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Flogged: 2008 Mustang Shelby GT-C

Story by Sam Haymart

A brief take on what might be a best kept secret.


06-02-08: This car is so damn much fun to drive. It was my reaction the first time I drove the Shelby GT in 2006, just before it went on sale. Over a year later the car still tickles me silly from behind the wheel. Even better, the Grabber Orange Shelby GT-C that I was handed the keys to had the optional 20” American Racing “Razor” wheels and the pizza pan 14” Brembo brake upgrade. Not only did these key options raise the visual stock of the Shelby GT-C, but gave it extra glue on the track that causes perma-grin like psychedelic mushrooms (so I have been told).

The Shelby GT-C of course is a 200 unit run of Shelby GT’s that were requested by California dealers. You see, for 2008 the Shelby GT comes in any color your want provided it is Vista Blue with silver stripes. California being self important and justifiably better than the rest of the states felt they deserved to be exempt from such square and rigid rules. So they got their own batch of bright orange Mustangs. I personally think the look is very striking and I want one now. I'll call the mortgage company tomorrow about a line of credit on my equity. Wait, there isn't any. Damn.

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The Shelby GT-C test drive was spent mostly on a race track flogging it as fast as it would go. The large chrome exhaust tips of the Ford Racing system are really loud. If you like the sound of the old Mustangs and Cobras at a vintage race, this is your car. From behind the wheel, the trademark Shelby hood scoop has the same aura as the one on the last ‘65 GT-350 I drove. It inserts itself into your field of vision, and more importantly your psyche. You feel like you are in a race car, it sounds like you are in a race car. When you throw it into a corner, you realize you ARE in a race car.

The suspension is easily the tightest and stiffest you will find on any Mustang from a dealer lot. Engineered with the help of Ford Racing, the feel is right on for this enthusiast. It is stiff and maybe a bit jarring for some. It is not edgy and rough however. It is very balanced and refined, but will not disappoint a more advanced driver in the least. Add the tight feel of the short throw shifter to the experience and you are having a ball at every turn. It is a shame that the marketing and branding people did not let the base Mustang GT be this much car.

Though the power is only up a smidge from the standard GT, the car feels oh so much faster due to the aforementioned suspension, tire and braking upgrades. I would even go so far as to say that a good driver could almost match a lap time in this car to a standard GT-500 even though it has a significant power advantage. The Shelby GT is light, agile, and athletic on its feet - everything the GT-500 is not.

Yes we gushed a little on the Shelby GT. What can be said? It is a helluva fun car to drive and is everything the original GT-350 was back in 1965. The price is a bit more than a Mustang GT, but less than a GT-500. News on the street is that you can pick them up for a song too, with the full rebates and Ford financing specials because they have not exactly been selling like wildfire. The Shelby GT, might just be one of those best kept secrets.


 
 
 
 

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