Americans are easy to please in car terms. They have been since the 60’s really. You just need to make sure you’ve spent about 10 quid on the 1 million ‘cubic inch’ (because they struggle to spell ‘litre’ properly) V8 engine – and with some extra pocket money, a supercharger, salvaged the other parts from the local breakfast, put it together in some special sort of body and test it on the 1/4 mile drag strip.
The result is a car with the power of, according to how successful you are, either a power station or a toaster. And, no matter what, the weight of two moons. Then when you try to turn the wheel, the broken plate that forms the suspension will not actually turn at all and you will plough straight on. Provided the engine hasn’t blown from running at the top speed of 4mph for too long.
I don’t like any muscle cars. You hear people talking of their history and their stunning looks, and while some have perhaps looked wild enough to ask me to glimpse briefly at the often ridiculous styling feature that makes it so, mostly they don’t differentiate enough. They’re all too slow at the top end, too hopeless in corners and, come to think of it, not even any good at 1/4 miles anymore. Not since 4WD came along. Or even other rear-wheel-drive cars.
American car makers have grown up since then and vaguely gone and matched what the modern world might pass as a vehicle as opposed to a tortoise shell. But this car you see here has unfortunately gone back to the bonkers way, and has matched its power with what the muscle car world would have called maddening – except in a modern form. The latest of probably 1 million different Shelby GT500s.
Except this one really does deserve some notation because it has a power figure of 662bhp. Six Six Two. That’s fucking mental. But the real question, can the paper-thin plastic-bag Mustang body actually handle it?
Well, it does alright in this game. It is, in fact, a fine effort. But not a flawless one by any means
The engine makes itself felt immediately. 662bhp is plenty even when actually, it’s still hauling 1733kg – which is still muscle car standard weight unfortunately. A torque figure of 631 ft-lb certainly helps it along as well, and you can expect high speed at all times.
Needless to say though, that the cornering is not quite so sweet. It’s not bad at all, but it never stays straight with so much power going to the back wheels. One bit of throttle and it’s doing the Big Gay Dance like King Dedede, only without the penguin look.
The sliding itself is controllable…most of the time. It rather depends at what point it starts. At a typical mid-corner starting point, you will be fine. But on the (all new!) Apricot Hill Raceway circuit, the first turn is unusual for the GT500. It will get through the first section fine, but it has a lot of difficulty slowing down for the second braking point – and usually it’s enough to put at least a light foot on the nearby gravel. At that point it really is Goodbye Mr Tom, as the car immediately decides to throw itself away into the nearby wall. To counter this, the obvious solution is; simply drive Apricot Hill in reverse. It’s actually a match for the normal layout in my opinion, unlike many other original circuits which don’t feel so slick the wrong way round.
The sound from the V8 in question is, thanks to this car’s popularity, quite open to criticism. Certainly, though the V8 sound itself is probably quite weak, it does match the car well. However the main note with the sound is from views outside of chase cam, whereby the prominent sound by far is the killer supercharger that pumps the engine up to its mad value of 662bhp. Though even that sounds slightly off, its presence is clear for all to hear and feel as it delivers sheer hell onto the road.
The looks…well, it just looks the same as the modern Mustang. And I think it looks probably OK. I’ve never cared about the looks of muscle cars. And I never will.
The GT500 is a very speedy machine, and it does suck you in well with that. It did with me. Don’t drive it sensibly, or even try to, because you sort of can’t. Hooliganism is king in this supercharged beast of a Mustang – and it works a treat. Oh, and it does only cost 55,000 Cr. Quite an insane value indeed.
But I’m not necessarily a fan of it. It’s a good car, but it still doesn’t hit the spot because it doesn’t achieve anything more than an impressive power figure. It has caught the eye, though. And a muscle car that really can do that is a strong one in my mind.