Ford Shelby GT500KR : The most powerful Mustang

With Texas-seized fanfare, complete with fireworks and a chili cook-off, Carrol finished his 85th lap of the sun this past March.

For, on the same day he clicked off 85 years, the first example of the latest and perhaps the greatest car to bear his name, the 2008 Shelby GT500KR (as in “King of the Road“), rolled out of the company’s Las Vegas shop. This new KR, which is essentially a 2008 Shelby GT500 Mustang turned up to eleven, was created to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the original King of the Road, a hotted -up version of the already plenty hot 1968 Shelby GT500.

Chatting with Mustang architect Lee Laccoca one day in 1967, ol’ Shel got the wind of plans within Chevrolet to announce a King of the Road version of the Corvette in a scant 2 weeks. The car debuted in April of 1968 with 428ci Cobra Jet V-8 engine, very conservatively rated at 335hp and 440 pf of torque. Before they were done, Shelby and Ford had unleashed 1571 GT500KR Mustangs on an unsuspecting America; 1053 fastback coupes and 518 convertibles. The new KR is a coupe-only model, and among the modern-era Mustangs, it perhaps best recalls the dizzyingly fast Cobra R from 8 yrs ago. Like the Cobra R, the GT500KR as first seems almost too savage and single minded for its own good, monumentally powerful and possessed of preternatural racetrack reflexes.

But the King is vastly more civilized, offering a surprisingly tame Highway ride and amenities the Cobra R never did, including AC, a stereo, and a back seat. You can even specify a DVD-based navigation system and a Sirius Satellite Radio.

The sprawling facility, now home to the Ford Racing High performance Driving School, is the grand undertaking of Utah businessman, Larry Miller, who, in addition to owning more than 40 car dealerships and the Utah Jazz basketball team, happens to be a Shelby and Ford fanatic. Among the inestimably valuable cars in his tidy museum is the very first production Shelby Cobra (CSX2002) and the 1966 Le Mans-winning GT40. There is very little about the Shelby GT500KR that can be described as restrained. To their credit, however, SVT and Shelby exercised a remarkably light touch in the appearance department. Everything that looks different here is different for a purpose.

The KR is a bit more hunkered down than the GT500; it is lower by 20mm up front and 15mm at the rear. A broad carbon fiber front splitter increases downforce over the front wheels by a significant 31% while reducing drag by 3%, and a revised rear spoiler (more petite than the GT500’s) helps cut the car’s drag coefficient from 0.384 to 0.372.

Otherwise, there are the expected stripes and rocker-panel graphics, a handful of the 40th anniversary badges, embroidered head-rests we could do without, a numbered plaque on the dashboard and the hood – a scooped and vented tumescent sculpture in carbon fiber. The suspension is fundamentals unchanged from the rest of the Mustang range – struts up front and a solid axle at the rear – but SVT has revised every aspect of its tune for KR service. During discussions with engineers from SVT and Shelby regarding KR’s handling, the conversation turned to that live axle. “Surely there is a better solution than a big hunk of iron b/w the rear wheels,” say journalists.

“Surely a sophisticated independent rear suspension would better befit a vehicle of the King’s stature and price tag.”

With a burly iron block and aluminium 4-valve heads, the KR’s suprcharges and intercooled 5.4l V-8 is an impressive sight, filling the Mustang’s engine bay like Ray Lewis fills a bathtub. The engine barks to life with 540hp and 510 pound-feet of torque, which is 40 horses and 30 pound-feet more than the standard GT500. Don’t be deceived by this relatively modest bump in output, however. The difference in character b/w the two cars is dramatic – every bit is pronounced as the differences b/w the base Mustang and the GT, and b/w the GT and the GT500. Aerodynamics and underhood air management figured prominently in the KR’s development, motivated by the expectation that more than a few KR owners actually know their way around a racetrack.

Far more than just a style statement, the car’s visually defining twin-nostril carbon fiber composite hood is a terrifically clever piece of kit and a masterfully engineered tool for managing the flow of air.

Technical Specification:



2+2 Fixed-head coupe

No. of Doors


Dimensions & Weight


2720 mm

107.1 in

Track – Front

1572 mm

61.9 in

Track – Rear

1588 mm

62.5 in


4775 mm

188 in


1877 mm

73.9 in


1365 mm

53.7 in

Wheelbase Ratio


Ground Clearance

120 mm

4.7 in

Kerb weight

1771 kg

3904 lb

Weight Distr. (front)


Fuel capacity

60.6 l

13.3 UK Gal


Bore x Stroke

90.22 mm x 105.80 mm

3.55 in x 4.17 in


V-8 in 90 deg Vee


5409 cc


Double Overhead camshaft

4 valves per cylinder

Total 32 valves


Aluminum head

Cast Iron Block


Wet sumped

Compression ratio


Fuel System


Maximum Power

547.5 PS @ 6250 rpm

540.0 bhp (402.7 kW)

Specific Output

99.8 bhp/l

1.64 bhp/cu in

Maximum torque (SAE net)

692.0 Nm @ 4500 rpm

510 ft-lb (70.6kgm)



Bore/Stroke ratio


Unitary Capacity

676.13 cc/cylinder



Compressor Type

1 Roots-type supercharger



Catalytic Converter



Engine Location


Engine Alignment



Rear Wheel Drive


Rack & Pinion PAS

Wheels – Front

9.5 x 18

Wheels – rear

9.5 x 18

Tyres – Front

P255/45 Z-18

Tyres – Rear

P285/40 ZR-18

Brakes – Front

356 mm

Brakes – Rear

300 mm

Top Gear Ratio


Final Drive Ratio



About theultimaterenaissance

I am an Engineer and a Management Graduate. I love writing poetry and research reports on cars. Surfing, listening to music, and Reading and writing Technical & Research papers are among my most savored hobbies.
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7 Responses to Ford Shelby GT500KR : The most powerful Mustang

  1. CarNut says:

    Probably one of the coolest cars of the last decade. Very mean car. If only more affordable It would be in my garage 🙂

  2. d.zelt says:

    I love The Ford mustang shelby cobra gt500 kr & I know it can make 540 h.p ;But I don’t know:

    *what’s the topest & fastest velocity it can make?


    *Howmany second does it need to make his velocity from 0 to 100 km/h?


    *Howmany of 1000 These Ford mustang shelby cobra gt500 krs have sold?

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