At 760 horsepower, the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is a serious piece of machinery, whether on road or track. But for some folks that number just isn’t good enough, and that’s where the new Shelby Code Red comes in.
Named after a wicked 2008 concept car that never made it into production, the new Code Red Mustang will push out as much as 1,300 hp and 1,000 pound-feet of torque, depending upon what you feed it.
“Code Red is designed to be the pinnacle of Shelby Mustangs,” said Shelby American President Gary Patterson. “While we never put it into production during 2008, many were keen to own one. The current-generation Shelby GT500 is so robust and spectacular that many of the issues we encountered 14 years ago no longer exist.”
An exclusive club
The sort of numbers developed by the Shelby Code Red put it into some extremely rarified company, alongside vehicles like Hennessey Venom F5 and the Bugatti Chiron — and you can add some of the newest electric performance cars, like the newly announced Lucid Air Sapphire.
Unfortunately, Las Vegas-based Shelby American isn’t revealing specs for the Code Red, though we know that the stock Ford Shelby GT500 launches from 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds and hits a rated top speed of 180 mph. It also delivers quarter-mile runs in around 10.6 seconds.
With the Code Red upgrade, the Shelby starts out with the same 5.2-liter V-8 engine as the GT500, but it scraps the stock supercharger in favor of twin turbochargers. And that’s just the start.
The Voodoo engine gets new Manley pistons and connecting rods, new main and head studs, upgraded fuel and oil pumps, new fuel injectors, a high-capacity intercooler, new turbo downpipes leading to an upgraded exhaust system and more.
How much power the package puts out will depend upon your choice of fuel. The Code Red can do just fine on premium 93-octane gasoline, which will get it pushing out 1,000 hp and 780 lb-ft of torque. But those who want the absolute extremes of performance will turn to an E85 ethanol/gas blend that takes the numbers up to 1,300 hp and 1,000 lb-ft.
Of course, you can’t just add more power to a product like the GT500 and stop there. Shelby engineers have come up with a variety of body and suspension upgrades to make sure Code Red drivers can get the most out of their machine.
That includes an adjustable ride-height spring kit, Ford Performance sway bars and adjustable caster/camber plates.
Exterior, interior upgrades
There are new 20-inch Shelby forged aluminum wheels and new tires — sized 305/30/20 in front and 345/30/20 in the back — capable of gripping the pavement when you sent all that torque to the back end.
Shelby has come up with a widebody kit that improves the looks of the stock GT500, but which also offers some useful aerodynamic improvements, as well. These include a new wing, splitter and diffuser. And a new carbon-fiber hood helps shave off a bit of weight.
This is really a car designed for the track, so Shelby has pulled the rear seats, plus installed unique front leather sport seats with a five-point harness bar. There’s plenty of carbon-fiber accent work inside, as well.
As you might expect, those extra ponies don’t come cheap. You start out with a Shelby GT500 — which starts at $73,995 and can push north of $95,000 when fully equipped. The makeover then costs another $209,995.
Oh, and with one exception, Shelby keeps all the parts it takes off the stock GT500. You’ll get back your carbon fiber wheels if the donor car was equipped with that option.
Shelby plans to build 10 Code Red models based on each of the three model years the GT500 has been available, 2020 through 2022.