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650 horsepower, 200 mph 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 debuts at L.A. Auto Show


November 17, 2011

The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500

The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500

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The latest high performance variant of the Ford Mustang bearing the Shelby name has been unveiled at the 2011 LA Motor Show, and it's a beast. Packing a 5.8-liter supercharged V8 producing a headline-grabbing 650 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque, Ford claims the new 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 is the most powerful production V8 in the world. While the Mustang has never been the most aerodynamic vehicle on the road, the vehicle's completely reworked drivetrain provides the power to propel it to a top speed of over 200 mph (322 km/h). And as surprising as the grunt under the hood, Ford says the new Shelby GT500 even manages to avoid the United States' Gas Guzzler Tax.

While the 1964 Mustang provided the template for a new class of car dubbed the "pony car" by the editor of Car Life magazine, Dennis Shattuck, it was the high performance variants built by Shelby American from 1965 to 1970 that really pushed the vehicle into muscle car territory. In the summer of '69, Carroll Shelby terminated his agreement with Ford but after a break of over 30 years, Shelby and Ford teamed up yet again in 2005 for the Ford Shelby Cobra GT500 show car. Other vehicles followed, culminating this week in the new 2013 Ford Shelby GT500, which 89-year-old Carroll Shelby was on hand to unveil in L.A., proclaiming it his "favorite Mustang of all time."

Ford says producing the new GT500's additional horsepower required nearly every part of the powertrain to be optimized. This includes a new cross-drilled block and heads, updated camshaft profiles, new carbon fiber driveshaft, upgraded clutch, transmission and axle, and a new TVS Series 2300 supercharger that creates 2.3 liters of displacement.

The new 5.8-liter engine also sees updates to the entire cooling system, with a larger cooling fan, fan shroud with high-speed pressure-relief doors, more efficient charge air cooler, higher-flow intercooler pump and an intercooler heat exchanger with 36 percent more volume.

To manage the torque and make the car more "driver-friendly," nearly every gear on the 2013 GT500 has been revised. After considering more than 35 gearing combinations, engineers finally decided on one they say transmits balanced torque all the way through the wheels and grip to the ground. The six-speed manual transmission has a final drive ratio of 3.31:1, while the dual-disc design clutch has increased torque and rpm capacity.

While the 3,850 pound (1,746 kg), 2013 GT500 doesn't really look any more aerodynamic than its forebears, Ford claims significant work has been done in this area to ensure the car has the proper downforce for optimum performance at all speeds. Modifications to the front fascia and splitters were made to handle the extreme loads felt at speeds of 200 mph and plant the vehicle's 19-inch front and 20-inch rear forged-aluminum wheels more securely to the road. Ford says that, compared to the 2011 model, the 2013 Shelby GT500 offers 33 percent more effective aero loading at 160 mph (257 km/h).

The vehicle is also designed to be as at home on the track is it is on surface streets, with the traction control system and electronic stability control settings that can be completely disabled for skilled drivers in controlled track situations, or fully engaged for maximum safety in normal driving situations or in less-than-ideal traction conditions. There's also an intermediate sport mode that permits more aggressive driving before the traction control and electronic stability control cut in.

"We took a completely different approach with this car so drivers can choose their settings instead of a computer making the selection," said Jamal Hameedi, Special Vehicle Team (SVT) chief engineer. "Nearly every system the driver interacts with can be tailored to his or her situation including the Bilstein electronic adjustable suspension, launch control, AdvanceTrac and steering assist levels."

To keep all those horses under control on the street or on the track, the optional Performance Package includes a Torsen limited-slip differential and SVT0-designed Bilstein electronic adjustable dampers that can be accessed on the dash with a push of a button. In Normal mode, these provide a more comfortable ride over bumpy roads, while Sport mode delivers improved response times on the track with less body roll while cornering and pitch under braking.

"The adjustable shocks let us develop our car on the track without any compromise," said Kerry Baldori, Ford SVT Global Performance Vehicles chief engineer. "Before, we had to tune the car with street implications in mind. Now we can go as extreme as we want on the track setting and still offer the customer a comfortable ride on the road."

Those looking for all-out performance can upgrade the Performance Package with an additional Track Package that includes an external engine cooler, rear differential cooler and transmission cooler. These coolers improve the durability of the vehicle by preventing crucial components from overheating under high-speed conditions.

