Looking Back: the 2008 Shelby GT500 Mustang

Shelby pays homage to the 60s with its high-performance GT500

2008 Mustang Shelby GT500
There are many ways in which the GT500 stood apart from other Mustangs. For one, it boasted a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 engine capable of outputting an estimated 500 hp and 480 lb.-ft. of torque. Photo Courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Ford Shelby GT500 was based on the popular Shelby GT, and was a head turner wherever it traveled. Inspired by the Shelby big-block Mustang of the 1960s, the GT500, which was a joint collaboration between Mustang customizer Shelby and Ford's Special Vehicle Team (SVT), truly was a performance-powered Mustang.

Performance and Power

There are many ways in which the GT500 stood apart from other Mustangs.

For one, it boasted a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 engine capable of outputting an estimated 500 hp and 480 lb.-ft. of torque. If that wasn't not enough to win the hearts of performance enthusiasts everywhere, the GT500 featured performance upgrades throughout. For instance, it came with a MacPherson strut independent front suspension with Reverse-L lower control arms, backed by spring rates and an upgraded stabilizer for improved handling and stopping performance. Next, the GT500 was only available with a 6-speed manual transmission, designed exclusively for performance driving. In fact, the car’s heavy-duty transmission was the same in design as the race-winning Mustang FR500C.

As for braking, the 2008 GT500 boasted four-piston Brembo calipers, each fitted to 14-inch Brembo vented rotors up front. It also featured 11.8-inch vented discs in the rear. As for tread, it was available with 18 x 9.5 inch wheels featuring 255/45ZR high-performance tires up front and 285/40ZR high-performance tires in back.

Talk about one mean machine!

Muscle Car Looks

Another key characteristic, which set the GT500 apart from the rest, was its front-end design. The GT500’s front end boasted wide upper and lower fascia openings. Heat from the engine was removed via two heat extractors, keeping things a bit cooler down below.

The hood also featured a fully functional lower-air splitter. This feature, alone, made this Mustang look beefy and very reminiscent of classic muscle-car Mustangs. In addition, the car’s grille featured the famous Cobra emblem where other Mustangs featured the popular pony counterpart.

Another feature of the GT500 was its classic Le Mans-style white overbody stripes. From nose to tail, this car truly resembled Shelby Mustangs of the 60s. It also sported lower body side racing stripes.

Convertible Muscle

Best of all, the 2008 Shelby GT500 was available as either a coupe or convertible. That’s right. Proud GT500 owners were able to drop the top as they cruise around town. Ford says the GT500’s convertible featured a high-end cloth top, not found on the standard Mustang convertible. In line with Shelby’s original GT500 Convertible, the new GT500 convertible did not feature the Le Mans-style racing stripes found on the hood and rear of the coupe version. The goal was to pay homage to the convertible GT500 of the past. Since it had no stripes in these areas, neither did the 2008 model.

Performance Interior With a Taste of Style

As for the Shelby GT500’s interior, it too was designed to suit the performance driver.

For instance, the front seats featured additional lateral support to help keep the driver optimally positioned during cornering. The cockpit also featured a revised instrument panel and tachometer, designed to provide better viewing of shifting points in performance-driving conditions. Shelby’s GT500 script and Cobra image were featured on the steering wheel cap. The cockpit also featured an aluminum shift lever knob as well as accessories with a satin aluminum finish.

A new feature for 2008 was ambient lighting. Drivers could program one of 7 different interior lighting options to suit their individual tastes. The ambient lighting featured LEDs mounted in the front console, two in the footwells, and two around the cup holder. Lighting could also be changed depending on the driver’s mood.

Safety Features

Another new feature for 2008 included new front driver- and passenger-seat side air bags designed to provide side-impact head protection as well as rollover protection. It also featured a theft-deterrent system as well as a tire-pressure monitoring system.

The Super Snake

Owners of the 2008 Shelby GT500, seeking more power, were also be able to invest in the Super Snake package for 2008.

This package closely resembled that of the GT500KR. It included a KR hood and hood pins, 20-inch forged Alcoa rims, the KR cold-air intake, and a Ford Racing supercharger. Total output for this package was estimated to be between 600 - 725 hp. The Super Snake package was issued in a very limited run, and cost around $27,995.00, plus the cost of the Shelby GT500. Owners first needed to purchase their GT500, then ship it off to Shelby for the Super Snake conversion.

