In 1993, a crack engineering unit was founded by the Ford Motor Company. These great men promptly tuned a 235-horspower, 5.0-liter V-8 for the Ford Mustang. Today, still wanted by enthusiasts across the country, they survive as heroes to fast Ford Mustangs. If there’s a Ford that needs tuning, and if no one else can help, and if you can find them in Dearborn, maybe you can order some parts from the SVT catalog or lay down a deposit on a Raptor.
This year is SVT’s 20th anniversary, and over the past two decades, the Ford skunkworks department has churned out enough tire smoke and shredded enough rubber to replenish the ozone layer with vulcanized particulates. Legions of Fords have worn Ford’s SVT badge, including the Ford Contour, the Ford Focus, the still-achingly-sexy Ford GT supercar, and a few F-150s that culminated in the current Ford Raptor. But the Mustang has always been SVT’s muse, and from that classic 235-horsepower Fox-body comes today’s latest SVT breathed-upon-Mustang: the 2013 Shelby GT500 Convertible with a not-so-piddling 650 horsepower and a top speed just 40 miles shy of 1993′s fastest car in the world, the McLaren F1.
Hey, how’s that for progress?
The 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Convertible does double duty for Ford: it celebrates its SVT allies, and it wears its famed Shelby branding proudly. A Performance Package adds Bilstein electronically-controlled dampers, and a Track Package takes closed-circuit performance even higher with engine oil, differential and transmission coolers for increased durability. Otherwise, it features the same 5.8-liter supercharged V-8 as the coupe, producing 650 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque. And to celebrate the SVT connection, the convertible features “commemorative lighted sill plates” underneath the doors, only because it’s less messy than a cake.
“All of the significant changes we made in the program were instrumental in delivering a convertible that could really shine on the track but can still be driven on a daily basis,” says Kerry Baldori, chief engineer for SVT.
That all may be well and good, but Mustang fans know what the GT500′s true raison d’être is: pulling off mad, smoky, tire-popping burnouts everywhere. As long as the Shelby GT500 is alive and well, no parking lot, cul-de-sac, 405 carpool lane, and K-Mart loading dock is safe. Hell yeah, America. Here’s to 20 more years (and beyond) of clouds of billowing, Blue-Oval-enabled tire smoke. If Teddy Roosevelt was still alive, he’d be pretty damn happy about it.