The new SVT 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 convertible

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This year’s Chicago Auto Show saw the release of the SVT (Special Vehicle Team) Ford Shelby GT500 convertible for 2013, complete with 650 horses in the Mustang’s corral.

Twenty years ago, the 1993 SVT Mustang Cobra had a 5 liter V8 engine producing 235 horsepower, but the 2013 Shelby GT500 convertible has a 5.8 liter supercharged V8 producing 650 horsepower, which Ford says makes it the most powerful production V8 in the world.

2013 Ford Shelby GT500 convertible. 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 convertible.

An optional Performance Package, which includes SVT-designed Bilstein electronic dampers, coupled with all-new chassis tuning and new Brembo brake system, sees the 2013 model setting times around the Sebring International Raceway almost 3.5 seconds quicker than the previous models.

To do this, the powertrain has been optimized with a new supercharger, new cross-drilled block and heads, updated camshaft profiles, new carbon fiber driveshaft, and upgraded clutch, transmission and axle.  SVT has also revised nearly every gear to better manage the torque produced by the 5.8 liter V8.

Ride is adjustable between “normal” mode and “sports” mode and the new Bilstein dampers are key to the SVT engineers being able to tune the vehicle more aggressively for the track, while still maintaining comfort for the road.

Ford has not revealed any further performance or pricing details for the Shelby GT500 convertible, but it is due to go on sale later this year.  It will be an instant “classic” which should be put in a time capsule to be opened in 50 years.