When most Americans think of iconic cars, the Ford Mustang is likely to be at the top of the list. The first-generation Mustang was produced from 1964 until 1973. Ford had originally expected to sell 100,000 vehicles annually but ended up becoming the most successful vehicle launch since the company launched the Model A in 1927. It was so popular that Ford managed to sell 400,000 units in the first year and 1,000,000 units in two years of its initial launch. The sports car was named after the World War II-era P-51 Mustang, a long-range fighter bomber by Ford’s executive stylist John Najjar.
Over the years, the Mustang has swung between two extremes of being a powerful muscle car and a not-so-powerful compact. In 2021, the Ford Mustang has reclaimed its place as a competitive muscle car. According to MotorTrend, “For the new model year, the Blue Oval revealed a new Carbon Fiber Handling package for the top-dog 2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, incorporating a suite of track-focused goodies for those that don’t want to make the full jump to the pricey Carbon Fiber Track Pack.”
What the 2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 has to offer
While the regular 2021 Ford Mustang is still pretty good for the average buyer, those who wear lead shoes when they drive may prefer the Shelby GT500. It boasts a 760-hp supercharged 5.2-liter V8 that promises all kinds of mayhem. Even with all of that power, it has an athleticism similar to smaller and lighter sports cars. Ford didn’t make a manual transmission available, but it doesn’t need one because the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is the next best thing. Car and Driver gave it a score of 9.0 out of 10 and placed it on its Editor’s Choice list.
This rear-wheel-drive-only sports coupe produces 625 lb-ft of torque. That much power typically isn’t optimal for a quick launch. However, the 2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in just 3.4 seconds. Along with the 797-hp Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and 650-hp Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE, the Shelby GT500 is an American-made muscle car that will make people think twice before buying an exotic model. That’s because it also makes for a great sports car, beating supercars like the Lamborghini Huracán EVO.
An $18,500 Carbon Fiber Track Pack
Ford gave its most expensive and powerful flow production car the highest-priced optional package. It’s called the “Carbon Fiber Track Pack” and will set you back $18,500, which costs more than some new sports cars like the 2021 Kia Forte or 2021 Hyundai Accent. This new carbon fiber track package adds 20-inch painted carbon-fiber wheels, Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tires, rear seat delete, exposed carbon-fiber instrument panel, exposed carbon-fiber GT4 track wing, adjustable strut top mounts, ebony RECARO leather-trimmed seats, splitter wickers, and a wheel locking kit.
Ford is also offering a carbon-fiber handling package that includes 20-inch painted carbon-fiber wheels similar to those included in the more pricey carbon-fiber track package. The handling package costs $10,000 and adds an oil catch can, wheel locks, and adjustable strut top mounts.
Three new colors are also available: Carbonized Gray Metallic, Grabber Yellow, and Antimatter Blue. According to Ford’s website, the 2021 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 has a starting MSRP of $72,900. After the carbon-fiber track package, the price jumps to $91,400. The carbon-fiber handling package will raise the price to $82,900.
An overview of all the Mustang configurations
Ford offers nine other Mustang configurations beyond the Shelby GT500. They include the Ford Mustang EcoBoost Fastback, EcoBoost Convertible, GT Fastback, GT Convertible, BULLITT, Mach 1, Mach 1 Premium, Shelby GT350, and Shelby GT350R. Another Ford model bearing the Mustang name is the Mustang Mach-E, the first fully electric SUV from Ford. However, it’s not listed among the Mustang coupes.
The two most affordable models are the 2020 EcoBoost Fastback and the regular 2021 Ford Mustang, both costing $27,155. The more mid-range models are the GT Premium Fastback costing $40,120 and the GT Premium Convertible costing $45,620. And while the Shelby GT500 has the most horsepower, each Mustang configuration offers above-average power.
For example, the 2.3-liter EcoBoost gets 310 hp with 350 lb-ft of torque. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost with the High-Performance Package is 332 hp with 350 lb-ft of torque.
At the more mid-level price range, you have the GT models featuring a 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8 that produces 460 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. It also has port fuel direct injection, a more precise method of getting fuel into cylinders than its predecessor, the carburetor. An article published by Car and Driver stated that “Ford currently is the dominant player with what it calls dual-fuel, high-pressure direct injection (DI) and lower-pressure port injection (PI).”
The Mach 1 is also powered by a 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8 that produces 480 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. It features a 6-speed manual transmission with rev-matching, 20% downforce than a Mustang GT (if you add the Performance Pack Level 1), and two side heat exchangers for added track endurance.