A Ford Mustang convertible is to many a highly emotional machine, an icon of American motoring that evokes images of classic Detroit iron cruising Woodward Avenue or blasting down drag strips in all-muscle throwdowns. Now, stir in a raucous, Texas-size helping of horsepower and enough go-fast bits to shake a snake at, and the outcome is some serious Motown mojo: the 2010 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 convertible.
Honest in its Mission
Although the latest Shelby GT500 coupe is more capable and confidence-inspiring in the twisties than ever, it’s no sports car. And for the convertible version, Ford softened things up a bit, knowing that most owners will treat it as a Sunday cruiser and are willing to sacrifice some back-road composure for a more forgiving ride.
And so the 2010 GT500 convertible sports softer springs and dampers than the coupe, as well as 18-inch wheels in place of the hardtop’s 19s. The suspension changes and extra tire sidewall make for a fairly comfy ride. But nearly everything else mechanical is the same, including the 540-hp, supercharged, 5.4-liter V-8 and six-speed manual gearbox. Compared with the previous GT500 coupe and convertible, the new crop of Shelbys have revised steering and shorter rear-end gearing as well. While chopping the top often means packing on the beef, at 4000 pounds even, the softtop is less than 100 pounds heavier than the coupe. Overall performance is commensurately close: 60 mph comes in 4.7 seconds versus the coupe’s 4.6, and the quarter-mile is conquered in 13.0 seconds at 112 mph versus 12.9 at 113. The convertible’s front/rear weight distribution actually is slightly better (57/43 versus the coupe’s 58/42), as is its 70–0 braking figure (172 feet versus 182).
While we understand the point of the less aggressive suspension—any firmer and the quivering windshield support and cowl would shake the rearview and side mirrors loose—the resulting pitching and rolling of the body is like going back in time 40 years, when chassis dynamics took a back seat to the quest for ever-greater horsepower. Combined with the wind in your hair and the cacophony of engine and exhaust noises, the way the big Shelby rears up under power and points its nose skyward is akin to skippering a 16-foot powerboat. Here is where we’d usually proclaim such a vehicle a disappointment and lambaste its makers for failing to embrace the modern age. But the thing about the GT500 convertible is that these characteristics feel right, and its loud, brash, and charmingly primitive behavior remind us exactly what we all love and cherish about muscle cars.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door convertible
BASE PRICE: $53,700 (base price: $53,175)
Displacement: 303 cu in, 5411cc
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
C/D TEST RESULTS:
News Source: Internet