Ford Mustangs
---- The truly great American car
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Ford Mustangs

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The Ford Mustang: It's a name that carries a lot of respect. Combine it with the name of legendary car designer Carroll Shelby, and you've got the makings of a truly great American car. The Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 isn't just another souped-up Mustang -- it's the most powerful Mustang to ever roll off a factory production line.

In this article, we'll find out what sets the GT500 apart from other Mustangs.

The Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 is a car that follows a distinctly American approach to high-performance -- give it lots of horsepower and then get out of the way. There are some important differences between the GT500 and the "plain" 2005 Ford Mustang. The 2005 Mustang sports a 4.0-liter SOHC (single overhead cam) V6, which puts out 210 horsepower, and the GT version comes with a V8 capable of 300 horsepower. The GT500 is rated at 500 horsepower.

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It all starts with a 5.4-liter DOHC (dual overhead cam) V8 engine made of cast iron, a powerplant first used in the limited edition Mustang Cobra R.

A screw-type supercharger with an air-to-water intercooler, generating 9 pounds of boost, forces air into the cylinders, each of which has four valves. Many of the engine components, such as the aluminum piston heads and bearings, came from the development of the Ford GT. A T56 six-speed manual transmission is also part of the GT500's powertrain, but there's no technological innovation here. The T56 is a tried-and-true, race-proven transmission that is very capable of handling the V8's horsepower. The gearing is evenly spaced to allow the engine to use all of its torque to drive the rear wheels.

So what does all that hardware get you? According to Ford, the GT500 will generate 500 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 480 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm.

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The Camaro/Mustang rivalry had begun in 1967 with the introduction of the Chevrolet Camaro by General Motors. The Camaro was the largest threat to the lead Ford had in the "pony car" field, a niche of car manufacturing largely created by Ford with the introduction of the Mustang in mid-year 1964. Despite the lead Ford had in this field, the performance of the Mustang did not stack up to that of the Camaro. The small block and big block Chevrolet were more than a match for the 289 and 390 Fords placed in the Mustang. Ford, in an effort to burnish their "total performance" image introduced the 428 Cobra Jet in mid-year 1968, and in 1969, built one of Detroit's most interesting power plants, the Ford Boss 302 engine V8. The design was a composite engine using the "tunnel port" Windsor block and large Cleveland heads.[1] The engine was fitted to Mustangs sold to the public to allow Ford to use the new engine to compete in the Trans-Am series.[2]

The Boss 302 Mustang was designed by Larry Shinoda, a former GM employee. He placed the unique reflective "c-stripe" strips on the car, and eliminated the fake rear fender scoops found on the 1969 Mustang model. The distinctive styling included optional black horizontal rear window shades, blackout hood, and was one of the first production cars with a front spoiler and rear deck wing. The name "Boss" came about when Shinoda was asked what project he was working on, he answered "the boss's car" because the project was a secret.[3] Also Shinoda had called it the "Boss" as an homage to the new President of Ford Semon "Bunkie" Knudson who had brought Shinoda over from GM when Knudson had left. When Parnelli Jones won the 1970 Trans-Am title, the name "Boss" was kept.

A total of 7,013 were produced of the better-known 1970 model which was offered for $3,720. It is recognized by the side "hockey" stripes which started along the top of the hood, along with the 1970 grille which replaced the 4 headlights with two vents in the outside position, retaining two headlights within the grille opening. The dual exhaust system was redesigned, along with the competition suspension and a standard Hurst shifter. The intake valves were smaller, and aluminum valve covers replaced the chrome.[4]

Standard were disc brakes on the front, larger sway bars, heavier duty spindles, reinforced shock towers, a four speed manual transmission, and the solid-lifter Boss 302 V8 engine with its free-breathing Cleveland style heads, which had valves larger than most motors over a third larger in displacement.[1] This "G Code" engine was rated at 290 hp (216 kW).[citation needed]

The 1970 car could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 6.9 seconds. The quarter mile (~400 m) took 14.6 seconds at 98 mph (158 km/h).[5]

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The Boss 302 engine is a high-performance small-block V8 from Ford Motor Company. It was a hybrid of small-block Ford V8s - It used the block of the small Ford Windsor engine and the heads of the larger Ford Cleveland engine. It was created for the SCCA's Trans-Am road racing series, and was fitted to the Boss 302 Mustang.[1]

The high nickel content block has a thicker deck, cylinder walls and beefy 4-bolt main caps. It is identified by screw in freeze plugs on the side of the block, pent roof valve covers, wide heads and a wide intake manifold. A Boss 302 has 8 valve cover bolts (because of the Cleveland heads) as opposed to the standard 302 having 6. The connecting rods are heavy, high strength steel forgings made for high rpm use. The crankshaft is a cross drilled high strength steel forging. The cam and lifters are high lift solid mechanical units.

The wide and large port Cleveland-style heads with staggered valve placement give the Boss 302 high power capabilities. Early units were typically characterized by very large intake and exhaust valves sitting in a small quench style combustion chamber.

The motor has a unique sound as a result of its solid lifter configuration. At idle, properly tuned, the engine has a great deal of 'chatter.'


The first-generation Ford Mustang is the original pony car, manufactured by Ford Motor Company from 1964 until 1973.

It was initially introduced as a hardtop and convertible with the fastback version put on sale the following year. At the time of its introduction, the Mustang, sharing its underpinnings with the Falcon, was slotted into a compact car segment.

With each revision, the Mustang saw an increase in overall dimensions and in engine power. After an initial surge, sales were steadily declining and Ford began working on a new generation Mustang. With the onset of the 1973 oil crisis, Ford was prepared, having already designed the smaller Mustang II for the 1974 model year. This new car had no common components with preceding models.

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As Lee Iacocca's assistant general manager and chief engineer, Donald N. Frey was the head engineer for the Mustang project — supervising the development of the Mustang in a record 18 months[3][4] — while Iacocca himself championed the project as Ford Division general manager. The Mustang prototype was a two-seat, mid-mounted engine roadster, styled in part by Phil Clark.

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