Hulk Hogan's back in the ring
No doubt, the Ford Mustang is enjoying a brilliant career. One of the highlights of its life, however, is to be the only Pony Car to have always been in production. Pony Cars, which are basically rear-wheel drive sports coupes with powerful and fuel-thirsty V8 engines, don’t make sense in a time when we’re struggling to save the planet.
But it's still here.
The Shelby GT500, the crown jewel of Mustangs, could very well be the automotive equivalent of Hulk Hogan. This oiled-up dude never seems to get old and made my weekends brighter as a kid when I used to watch WWF matches on TV. That was before my dad and brother told me the WWF was all fake, which caused periods of denial, therapy and medication. I’m doing much better now.
Every wrestler was strong and surprisingly capable for their size and lack of brains, but Hulk Hogan was mega-strong. Or at least that’s what it looked like.
The GT500 distinguishes itself from lesser Mustangs mainly by its engine. We’re talking here about a 32-valve, supercharged and intercooled, 5.4-litre V8 monster that bolts out 550 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. How strong is that? Remember Hulk Hogan lifting all 500-plus pounds of André the Giant and body-slamming him? THAT strong.
We’re also talking about a 0-100 km/h time of 4.5 seconds, and a quarter-mile time of 12.5 seconds at 185 km/h. Supercharged engines are few and far between in production cars these days, and the compressor’s characteristic whine at full throttle is something special to hear. Actually, and if you listen carefully, the GT500’s supercharger doesn’t whine, but rather sings Hulk’s entrance song: “I am a real American, fight for the rights of every man!”
For 2011, every Mustang gets a new or reworked engine. In the case of the Shelby, the 5.4-litre V8 sheds its iron block for an aluminum one. The engine gains 10 horses and torque is unchanged but peaks at 4,250 RPM instead of 4,500. Minor gains, yes, but the V8 now weighs 102 pounds less, which is noteworthy. Less weight on the front end means less understeer, which is always a good thing.
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