Ford is yet to reveal the vehicle's acceleration times, gas mileage or pricing of the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500, but says it will built at the AutoAlliance International Plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, with sales due to begin next year.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

So for this 650-hp car Ford says \"the new Shelby GT500 even manages to avoid the United States\' Gas Guzzler Tax\"....really responsible and environment-friendly statements. Just because of that, the Environmental Agencies should BAN this model.....

Charlie Channels

I don\'t care what anybody says about not needing a car like this , how no one can use the speed , or any of the other negative comments that always seem to come out when a car with spec\'s like this are announced. I really want one of these. I really want a 2012 BOSS 302 but I really really want one of these. Do I need go go 200 MPH ...no would I go 200 MPH probably not ... but I still like the thought of being able to if I wanted to.



People are getting tired of seeing these noisy, gas guzzling, air polluting, piles of junk. Their children and grandchildren are sick (literally) and tired of breathing carbon monoxide and experiencing global warming. Get a clue Ford. The macho voiced dramatic commercials suck. Think electric - solar charged batteries... free sunshine...higher efficiency...


Pretty juvenile to continue to produce cars with a bigger is better attitude. Car performance should be viewed on overall handling and not how many seconds it takes a car to reach 60mph with the assumption that if a car takes 4 seconds it is 20% better than a car that takes 5 seconds. Especially ludicrous when there are battery powered cars that are faster than any gas engine powered car.

The future for performance vehicles is going to be electric and gas powered cars are rolling dinosaurs whose time is passing.


@Charlie Channels - you have just stated the very reason why all Environmental Agencies themselves should be banned. The nanny state is upon us. So help me, Moses..... I would love it if they decided to ban something you loved, Charlie... I would like to see you smile with your pontificate smile and hand over the goods to some bureaucrat.

You would not.. you would fight and scream and yell and complain.... just like we car guys do. God Bless America, God Bless Henry Ford and God Bless Carrol Shelby!!! -Amen

Can i get a witness here?

Facebook User

Wow! I had no idea that a car that is being produced to showcase the company\'s ability to push sports parameters would draw so much hatred. I don\'t even like Fords but I like that they finally made something that is technologically advanced. I don\'t think the total number sold will be that great.

I suspect I am in the minority in this venue but \"global warming\" theory has many flaws. I am not a buyer. Additionally, there is no reason to suspect that because the world goes through warming trends, they will experience runaway heat build up. Just as global cooling should not be expected to continue in a single direction. Climate change is something we want. When the climate stops changing I will be worried.

In any case according to the IPCC\'s Third Assessment Report, Ruminants have been calculated to produce more \"greenhouse gas\" than the transportation sector. Let\'s stop raising cattle and other farm animals and stop eating meat. That way we can drive cars without guilt!? ??

I don\'t eat meat so I guess I can feel okay driving a petrol car around or should I mandate others not eat meat??

Don\'t lump me as an environmental rapist just because I disagree with one position. For a a really well researched book check out Superfreakonomics! One of the best books in print. Better I think than its prequel Freakonomics. Both are very good.

Dr. Veritas

I LOVE everything about this car! I\'m pretty sure the after market will kick in pretty quick for those of us who can\'t afford a factory version of one of these to make our own \"clone\" of it. By the way electric38, I\'ve never met a soul in my life that didn\'t like a cool sounding car? What chocking on what fumes? These cars are so clean the air coming out of them is almost cleaner then what they sucked in and they are getting better every day! Last time I saw the air is by FAR and away cleaner then it was 40 years ago? I\'ve said this before and I\'ll say it again...the earth will not die because anybody has a car like this! This is innovation at it\'s best and I want more of this! :-)


@calson A car that can accellerate to 60 mph in 4 seconds is at least 50% better than a car that would take 5 seconds. At 60 mph that second translates into 88 feet - over four car lenghts. That is a pretty large margin. I would be interested to know exactly which electric car or cars you are refering to. When you state \"there are battery powered cars that are faster than any gas engine powered car\" what kind of car are you refering to? When you say faster do you mean top speed? Or do you mean quicker as in acceleration? Post some specs to back up what you are talking about, untill you do all you are doing is making noise. Either way however I bet I will still find an ICE powered car that outperforms any batter powered car.

Another thing you want to judge cars on overall handling and not acceleration? I think that the GT500 satisfies in both categories. I would have thought from the tone of your post that you would think that cars should be judged by thier enviromental footprint or at least the amount of energy that they require to transport thier cargo from point A to B.

