06-08-07: The collaboration between Carroll Shelby and Ford Motor Company will continue in earnest with the 2008 model year. Last summer, Mustang enthusiasts were thrilled when it was announced that Shelby would be offering a hotted up version of the standard Mustang GT. The lure of course was the theory that it would be less expensive than the GT-500 while offering a “real” Shelby built by the man himself. While the cars have ended up getting a dealer mark-up treatment every bit as disgraceful as the GT-500’s they still remain more affordable in a relative sense.
For 2008, Shelby has announced to dealers that key changes in the colors and availability for the Shelby Gt will be coming. The previous black and white colors with silver graphics will give way to a single scheme of Vista Blue with silver LeMans stripes.
Further, production will be brought down to only 2100 units. Of note, this lower production will now include a convertible model which will surely be welcome. Unfortunately for performance purists, the percentage of production for the convertible is said by some sources to be at minimum 70% and possibly higher. This means that getting a coupe for the autocross hobbyist will be more of a challenge.
Production for the new Vista Blue Shelby GT’s will begin in September with dealerships taking delivery shortly thereafter. Automatic transmissions will be again available in up to 25% of production. Features and specifications for the 2008 Shelby GT Mustang will be identical to that of the 2007 models. The car will continue to use the Ford Racing Power Pack to increase the output of the naturally aspirated, three-valve, 4.6-liter V-8 to 319 horsepower, and about 330 pound-feet of torque.
The Power Pack includes a 90 millimeter cold-air intake and a new performance engine calibration for improved response. The high-flow exhaust system with X-pipe crossover offers better power delivery and a throaty V-8 exhaust note. A shorter rear-axle ratio is installed to capitalize on the Shelby GT coupe’s extra power, especially accelerating off the line. For Shelby GT models equipped with a manual transmission, a Hurst short-throw shifter is installed for more precise shift action.
The Shelby GT driving dynamics are fine tuned with the Ford Racing Handling Pack, which was developed by the same engineers that developed the Ford Racing FR500C, which won the 2005 Grand-Am Cup Championship. New coil springs drop the overall ride height by an inch-and-a-half for a more aggressive stance and reduced body roll. Stiffer dampers and front swaybar further enhance cornering feel and body control. To showcase the key performance modifications, Ford Racing painted all the key suspension components, including the damper, spring, and swaybar Ford Racing Blue.
A front strut-tower brace adds additional strength to the chassis structure, and P235/55ZR18 high-performance tires maximize the benefits of the chassis upgrades. “The Shelby GT is great fun on the track,” continues Shelby. “It’s got the heart and soul of the Mustang GT pumped up with a strong motor, nimble chassis and great sound. It’s one of those rare cars that’s easy to drive really fast.”
The powerful face of the Shelby GT features a unique front fascia, with a more aggressive lower air dam. The brushed-aluminum grille is accented by an offset Mustang logo. In addition, the Shelby GT has a new hood scoop that comes directly from the famed Shelby Cobra roadster.
The side profile features chrome-finished 18-inch wheels and unique side scoops just before the rear wheel arches. The rear fascia frames the larger dual exhaust tips, and is topped by Shelby badging on the trunk lid.
Inside, features include ‘Shelby GT’ logo floor mats and custom sill plates with Shelby GT nomenclature. In addition, the Shelby GT features an authentication plate on the center dashboard, as well as matching tag underhood. This tag features the CSX number, which is recorded in the Shelby Automobiles registry.