Ford Shelby GT500KR “King of the Road” Returns in 2008
Celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the original Shelby Cobra GT500KR, Ford and Shelby collaborate on a new ‘King of the Road’ Mustang with the 2008 Shelby GT500KR. Ford Shelby GT500KR features an estimated 540-hp 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 with a Ford Racing Power Upgrade Pack, 3.73:1 rear axle ratio, short-throw shifter, and unique suspension tuning. Exterior design draws inspiration from the classic Shelby KR Mustangs and features unique carbon composite hood, wheels, and special 40th Anniversary badging and unique striping.
Crowning the New “King of the Road”
Gary Davis, vice president of production and product development for Shelby Automobiles, played a key role in defining the look of the custom designed carbon composite hood for the GT500KR. His knowledge of the original GT500KR helped sculpt a modern interpretation of the original’s bulging hood scoop, a visual indication of the extra horsepower packed beneath it. The hood is secured by a pair of stainless steel, twist-down hood pins. The composite front valance houses a pair of chrome-trimmed, functional brake ducts to cool the large 14-inch, vented Brembo front brakes.
Side stripes are true to the original KR right down to the font used for the ‘GT500KR’ lettering, while the classic LeMans-style striping that races down the center of the car has been deleted between the leading forward edge of the hood scoops and the front of the hood, accenting the scoops and giving the KR its distinctive face. “That was Shelby’s idea,” said Gaffka. “It’s a special touch that adds some down-the-road differentiation. There will be no doubt that it’s a ‘King of the Road’ Mustang that’s filling up your rearview mirrors.”
The show car wears exclusive, Shelby-designed 20-inch, forged, polished aluminum wheels with special custom center caps, mounted on Pirelli rubber. Production models will arrive with an 18-inch version of the design.
Each KR model is identified by special 40th Anniversary KR badges on the fenders and grille, distinctive body colored mirror caps and Shelby lettering stretching across the front of the hood and along the rear portion of the deck lid. A special Shelby VIN tag is affixed to each vehicle, mounted in the engine compartment.
The all-leather interior features Carroll Shelby signature embroidered headrests and an official Shelby CSM 40th Anniversary GT500KR dash plate mounted at the top of the center stack.
The KR’s 5.4-liter V-8 Gets the Royal Treatment
Just like its namesake, the 2008 ‘King of the Road’ packs a walloping dose of Ford performance power under its massive composite hood scoops. The Ford SVT-engineered 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 is treated to a Ford Racing Power Upgrade Pack that boosts horsepower to an estimated 540 and torque to 510 lb-ft, thanks to revised ignition and throttle calibration and a cold air intake system that replaces the stock unit.
Calibration modifications include advancing the ignition timing as well as re-mapping of the electronic throttle settings to provide quicker throttle response for better off-line and mid-range acceleration. Increased throttle response will be met with a sharper roar from the Ford Racing-inspired exhaust system.
Power is delivered to the rear wheels through a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission and 3.73:1 rear axle ratio, upgraded from the standard GT500’s 3.31:1. Gear selection is courtesy of an all-new Ford Racing short-throw shifter making its debut on the KR. Topped with a white ball, the new shifter is 25 percent shorter than the unit on the GT500 providing for crisper, sharper shifts.
Ford SVT, Ford Racing and Team Shelby worked together to develop the KR’s suspension tuning. Based on initial work by Ford Racing and the team at Shelby, often at Shelby’s own facility on the grounds of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Ford SVT chassis engineers will apply fine tuning techniques to prepare it for the streets.
The Shelby GT500KR will be produced in an exclusive run of 1000 units and will begin arriving in Ford dealers in the spring of 2008.
2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR – Specifications and Design Highlights
• 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 producing an estimated 540-horsepower and 510 ft.-lbs. of torque
• Ford Racing Power Upgrade Pack featuring revised calibration and cold air intake system
• 6-speed manual transmission with 3.73:1 rear axle ratio
• Ford Racing performance exhaust system
• Unique performance suspension tuning: springs, dampers, and stabilizer bars
• Shelby-designed ‘GT500KR’ 20-inch wheels (18-inch version for production)
• Ford Racing short-throw shifter and front strut tower brace
• Unique carbon composite hood featuring classic Shelby ‘KR’ design
• Front brake cooling ducts
• ‘Shelby’ lettering across the front edge of hood and rear decklid
• 40th Anniversary badges on the front quarter panels
• Carroll Shelby signature embroidered headrests and floor mats
• Official Shelby CSM 40th Anniversary GT500KR dash plate