Carroll Shelby; the king of fast Fords. With a career spanning over five decades, Shelby became synonymous with one particular automotive leviathan – the Ford Mustang. The original pony car galloped its way to stardom during the era of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, with as many engine and drivetrain options as interior pleasantries.
Over time Shelby’s involvement with Ford Motor Company saw a special bond develop between the two, helping one another like old friends to create some of the world’s most iconic cars; the GT40 and the GT500, for example.
So, let’s fast-forward like your old Sony Walkman to 2005, where the then-latest Mustang (code named S197) re-baked the original recipe, adding some contemporary flavour into an age-old marque.
After decades of uglier, boxier and slower Mustang offerings, the public had fallen out of love with the overweight horse. It appeared fit merely for the glue factory. Many enthusiasts would agree that the Mustangs led out of the stable throughout the decade of excess had the desirability of a waterborne disease, despite the cool badge...
The S197 changed all that, and employed styling cues from the original in a modern package that bludgeoned the globe with a sudden stroke of amnesia – previous instalments did not exist. The Mustang was back! And it was back with a vengeance.
Shelby staff were so impressed with the new design that they adopted it for steroid-laced surgery. They got their teeth into re-developing the fresh-faced V6 engine, eventually developing 380bhp. Ford was rather embarrassed with the witchcraft Shelby had performed on its archaic V6 engine, as the car made its range-topping 4.6 V8 with 300bhp look rather tame.
Why are they so rare?
In 2005, Ford had recently unveiled its knockout punch, the return of the coveted GT. Using a 5.4 V8 with an Eaton M122 Supercharger strapped to it, 500bhp was dispatched in a whirlwind of growls and tyre smoke.
Having been told by Ford to stop ‘making it look silly’ with the CS6, Shelby decided to roll up its sleeves and down a tin of spinach. The CS6 was scrapped after only a handful of cars were produced, incidentally making it one of the rarest Shelby ever produced, and the 500bhp 5.4 V8 from the new $150,000 GT was shoehorned into the Mustang instead, making an appropriate comeback for the indicative GT500 nameplate.
Unveiled at the New York International Auto Show in 2005, and later on sale from the summer of 2006, the GT500 received positive press results, despite the horse-and-cart-inspired live rear axle that was forced to cope with 500 American mustangs smashing through it.
Although the Brits were chuckling about the suspension set-up down the pub, the Americans managed to squeeze a 3:05.9 lap time out of the beast at the Virginia International Raceway, falling short of a Porsche 911 Turbo of the same era by just one tenth of a second. Not bad for a horse and cart.
So, with the heritage, the power, the speed and the stage presence, what else could you possibly want in a car that can do comfortable as easily as it can replicate a Boeing 747 on take-off? Need further proof? Watch the introductory scene to I Am Legend and tell us you don’t want one.
What’s this one like?
This stunning example is ready for any tarmac battle, from its furious horsepower to its iconic body style. This specific Mustang comes with a 5.4L DOHC supercharged V8 Fl, which churns out 500bhp and is destined to leave you grinning inanely. Roundabouts will never be safe again...
The horsepower is pushed through a six-speed manual transmission, which allows for direct control. Should make the local Tesco car park an interesting new venture.
With only 47,063 actual miles on the odometer, the mechanicals are in rude health; as is the interior, with lavish its upholstery. Surprised? These weren’t just designed to shred back tyres, but to also provide cruising comfort and aid effortless driving down both the street and a 1/4-mile pass at the drag strip.
Get a closer look with the AutoClassics classified advert