Pricing

The 2008 Shelby GT500 coupe began at around $42,170, while the convertible version was priced around $46,995. Due to its performance set up, buyers paid an extra $1,300 to suffice the gas-guzzler tax.

 

Final Take

In all, the 2008 Ford Shelby GT500 was a Mustang designed for the performance-seeking enthusiast. The folks at Ford’s SVT, as well as the legends at Shelby, took a standard Mustang GT and turned it into a powerful machine.

Although many found the 2008 Mustang GT powerful enough, a select few, seeking even more, found what they’re looking for with the GT500. It was powerful, it was sleek, and it was an honorable salute to performance Mustangs of the past. Of course, those truly in need of speed could opt for the GT500KR “King of the Road” Mustang which made its return in 2008 as well.

In all, the 500KR was said to be the most powerful production Mustang ever.

 

Guide to the Shelby Mustang

 

Key Features

  • Supercharged 5.4-liter four-valve V-8 engine w/intercooler
  • 500 hp and 480 lb.-ft. of torque
  • Stainless steel dual exhaust
  • SVT tuned front and rear suspension- with unique dampers and springs
  • Tremec 6-speed manual transmission
  • Power four-wheel disc Anti-Lock Brakes with ABS
  • Unique SHELBY badging on rear decklid
  • GT500 side stripes (convertible)
  • Over-the-top Racing Stripes and “GT500” side stripes (coupe)
  • P255/45ZR 18 (front) and P285/40ZR18 (rear) performance tires
  • Unique GT500 front and rear fascias and aluminum hood (with dual functional air vents)
  • Unique rear spoiler
  • 18 x 9.5-inch bright machined aluminum wheels
  • Shaker 500 Audio System (AM/FM stereo w/CDx6, 6-speakers &MP3)
  • Front seat side air bags; BeltMinder®.

SPECIFICATIONS


BODY
Construction
Unitized welded steel body, aluminum hood

POWERTRAIN AND CHASSIS ENGINE
Type
V-8

Manufacturing location
Romeo, Michigan

Configuration
Iron Block and Aluminum Heads

Intake manifold
Cast-aluminum with Roots-type supercharger and air-to-water intercooler

Exhaust manifold
Cast iron

Crankshaft
Forged steel

Throttle Body
Dual 60 mm, electronic

Valvetrain
DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder

Valve diameter
Intake: 37.0 mm; Exhaust: 32.0 mm

Pistons
Forged aluminum

Connecting Rods
Cracked forged steel I-beams

Ignition
Coil-on-plug

Bore x stroke
3.552 x 4.165 in. / 90.22 x 105.8 mm

Displacement
330 cu. in. / 5,409 cc

Horsepower
500 hp @ 6,000 rpm

Torque
480 lb.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm

Compression ratio
8.4:1

Redline
6,250 rpm

Idle Speed in Neutral
750 rpm

Engine control system
Spanish oak PCM

Recommended fuel
Premium only

Fuel capacity
16.0 gallons

Fuel Injection
Electronic returnless sequential

Oil capacity
6.5 quarts 5W-50 Full Synthetic

Coolant capacity
21 quarts

 

DRIVETRAIN
Layout
Rear-wheel drive

TRANSMISSION
Standard (Type)
Tremec TR6060 6-speed manual

Gear Ratios

1st
2.97
2nd
1.78
3rd
1.3
4th
1.0
5th
0.80
6th
0.63
Final Drive
3.31

 

SUSPENSION
Front
Reverse-L independent MacPherson strut, 34-mm tubular stabilizer bar

Rear
Three-link solid axle with coil springs, Panhard rod, 24-mm solid stabilizer bar

 

STEERING
Type
Rack and pinion with power assist

Ratio
15.7:1

Steering column
Tilt

 

BRAKES
Type
Four wheel power disc with four-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and traction control

Front
Brembo 14-inch diameter vented discs, four-piston aluminum calipers

Rear
11.8-inch diameter vented discs, two-piston calipers

 

TIRES AND WHEELS
Tires
P255/45Z18 front tires, P285/40ZR18 rear tires

Wheels
18 x 9.5-inch machined aluminum wheels with SVT center caps

FUEL ECONOMY (city/hwy)
14/20

DIMENSIONS (inches unless otherwise noted)
EXTERIOR

Wheelbase
107.1

Overall length
188.0

Overall width
73.9

Overall height
54.5 Coupe; 55.7 Convertible

Track width, front/rear
61.9 / 62.5

Ground clearance
5.71

 

