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KILLER74Z28 08-22-2006 04:41 PM

2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Convertible
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2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Convertible - Short Take Road Tests

A fulfillment of diminished expectations.
BY TONY SWAN, September 2006

Disappointment is invariably related to expectations. The higher they are, the greater the likelihood the object of those expectations won’t quite measure up. Do you hear Shelby GT500 convertible disappointment impending? You do. But let us hasten to add that these aren’t major disappointments. In fact, for the most part, we simply want to, shall we say, square GT500 expectations with reality.

Based on our July comparison test, pitting a Shelby GT500 coupe against a Corvette, we’d already relaxed our performance expectations for the convertible, even before it rolled into our parking lot. For example, since our GT500 test coupe wasn’t any quicker than the old SVT Mustang Cobra, there was no reason to believe the convertible, weighing in 112 pounds heavier at 4008, would do any better. And it did not, thus fulfilling our slightly diminished expectations, although we found that in this area our expectations hadn’t been diminished quite enough. At 4.8 seconds to 60 mph, the convertible was 0.3 second slower than the coupe, which ain’t really slow, but the disparity was progressive. The convertible was 0.8 second slower to 100 mph — 11.1 versus 10.3 — and also slower through the quarter-mile: 13.4 seconds at 108 mph versus 12.9 at 112. This is more than we expected for a 112-pound difference, and we think our test car’s supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 was a tad soft, a suspicion enhanced by a nasty ticking noise coming from the engine. Exhaust leak? Or…?

In addition to softer acceleration, we were also prepared for higher ambient noise levels — a normal consequence of traditional softtops. But in this scoring category we were pleasantly surprised. There’s wind noise, yes, but this is a high-quality top that does a better-than-average job of damping buffeting and roar. The biggest source of interior racket came from the Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires and the suspension — all of it related to what was going on underfoot. On pavement cross-hatched with expansion joints and/or patching, every seam was tangible to the occupants, as both noise and thumping. The suspension bushings seem to be made of granite.

Similarly, the tires are pavement sensitive, quiet on smooth asphalt, singing at unpleasant frequencies on various concrete compounds. But for all that, the convertible’s decibel readings were quieter than the coupe’s at idle, quieter at wide-open throttle, and identical at a 70-mph cruise.

We have mixed reactions here to the absence of the Shelby stripes on this convertible — they’re a dealer option. We judged the stripes as a “low” in our July test, but we are not unanimous on that score, and it’s fair to say the Shelby doesn’t really have much curbside charisma without them. Along these lines, we also think the SVT people could have taken more pains with this car’s interior. Aside from a couple of badges, there’s not much that sets the Shelby apart from its Mustang GT counterparts, and it’s pretty plain considering the car’s price. And speaking of price, we’re already hearing tales of dealers asking $15,000 to $20,000 over the MSRP. Ford has no real control over this, and the sad part is these gougers will probably get their markups.

In all the foregoing, we don’t perceive really serious disappointments. But there is one element that’s impossible to rationalize: a rubbery chassis. It doesn’t take much of a bump to provoke shudders in this GT500’s structure, regrettable in an ordinary convertible, unacceptable in one with performance aspirations. This trait was a big surprise, since we gave the Mustang GT convertible high marks for chassis rigidity. Could the extra power, higher (by 335 pounds) curb weight, and heftier forward weight bias account for this? Could be.

However, we suspect that none of our reservations is going to matter to prospective owners. And in fact, there’s much to rejoice in here. The six-speed gearbox is a wonderful device to manipulate, the steering is quick and communicative, braking performance is strong, the seats are supportive and long-haul comfortable, and supercharger whine adds an enjoyable audible element to full-throttle acceleration.

Beyond that, there’s no question that these cars will be instant collectibles. That alone makes this Shelby another winner, whatever expectations we may entertain.

Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door convertible
Estimated price as tested: $51,000 (base price: $47,800)
Engine type: supercharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, iron block and aluminum heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 330 cu in, 5411cc
Power (SAE net): 500 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 480 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 107.1 in
Length/width/height: 188.0/73.9/55.7 in
Curb weight: 4008 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 4.8 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 11.1 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 20.6 sec
Street start, 5–60 mph: 5.4 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 13.4 sec @ 108 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 155 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 170 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.86 g
EPA fuel economy, city driving (C/D est): 15 mpg
C/D-observed fuel economy: 17 mpg

TAG UR IT 08-22-2006 07:43 PM

Looking at those stats, I feel sorry for Ford. With all of todays technology, they still can't make a $50K Mustang (OH...wait a second....add $20K for the dealer MARKUP!) go faster than a STOCK 02 Camaro SS!!!!!!!! For the love of God, if you are going to build a car for that kind of money, you could at least make it go FAST!

TAG UR IT 09-23-2006 03:11 AM

And give it about a 600lb diet. The 02 Camaro came in at, what, 3460 minus the driver? That thing weighs in at 4,008lbs??? I sure hope that those were the verts #'s. A convertible always weighs more and that makes it just a weee bit slower.

Hyperknight 09-23-2006 11:38 AM

I think it looks hideous without the stripes.

boxmonkeyracing 09-23-2006 02:23 PM

I think these mustangs look better then most mustangs meaning this body style. but personally I don't like them. lol. if I were heaven forbid by one it would be one of those.

LowRider 09-25-2006 11:57 AM

You all know Ford's problem... They circle their ****ing problem their junk, they need to put the rustang away and never bring it back. Because the Camaro is going to send it to the Graveyard anyways!!!

Just a Skidmark 02-02-2008 12:23 AM

Gosh that thing is ugly, if I had a mustang I'de puke in it, cuz a mustang is a MUCH better place to throw up in than a bucket

4nine8 04-11-2008 03:02 PM

i like it.

CamaroSpike23 04-11-2008 03:57 PM

i kinda like the front end. but the rear is hideous. thankfully all i'll ever see is the my mirror.

but i cant stop laughing at the fact that for 50k, all you get is a 2 ton soft-top tank that has to be s/c to get 500 hp at the flywheel.

and the fact that ford lovers/morons will fall for this crap:

Beyond that, there’s no question that these cars will be instant collectibles. That alone makes this Shelby another winner, whatever expectations we may entertain.
maybe if ford owners would stop paying out the ass for cheap crap that doesnt even go fast, maybe ford would realize they need to build a damn car, not just sell one.

Camaro_Corvette 04-11-2008 04:08 PM

man i hate mustangs, and this article shows some of the reasons why... i wish they would get their junk off of our streets..

1bad67camaro 04-11-2008 05:11 PM

lol low rider:bellyroll: :bellyroll: :bellyroll:

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