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If you're a driving enthusiast, you owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Ford Mustang. Once that pony car hit the market in 1964, affordable and stylish performance was finally in reach for the average American. Even though early versions weren't exceptionally fast, it didn't take long for Ford to pump the car up with some real muscle. Shortly after the first 'Stang hit the streets, Ford teamed up with racing legend Carroll Shelby to produce the high-performance GT350. Two years later, the fierce Ford Shelby GT500 showed up, equipped with a 428-cubic-inch big-block V8.
Only a few thousand of the original Ford Shelby GT500s were built from 1967-'70, and they've remained very popular with Mustang enthusiasts and collectors. As expected, the modern version is obviously a much better car in terms of comfort and overall performance. However, potential buyers of the modern-era GT500 should know that the first few years of the car were let down by disappointing handling capabilities. Newer (2010 and up) GT500s are much more appealing by virtue of a lighter engine and revised suspension tuning that yielded a more agile attitude on twisty roads.
Used Ford Shelby GT500 Models
The reincarnated Shelby GT500 debuted for 2007. At the time, its supercharged 5.4-liter V8 had an iron block and produced 500 hp. Standard front-seat side airbags and optional xenon headlights arrived the following year. For 2010, significant improvements were made as Ford retuned the suspension for improved handling, increased power to 540 hp, made stability control standard and updated the styling. That year also brought better cabin materials, dual-zone climate control and the Sync multimedia voice-control system.
The following year, the GT500 received an aluminum engine block (versus the previous iron version), which shaved more than 100 pounds off the front end and promoted sharper handling. Output was boosted to 550 hp. New features included an available SVT performance package as well as standard xenon headlights and MyKey (which allowed owners to limit the vehicle's top speed and the stereo's volume). For 2012, Recaro sport seats became optional. These GT500s are similar to today's version with the exceptions of the 650-hp engine, further tweaked suspension and brakes and slightly different grille and taillight styling.
The Shelby's spiritual precursor is the Ford Mustang SVT Cobra. If the GT500 is outside of your budget, a used Cobra is a more budget-friendly alternative.
If you are looking for newer years, visit our new Ford Shelby GT500 page.