INTERIOR
Seating capacity
4 passenger

Headroom

Front row
38.6 Coupe; 38.8 Convertible

Second row
35.0 Coupe; 36.3 Convertible

Legroom

Front row
42.7 Coupe; 42.7 Convertible

Second row
31.0 Coupe; 30.3 Convertible

Shoulder room

Front row
55.4 Coupe; 55.4 Convertible

Second row
53.3 Coupe; 45.0 Convertible

Hip room/

Front row
53.6 Coupe; 53.6 Convertible

Second row
46.7 Coupe; 45.4 Convertible

Cargo Volume
12.3 cu. ft., Coupe; 9.7 cu. ft., Convertible

 

WEIGHTS AND CAPACITIES
Curb weight, pounds

Coupe
3,920 pounds

Convertible
4,040 pounds

Weight distribution (f/r)
57/43

 

SAFETY
Safety belts
Load-limiting seat belts with pretensioners and height-adjustable shoulder belts for front seating positions (coupe); Three-point safety belts for all seating positions; BeltMinder™ safety-belt reminder chime

Air bags
Seat-deployed side air bags for driver and front passenger; Dual-stage driver and front-passenger air bags with crash-severity sensor, driver-seat-position sensor and front-passenger weight sensor

Child safety
LATCH anchors for rear outboard seats

Brakes
Anti-lock braking system (ABS);Traction-control system

Fuel
Inertia-activated shutoff switch for fuel pump

Security
SecuriLock ™ passive anti-theft system; Remote keyless entry; Separate alarm sounder; Anti-tow sensor; Ultrasonic interior motion sensor; Perimeter anti-theft battery

MAJOR STANDARD EQUIPMENT
Audio system
Shaker 500: AM/FM stereo with six-disc CD/MP3 capable player with eight speakers

EXTERIOR
Badging
Unique GT500

Top
Black cloth (Convertible only)

Exhaust
Tuned dual stainless steel

Fascia
Unique GT500 color-keyed front and rear

Fog lamps
Front

Grille
Unique upper with Cobra emblem

Hood
Unique with heat extractors

Locking
Remote keyless entry

Spoiler
Unique color-keyed deck lid spoiler

Trim
Over-the-top “ LeMans” stripes and “GT500” side stripes (Coupe)

“GT500” side stripes (Convertible)

Trunk
“Fix a Flat” tire repair kit

 

INTERIOR
Air conditioning
Manual

Console
Center with full armrest and storage

Cup holders
2

Door trim inserts
Soft vinyl

Floor mats
Front, color-keyed with driver-side retention hook

Instrument cluster
Includes boost gauge and message center, SVT graphics

Map pockets
Front doors

Power points
2

Scuff plates
Door sills, with bright SVT script insert

Seats
Leather sport buckets; 6-way power adjustable driver seat with power lumbar and 2-way adjustable head restraint

Shift knob
Unique with leather shift boot and parking brake handle

Steering wheel
Leather-wrapped with unique thumb pads, adjustable for tilt Windows/door locks

OPTIONS
DELETE OPTIONS
“ LeMans” stripes
Coupe only

“GT500” side stripes
Coupe, Convertible

 

AUDIO
Shaker 1000
1000 watt audio system: AM/FM stereo, in-dash six-disc CD/MP3 player, 10 speakers

Satellite radio
SIRIUS® Satellite Radio

PACKAGE
GT500 Premium Interior Trim Package
Wrapped and stitched instrument panel brow and center condole with upgraded door armrest, electrochromic rearview mirror and aluminum pedal covers

EXTERIOR/INTERIOR COLORS
EXTERIOR
Paint/stripe colors
Torch Red with Oxford White, Ebony or Satin Silver stripes

Alloy Metallic with Satin Silver stripes

Vista Blue with Oxford White stripes

Performance White with Vista Blue, Alloy or Ebony stripes

Grabber Orange with Oxford White or Ebony stripes

Ebony Clearcoat with Oxford White or Alloy stripes

Vapor with Ebony stripes

Convertible top
Black cloth

INTERIOR
Charcoal Black/Charcoal Black

Charcoal Black/Crimson Red

WARRANTY INFORMATION

Warranty
3-year, 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty
5-year, 60,000-mile power train limited warranty and roadside assistance
Specifications subject to change.