Over forty years after its introduction, the Ford Mustang carries the reputation of being one of the best all-around sports car in its class. It’s a darling of tuners, racers and nearly everyone who has ever spent more than 15 seconds admiring one up close. At the core of that enthusiasm is the work of Carroll Shelby and company who turned the pony car from a secretary’s ride to a road course brute almost overnight with cars like the GT350 and GT500. While the early examples tend to bring astronomical prices, the modern examples, built under Shelby’s watchful eye until his death, are well within reach. Take, for example, this 2009 GT500: It features classic styling, a supercharged 500hp V8, race-friendly suspension and interior fit for daily driving duties. With just 2,239 miles on the odometer and a handful of modifications that have awakened the inner-beast in this 500, this car marks the perfect balance between great ownership experience and solid investment. If you’re looking for a fun place to park your money, cast an eye towards this 2009 Shelby GT500.
The fifth generation of Mustang is widely considered one of the best looking models to roll out in decades. With its bulging fenders and crisp lines, the design plays well into the current trend of nostalgic design and appeals to just about everyone who sees one. This low-mileage GT500 takes those crowd-pleasing traits and wraps them in the very color that Mustangs arguably wear best – bright red. Looking over the body, it’s obvious the previous owner had this car tucked away somewhere for safe keeping. The paintwork is glossy and there isn’t a single problem area to be found. Accented by thick white stripes along the top and a matching strip along the rocker panel, the package hearkens back to the Shelby’s of yore. As a practically brand new car, panel fitment and overall finish is excellent thanks to modern production methods.
Taking a closer look the GT500, it’s clear that design efforts focused on making the car look larger and more substantial than lesser Mustangs. Up front, the wide mouth grille sports a right-justified Cobra badge while HID headlights fill out of the corners. Amber turn signals are incorporated into the bumper cover as are deeply inset driving lights that sit just above a composite chin spoiler. The engine bay is protected by a bulging vented hood which matches the overall look perfectly. The side profile wears large Cobra badges with GT500 lettering as well as textured composite side skirts that flow into the texture trim gracing the bottom of the rear bumper cover. Just above, triple taillights and a chrome faux gas cap sit under a low-rise spoiler, completing the classic Mustang look. The package is aggressive, attractive and something you certainly won’t get tired of seeing in your garage.
The 500 horsepower supercharged V8 was influenced heavily by Fords own GT super car and delivers a muscle car that is both fast and an instant collectible. Utilizing an iron block with a forged steel crank, forged steel connecting rods, forged aluminum pistons, aluminum heads and dual overhead camshafts, the supercharged 5.4 liter modular V8 makes great muscle car sounds while providing surprising efficiency and a docile nature. Twist the key and the 5.4-liter V8 rumbles to life, sending its bass notes down a 2.5-inch exhaust that features an X-pipe and dual tips. Goose the throttle and an Eaton M122 supercharger pumps 10 to 12 PSI into the combustion chambers, and the engine zings towards redline. This particular GT500 has a few extra tricks up its sleeve in the form of a carbon fiber JLT cold air intake, underdrive pulleys, and a DiabloSport Predator U7145 tuner. The tuner allows control of several parameters such as WOT spark adjust and WOT fuel adjust. Set everything just right and, in combination with the CAI and pulleys, DiabloSport claims gains of over 80hp at the rear wheels. While that may seem a little optimistic to the uninitiated, a quick trip around the parking lot will make you a believer.
Take a look underneath this pony car and you’ll find an undercarriage as equally untouched as the rest of the car. No dirt, no road grime – just clean Shelby engineering on display. At the center of the car, a Tremec TR-6060 six-speed allows the driver to select gears quickly and efficiently thanks to close gear ratios and short throws while a rear differential packed with 3.55 gears ensures quick launches and reasonable highway cruising. Around the drivetrain, an SVT-tuned suspension featuring stiffened spring rates, dampers, stabilizer bars and a strut tower which help out significantly in the twisties. When it comes time to rein the 5.4L V8 in, massive Brembo brakes up front work in harmony with Ford rear discs to stop the car dead in its tracks. This is world class braking – the kind that leaves seatbelt bruises if you aren’t careful. Connecting the slick chassis to the road is a set of awesome 18-inch SVT wheels wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1’s for superior grip.
Peek through the window and a driver-friendly leather-wrapped interior looks back. Highly bolstered sport seats with a retro stitch pattern and Cobra logos fit like a glove and provide plenty of support while a leather-clad and red stitched steering wheel with convenient thumb grips sports a snake on its hub and includes buttons for the cars cruise control. Behind the steering wheel, the silver trimmed instrument panel is stock Mustang, and features Fords infinitely changeable dash lighting. The graphite faces with white lettering have a small SVT logo that serves as a programmable shift light which along with aluminum accented pedals and an aluminum accented and red stitched shifter tips you off to the car’s pedigree. The dash around those instruments is some of Fords best modern work featuring a heritage inspired dual cowl design with gray trim with silver accents. At the center of the dash, Fords Shaker sound system features an AM/FM radio, a six disc CD changer, Sirius satellite radio and MP3 compatibility above knobs for the cars climate control. At the sides, the door panels feature large speakers below satin finished door handles and controls for the cars power windows, power door locks and power mirrors. There are no visible signs of wear in this interior and everything works as it should, from the ice cold air conditioning to the powerful entertainment system.
The sale of this GT500 includes the original owner’s guide, supplemental Shelby manual, maintenance guide and even the tire warranty booklet (which is fairly dry reading if you were wondering). You also get the Predator tuner so you can get busy finding your own perfect settings.
Even without the rarity factor, this would be Mustang worthy of any performance enthusiast. With a lightly modified powerplant, plenty of power across the board and nearly universal appeal, it’s hard to think of a more desirable American car in this price range. Add in the Shelby name, limited production and low original miles and this thoroughbred starts looking like a great investment. If you’ve got room for one of the baddest production Mustangs ever assembled, don’t miss the chance to own this awesome 2000 GT500.