Test Drive: 2008 Ford Shelby GT500

I knew I had the right car from the moment I picked up the 2008 Ford Shelby GT500. Not only did the lovely young lady at the pay-n-park lot refuse to charge me for the car?s parking bill, she flirted and asked if I could take her along for a ride.

Oh yeah, this car?s going to work out just fine.

On the surface, the GT500 looks like a Mustang ? it?s got the same DNA. But as the Ford people are quick to point out, you won?t find the word ?Mustang? anywhere on the car. This is a Shelby GT500, and that?s that.

The GT500 offers you a supercharged 500 HP 480 lb-ft version of Ford?s 5.4-Liter 32-valve V8 engine, mated to a 6-speed manual transmission and limited slip rear end. Stopping power is provided by four-piston Brembo calipers fitted to 14-inch Brembo vented rotors up front, and 11.8-inch vented discs in the rear. Wheels are 18 by 9.5 inches, which lets the GT500 keep some serious meats under the fenders.

But you can still lay a patch of rubber 100 yards long without hardly trying.

Inside, the car is at once retro and incredibly functional. The GT500 is comfortable, fun, and all business. You can get a Navigation system in this car, but who needs it? Look out the windshield if you want to see where you?re going!? There?s a stereo with enough punch to override the roar of the engine, but really, all you need is one CD of your favorite driving songs on infinite repeat ? Cue up ?Welcome to the Jungle? by Guns-n-Roses and put your foot down, already.

New for 2008 is an optional 7-color programmable ambient lighting feature. Ford says this allows owners to choose colorful interior lighting to fit their mood.

Mood. I?ll tell you what your mood is. Get into this car and your mood is fast, loud, and altogether unreasonable. If that?s not your mood, check yourself for a pulse and call a cab.

Trunk space in the GT500 is….you know, I don?t think I even looked.? Not that it matters ? the car?s got a back seat and it?s a Ford. Let?s assume it?s got a good trunk. For the same reasons, I paid no attention to fuel mileage ? if you?re shopping this car, it?s fair to assume you?re not also considering a Prius. Did I mention the 500 ponies and 480 lb-ft of grunt?

To own one of these fantastic muscle-machines will set you back $41,930 ? at least that?s what Ford thinks it should be. I?ll bet my Friday night beer money that the dealers will ask for (and get) a premium on the GT500.

Oh yeah, the car comes with cup holders, but I can?t see that you?d ever use them. Believe me, the way the young ladies ask if they can hop in the passenger seat for a spin, you can just hand over your drink and say ?try not to spill this, sweetie.?

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