – dampers, springs and swaybars – Ford Racing Blue. Where the GT-H wore 17-inch rubber, the GT had high-performance P235/50ZR18 BF Goodrich gForce T/A KDWS tires designed to maximize the benefits of the chassis upgrades.

"The Shelby GT is great fun on the track," said Carroll Shelby. "It's got the heart and soul of the Mustang GT pumped up with a strong motor, nimble chassis and great sound. It's one of those rare cars that's easy to drive really fast."

Want to find out even more about the Mustang legacy? Follow these links to learn all about the original pony car:

  • Saddle up for the complete story of America's best-loved sporty car. How the Ford Mustang Works chronicles the legend from its inception in the early 1960s to today's all-new Mustang.
  • The 2005 Mustang's shape was ordained by a superstar stylist with a European pedigree. Learn how the original pony car was reborn in 2005 Ford Mustang.
  • The highlight of the '06 model year for the 2006 Ford Mustang was the Shelby GT-H, a sporty racer that was available only as a Hertz rental car. Read all about it in 2006 Ford Mustang and Ford Shelby GT-H.
  • The 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 promised what it couldn't deliver. Learn why, and see photos and specifications.