SHELBY GT500

FEAR NOT, FORD FANS – PLANS ARE AFOOT TO UNLEASH A MUSTANG UP THERE WITH THE MADDEST OF CUT SNAKES DOWN UNDER

WORDS STEPHEN CORBY

IF YOU’RE A fervent Ford fan, news of the arrival of an HSV-badged Camaro with 480kW-plus might leave you with the unpleasant taste of sand in your mouth and a desire to avoid certain Holden-loving mates. But fear not, because redemption could be at hand in the shapely, somewhat sinister form of the Mustang Shelby GT500.

While Ford Australia has confirmed the sad news that it won’t be able to source right-hand-drive versions of this 523kW supercharged monster to our shores (“We don’t have the volume to support a factory Shelby effort,” is the official line), the good folks at Melbourne’s Mustang Motorsport are confident they will be able to satisfy power-hungry Ford fans by providing local conversions.

Patience will be a virtue, however, with Mustang Motorsport’s managing director Craig Dean pointing to incoming legislation that will make the miraculous Mustang, unveiled earlier this year in Detroit, an option for the very keen buyer (along with the slightly less bonkers Shelby GT350), but not until December this year.

Dean explains that new legislation, the Road Vehicle Standards Act, which was passed late last year, will allow importation of “any variant that is not imported by full volume manufacturers after three months of its release elsewhere in the world”.

“Mustang Motorsport will be importing and converting Shelby GT350s and GT500s. Pricing on GT350s is affordable but the GT500 will be sold as a premium; we’re predicting five or six,” Dean says.

“I’ve sent enquiries to Vehicle Safety Standards to see when importation can be organised; I suspect after December 11, 2019.”

The exact price is yet to be determined, both here and in the US, but the conversion process – which would take around three weeks – should be easier now that the Mustang platform is at least built in right-hand drive, making it easier to source parts.

Power comes from a hand built supercharged 5.2-litre V8, attached to a unique seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission (the normal Mustang has a 10-speed auto.) Multiple drive modes include a specific drag-strip setting that will see it destroy the quarter mile in less than 11 seconds (at least half a second faster than the ZL1), while 0-100km/h will flash by in the mid-three-second bracket.

The exact power figures are yet to be confirmed, but the estimated 700 horsepower claimed would make this mad Mustang the most powerful road-going Ford of all time, eclipsing even the supercar-like Ford GT.

Along with the famous poised Cobra badging, the Shelby GT500 features a suede steering wheel, muscular bodywork and carbonfibre spoilers and wheels. Yes, carbonfibre wheels, which look absolutely fantastic.

Keen Ford fans can register their interest in investing in a converted GT500 with Mustang Motorsport.

THAT A FACT?

There is another, cheaper, potentially quicker way to get your hands on a Ford Mustang with more than 500kW, should you feel the need. Speculation is rife that Ford Australia may soon join forces with performance tuner Herrod Motorsport to offer a circa $100,000 ‘super’ Mustang, fitted with a Roushsourced Ford Performance supercharger kit. Ford won’t confirm or deny this rumour. What we know for sure is that you can pay Herrod to install the Roush kit on your V8 Mustang GT, and that Ford Australia says doing so will not void your warranty. The kit is estimated to give you 522kW and 825Nm; ample, then, to take aim at the Camaro ZL1.