As if waiting for the new GT 500 to hit the showrooms was not hard enough, Ford let the cat out of the bag that the convertible version would be along for the ride as well. In fact, on a recent trip to Dearborn in October we saw an uncamoflaged example driving innocently along Oakwood Road near the proving grounds.
With more than 450-horsepower on tap from its
supercharged 5.4L V-8 engine, the Shelby GT500 convertible will be the most
powerful factory-built Ford Mustang convertible in history. Carroll Shelby, the legend behind the original Shelby Mustangs, joined the
Ford SVT engineering team early in the program to put his stamp of approval
on the convertible version and had nothing but praise for the effort. “Convertibles often go against the pursuit of high-performance, but not this GT500,” said Shelby . “This GT500 convertible can go up against the best of them, and hold its own. It’s stiff, it’s fast, and I’m looking
forward to cruising mine up and down the roads of Texas .”
The good news is that the same 450-plus horsepower V-8 engine powers the
GT500 coupe and convertible. And with the convertible’s added weight kept
to a bare minimum, fewer suspension modifications are needed, meaning the
handling you experience driving the convertible will be far closer to that
of the coupe than ever before.
In designing the Shelby GT500 convertible, Ford SVT engineers were able to
start with the same solid chassis structure that benefits the 2005 Mustang
convertible. Ford engineers designed the coupe and convertible
simultaneously, yielding a convertible with twice the torsional stiffness
of the previous generation.
As a result, the GT500 convertible is less than 125 pounds heavier than the
coupe. This enabled engineers to use the same suspension geometry, with
chassis modifications limited to only slightly softer spring rates, sway
bars, and damper tuning to fit the convertible’s character.
Just as the original Shelby GT500 was the “step up” to big-block power from
the GT350, the new Ford Shelby Cobra GT500 convertible steps up to Ford’s
5.4-liter “MOD” V-8. The result? The GT500 convertible is the most powerful
factory convertible Mustang ever. Its supercharged 5.4-liter, 32-valve V-8
evolves from SVT’s experience with supercharging the “MOD” engine to
deliver more than 450 horsepower and 450 foot-pounds of torque.
The Shelby GT500 convertible features a unique cloth convertible top,
replacing the vinyl top of the Mustang GT convertible. The GT500 will be
only the second Mustang to feature a cloth top, first introduced on the
2003 SVT Mustang Cobra.The cloth is similar to that used for high-end, exotic sports cars,
providing an elegant visual upgrade to the GT500 convertible. In addition,
the thicker fabric is not only more durable than vinyl, but creates a much
tauter top resulting in a very quiet interior while driving with the top
Aside the fact that this model will be an open air experience, one other visual difference will eparate this car from it's coupe sibling. While the GT500 coupe’s exterior is punctuated by the classic Shelby LeMans-style stripes that race along the car from nose to tail, the
convertible will be more subtle with just the side stripes along the rocker
We are anxiously awaiting our first test drive!
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