Like Delta Force, the Special Vehicles Team (SVT) at Ford have an elite mission, building cars that won't necessarily be mass sellers for the company, but will preserve and reinforce heritage. The latest SVT effort is the 2011 Ford Shelby GT500, a limited production vehicle with 550 horsepower.
The 2011 Ford Shelby GT500 is a unique vehicle. Although based on the Mustang, you will not find any Mustang badges on the car. Neither will you find Ford badging. Instead, the Shelby Cobra logo and the GT500 model name appear prominently.
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Ford plans to make only 5,500 units of the 2011 Shelby GT500--a limited run considering how many cars the automaker sells in general. Although not called a Mustang, the Shelby GT500 sits at the performance apex of the Mustang lineup.
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The Shelby GT500 builds on the retro-classic Mustang styling with a lower fascia that mirrors the grille and headlight frame. The hood bulges to accommodate the supercharger, and the stripes are standard.
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This aluminum block engine replaces the cast iron block in the 2010 model (saving weight) and, with the supercharger, churns out 40 more horsepower than the previous version.
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Although a coupe, the rear seats were actually usable, and seatbelt extenders eliminated painful twisting around to buckle up.
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The SVT performance package on this car led to excellent handling, but a painfully rough ride.
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Beyond the Shelby cabin touches, such as the sport steering wheel and ball shifter, the interior is standard Mustang quality. That means soft surfaces over the dashboard, but hard plastics lining the doors.
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These red stripe seats matched the interior style with the exterior.
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Suede over the wheel near the lateral spokes made for a comfortable grip. We were impressed with the handling, which was aided by the SVT suspension tuning.
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These buttons on the right spoke of the steering wheel control the stereo, phone, and Sync voice command.
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We didn't care for these gauges, as the speedometer and tach only use half of the available real estate.
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This white cue ball shifter is a nice touch, but the six-speed manual's gate takes some determination to shift through.
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Ambient lighting illuminates the foot wells and interior door handles. Set to red here, the color is adjustable through a wide range of hues.
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The hard-drive-based navigation system shows 3D and 2D maps at a good level of resolution. Traffic overlays show freeway flow and incident information.
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Fuel prices are one of the data feeds the car receives from Sirius Travel Link. Others include movie times and sports scores.
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Sirius radio is included in the Shelby GT500.
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Sync interfaces with MP3 players, letting users browse the music library or use voice command to ask for specific songs.
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The Bluetooth phone system downloads a paired phone's contact list, making it available onscreen.