Return of the King - The Ford Shelby GT500KR

To be announced at this month's New York Auto Show, the latest 'King of the Road' from Ford will feature Shelby badging and a 5.4-litre supercharged V-8 producing 540 HP. Called the Ford Shelby GT500KR, in honour of the original 1968 model, the new car will be available for delivery in spring 2008, as a strictly limited edition (of 1,000 units) model.

The modern Shelby GT500KR is based on the standard production GT500, but has a Ford Racing Power Upgrade Pack that boosts engine output by around 40 HP. In 1968 the original car was offered with two 'big-block' motors, the 428CJ version (428 cubic inch) producing a claimed 335 HP although contemporary testers believe the figure was 'close to 500' in its most potent form.

Return of the King - The Ford Shelby GT500KR Return of the King - The Ford Shelby GT500KR

So the new car will be endowed with increased power and a much more sophisticated chassis and braking set-up than its ancestor, having large 14-inch Brembo front brakes, while the suspension has been modified with 'an emphasis on race-inspired handling' and a 3.73:1 rear axle ratio and short-throw gearshift should ensure snappy performance. The new car comes complete with a Ford Racing performance exhaust system for that authentic V8 'warble'.

The Shelby GT500KR coupe also has a custom carbon composite hood with scoops and stainless steel twist-down hood pins, a lower front air dam with chrome-trimmed functional brake ducts, 40th Anniversary exterior badging, unique striping and a distinctive interior with Carroll Shelby-signature embroidered seats and a 40th Anniversary numbered dash plaque.

The show car wears exclusive, Shelby-designed 20-inch, forged, polished aluminum wheels with special custom center caps, mounted on Pirelli rubber. Production models will arrive with an 18-inch version of the design.

Text: Classic Driver
Photos: Ford

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