Quick Drive: 624-HP 2014 Shelby Mustang GT Drops at L.A. Auto Show
Exhaust note is superb. How about the rest of it?
Its namesake and founder may have passed away but Shelby is still going strong at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show. Despite the fact that a new Mustang is about two weeks away, Shelby today unveiled the 2014 Shelby GT and Shelby GT/SC in L.A. Based on the current-generation Ford Mustang GT, we lucked out and got a chance to drive the top-spec 624-hp version a week before its debut.
While those sick of Shelby's shtick will find nothing to be excited about in the 2014 Shelby GT and GT/SC, it is a pretty cool package. Paying homage to the 2007 Ford Shelby GT, the new Shelby GT takes a standard 2011-2014 Mustang GT, and upgrades it to make it look, sound, and drive better. Visually, the Shelby GT gets a unique front bumper complete with a billet grille, a Shelby-designed fiberglass hood, carbon-look hood louvers, and stripes. The interior also gets outfitted with Katzkin leather, and the Shelby-required number plaque with Carroll Shelby's signature. Functional upgrades on the Shelby GT include a Ford Racing suspension, upgraded brakes, a short-throw shifter, Shelby wheels, a cold air intake, and a Borla exhaust, among a few other things. With the upgrades, Shelby says the GT's 5.0-liter V-8 makes 430-hp, up 10-hp from stock. The Shelby GT package costs $14,995 on top of the 2014 Mustang GT's $30,900 base price.
If you've got a bit more dough, though, you can get much more power. Shelby is also offering the supercharged 2014 Shelby GT/SC. The Shelby GT/SC gets upgraded with a Whipple supercharger, making either 525 hp, or 624 hp, like in the version we sampled. Other upgrades to the 2014 GT/SC include Wildwood brakes (6-piston front, 4-rear), a full Eibach coil over suspension, and additional cooling bits. The Shelby GT/SC starts at $27,995 for the 525 hp version. We imagine the big boy version will cost around $30,000 or so.
Before its debut today at the L.A. auto show, Shelby loaned us the 624-hp 2014 Shelby GT/SC for a couple hours to sample. The Shelby GT/SC really left me with mixed feelings. First the good: the Shelby sounds so incredibly good. Everywhere you go you're accompanied by a symphony of roars, crackles, and pops as the GT/SC converts dead dinosaurs into little explosions. I could have listened to that exhaust note all day -- especially fully running it up through the rev range through tunnels. I was also pleasantly surprised with how smooth the power delivery is, with no hiccups in power -- a sign of a good, solid tune. And while the GT/SC rode rough, it ultimately felt much more drivable than the factory Ford Shelby GT500.
And then there's the bad: the 2014 Shelby GT/SC just didn't feel all that special. It just felt like a tuned Mustang, and nothing more; a Shelby should feel more special than that. Shelby used to be known for its innovation, and now things have changed. It feels like Shelby's just been going through the motions. But at the end of the day, I guess it comes down to expectations: Shelby has just changed. Hammering that point home to me was my drive up to the old Shelby headquarters in Venice Beach, where some of the first Shelby Cobras were made in the '60s. Now they sit mostly empty and vacant, waiting for a new tenant to breathe some life into them. I think Shelby's still waiting for a breath of fresh air too.