Ford launched its SVT (Special Vehicle Team) line at the 1992 Chicago Auto Show. The first vehicles were the 1993 SVT Mustang Cobra and the SVT F-150 Lighting.
This year, Ford celebrates SVT’s 20th anniversary by unveiling the latest specially-equipped pony car, the 2013 Shelby GT500 COnvertible, at the Chicago show.
The mark the occasion, Shelby GT500s will have a commemorative lighted sill plate.
While honoring the past, the latest Mustang shows how far SVT has come. The 1993 SVT Mustang Cobra had a 235-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 engine, which offered pretty hot performance for the time. The 2013 Shelby GT500 has a supercharged, 5.8-liter, 650-horsepower V8 that easily beat the track times of the previous models.
“The Shelby GT500 convertible is every bit the performer that the coupe is,” said Kerry Baldori, SVT chief engineer. “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.”
In addition to the storming V8, the Shelby GT500 has all-new chassis tuning and optional SVT-designed Bilstein electronic adjustable dampers. Selected with the push of a button, Normal mode gives customers a more comfortable ride while Sport mode is all about performance, delivering improved response time on the track and less body roll while cornering with reduced pitch under braking.
A new Brembo brake system also is a key player. The new brakes offer drivers enhanced stopping power to help keep their car under control, while new six-piston calipers in front along with larger front and rear rotors further improve braking performance. More aggressive brake pads also help the car achieve high deceleration and further robustness for more driver confidence.
Similar to the coupe, the convertible will be offered with a Performance Package that also can be upgraded to a Track Package, complete with an external engine oil cooler, rear differential cooler and transmission cooler for further durability.