The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is undoubtedly one of the wildest cars on the market right now. Not only that, it’s the most powerful production Mustang ever built. With a supercharged V8 kicking out 760 horsepower, the GT500 is no joke. However, it’s suitable for far more than just going in a straight line. The GT500 is a weapon on track, as is appropriate to Carroll Shelby’s SCCA and Le Mans racing history. However, its dedication to handling is the primary reason Ford says there will not be a convertible version.
Convertible GT500 models have historically been available
The first generation of GT500 models built by Ford and Shelby American were available in convertible format. Additionally, when the Shelby namesake made a return to Ford Mustangs in 2005, the GT500 also made a return. Though it took a few years to get there, a convertible offering did eventually come to the table in 2013.
So, one could say that the convertible GT500 is a bit of a tradition. However, one could also say that a GT500 coming with a manual transmission is also a tradition. It seems, then, Ford has no interest in upkeep these traditions in favor of making the GT500 as brutal on track as it could be. That, in essence, is why there will be no convertible.
According to Motor1, Dave Pericack told Ford Authority why the GT500 convertible wouldn’t be coming to fruition. Pericack is the Director of Enterprise Product Line Management – Ford Icons and was the chief engineer on the S550 Mustang generation, of which the current GT500 is part.
Typically, when making a convertible version of a vehicle, chassis rigidity comes into play. Engineers must stiffen the chassis to make up for the lost rigidity from a solid roofline. Like previous generation Mustangs, some cars use stiff rails alongside the bottom of the chassis to make up for the missing roof.
However, Pericack says that in the case of the GT500, the engineering and exotic materials Ford would need to make a convertible variant withstand the ferocious supercharged V8, and lightning-quick eight-speed transmission is impractical. It would likely cost far too much to produce, too.
It seems, at least in the case of a convertible, there is indeed such a thing as too much power.
Those desiring a convertible Shelby will have to revert to the previous generation
Though the breaking of tradition does seem a bit disappointing, it makes a fair bit of sense. The engineering and cost of building a convertible variant are just unreasonable.
An excellent way to look at it is that most of the Shelby Mustangs with authentic racing heritage were coupes. So, in one aspect, the current generation sacrificing the convertible option to dominate the race track is upholding tradition. For that, we think Carroll Shelby would be proud.
Ultimately, shoppers interested in a convertible GT500 will have to take a step back to a used older model. However, the S197 GT500 is, in itself, a great car. Additionally, it does indeed offer a manual transmission. So, manual purists can row through gears by hand while enjoying the top-down experience of a GT500. They’re a whole lot cheaper, too.