In the world of automotive design, there are few names bigger than Carroll Shelby. The famed designer is indelibly linked to some of the most storied sports cars of all time, including the Shelby Mustang. In many ways, Shelby’s partnership with Ford is at least partially responsible for the Mustang’s rise to prominence, within the performance car landscape.
Sadly, in 2012, the automotive world lost Carroll Shelby, who passed away at age 89. Almost immediately, Ford, Ford Racing, and Shelby American hashed out plans to build a specialty car in tribute to the late Shelby. Of course, a GT500 Mustang became the natural choice for such memorial efforts. The ultimate result of these efforts would yield the 2013 Mustang Shelby GT500 Cobra, a fitting tribute to the visionary for which it was named.
A Team Effort
From the very beginning, the 2013 Shelby GT500 Cobra’s development was a joint effort. Ford, Ford Racing, and Shelby American all chipped in to produce the one-off tribute to Carrol Shelby, with each entity contributing several components toward the build.
Ford contributed the base vehicle for this build, a 2013 GT500, which was powered by a 662 horsepower 5.8-liter V8. This engine was then fitted with a 4.0 Whipple supercharger, provided by Ford Racing. This increased the GT500 Cobra’s total output to 850 horsepower.
This immense output was transferred to the pavement through a set of 20-inch rear wheels, which measured 13-inches in width. These wheels were encased in a set of 345 rear tires, which were substantially larger than stock offerings. Up front, the commemorative Shelby featured a pair of 20×10 wheels, which sported similar high-performance tires. Housed within the GT500’s wheels, were a set of high-performance Shelby/Wilwood brakes.
Not to be outdone, Shelby American offered up a number of specialty cosmetic upgrades that would ultimately provide the GT500 Cobra with its signature look. This included the addition of wider body panels and a custom hood. These upgrades, especially those pertaining to the GT500 Cobra’s wide body kit, presented the commemorative Mustang with a look reminiscent of that of many early Shelby designs.
In yet another nod to Shelby tradition, the 2013 Shelby GT500 Cobra was painted Guardsman Blue and sported white striping. This exact livery was worn by numerous Shelby race cars, some 50 years prior.
A Fitting Tribute
If there was one thing that Carroll Shelby did well, it was building performance-minded cars that would ultimately become timeless classics. Those behind the Shelby GT500 Cobra’s design exemplified this same ideology, ultimately churning out a one-off Mustang that even Carroll Shely himself would have been proud to sit behind the wheel of.
The Shelby GT500 Cobra not only carried a look of tenacity but performed to a degree that left no doubt as to its on-track credibility. With a top-rated speed in excess of 200 MPH, one can only assume that Carroll Shelby, himself, would have been proud for the GT500 Cobra to carry his name.
2013 GT500 Cobra Specifications
5.8L V8 Supercharged
631 lb-ft torque
2013 GT500 Cobra Color
The 2013 GT500 Cobra was Guardsman Blue with White Stripes in honor of the Cobra Roadster from the 1960’s.