The horsepower wars of the 1960s, as they involved muscle cars, seem pathetically wimpy compared to what’s taking place today. Ford has just thrown down a lead-lined gauntlet, boasting that the 2020 version of the Mustang-based Shelby GT500 will produce an honest 760hp and 625-lbs.ft. of torque from 5.2 supercharged liters of displacement. That’s a direct shot fired across the bow of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and specifically, its Dodge Challenger Hellcat, which the new Shelby will clearly out-power in its newest guise. In fact, the GT500 will stand as the most powerful street-legal Ford automobile ever produced.
As you gaze in respectful silence at this newest destroyer from Dearborn, consider a few facts. First, the GT500 will be offered only with a seven-speed Tremec automatic transmission; no conventional clutched manual would dare be used to harness this kind of output. And while Ford guarantees the performance figures, it’s quick to note that they are only achieved through the use of premium unleaded fuel, no low-cost proposition these days. Still, the blown V-8 will move the GT500 right to the pinnacle of American performance cars in terms of pure numbers, outstripping both the Hellcat and the 600hp Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 – at least for now. This is a welcome frenzy that shows no signs of abating soon. I have to say, I just wish Ol’ Shel was still around to see and drive this.