Personally I like accelleration. It is something that I can easily feel , it is very usful when merging into traffic and I don\'t need to experiance the risks of speeding on an entrance ramp to a highway to experience it.

I suggest that you go get in a Nissan Leaf or on your bicyle equivalent and save some oil (more for me)

If I can swing it I will happliy drive off into the sunset in a 2012 Shelby GT500.


\"So for this 650-hp car Ford says \"the new Shelby GT500 even manages to avoid the United States\' Gas Guzzler Tax\"....really responsible and environment-friendly statements. Just because of that, the Environmental Agencies should BAN this model..... \"

If the vehicle doesn\'t guzzle gas, then it avoids the gas guzzler tax, doesn\'t it? I\'m surprised no one objected to the fact that this article made that tantalizing tax statement and then failed to explain how. The answer is that the 2013 Shelby gets 15 MPG city, 23 highway, which means it just avoids the 2011 bar for the tax.

I\'m glad to see that the Cadillac CTS-V coupe finally has a worthy competitor (depending on price). I\'m anxiously awaiting price info and the inevitable car mag match-ups.

To the rest - just because sustainable this and that and eco-friendly whatchamacallits are good, that doesn\'t mean you can\'t appreciate something else. Just because a house doesn\'t have solar panels or geothermal heating, does that mean I can\'t pass by a mansion and say \"Beautiful?\" Does it make us warmongers if we read an article about a new stealth fighter or invisibility cloak and say \"Cool!\"? I don\'t know about the 2013 Shelby, but the 559HP Cadillac CTS-V coupe is about $70K, which means most of us will never own/drive one. There\'s nothing wrong with admiring it, though.

For all you know, though, those who do own it could use an environmentally friendly hybrid, electric, or two-wheel vehicle for routine use and only use their muscle car on weekends or to take to the track. They might also take public transportation to work and thus produce less CO2 overall than someone with a less powerful vehicle who drives it everywhere. Like so much in this world, almost everything can be ok if done in moderation.

Dr. Veritas - \"Additionally, there is no reason to suspect that because the world goes through warming trends, they will experience runaway heat build up.\" There is if the reason for THIS warming trend is the greenhouse effect.


new bunker bombs, drones, 5.8ltr v8s, and climate change deniers ... what a nation ... do the usa parameters for determining gas guzzlers need to be reexamined? yes, yesterday ...


I am a Chevy man but this car is stunning. Who the hell cares if an electric car can beat it to 60mph? Most of the knockers wouldn\'t be able to afford one, so they rubbish it. Captain Danger pretty much sums it up concisely. Finally the engineering skills are at a point that this type of car can be produced as a whole package that is competent in all areas and are affordable. Still wish Ford would put into production that new Cobra V10 concept they built a few years ago. Great to see Carroll Shelby at nearly 90 is still able to put his name on a special production road car that is true to his beliefs.


Great car. Always going to be Haters Hatin\'. HA!

Brandy Kroll

Wow the amount of whining cry-baby antics coming from the Democrats on this site is sickening. They preach love for everyone and the planet yet they are on this site spewing hatred for, of all things, an absolutely beautiful and amazing piece of American history. I love Ford. They didn\'t have to take a government bailout to survive, and they haven\'t had to recall any hybrids because they were killing people. I will take a gasoline using, \"greenhouse gas\" emitting, Al Gore hating car over a Toyota that is more likely to kill people.

Derick Brown

As long as there\'s a market for this kind of car, someone will be refining the designs and building them. Better that speedfreaks buy American than to have to go to a Ferrari or Lamborghini for their fix. Go Ford!

Jason Jones

Why are people so stupid. The engineers designed it in mind not only to make it one of the best performance cars for the name but they did it while avoiding the gas guzzler tax! which means the car gets better gas mileage then most small to midsize trucks and it\'s practically a super car and if you read the post you\'d know it. I\'d love to drive this car and it\'s crazy to see how far ford and Shelby have come.

Matthew Ennis

I love this car. If I could I'd trade my 2003 Cobra Terminator for one this second. I love my Cobra...it only has 19,000 original miles on it and is in cherry condition. The 2013 is an amazing piece of American Machinery. Yes, these vehicles may fade in the future, but they are here now. I am in awe over it's pure artistry, engineering and power.

Jonny Andres
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