Ford To Unveil 2013 Shelby GT500 Mustang in Chicago

Ford Motor Co. said it will unveil the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 convertible today at a press preview for the Chicago Auto Show. The 650-horsepower muscle-car’s debut marks the 20th anniversary of the car maker’s Special Vehicle Team, or SVT.

The SVT unit, which modifies some of Ford’s standard models to improve their performance, has turned out more than 210,000 cars and trucks during the last 20 years. The lineup includes Ford GT, Mustang Cobra R, SVT F-150 Lightning, F-150 SVT Raptor and Shelby GT500KR. There were also SVT versions of more modest vehicles like the Focus economy car and Contour midsize sedan.

Ford’s hotrod division also has a long relationship with the Chicago show, where in 1992 it launched its first vehicles, the 1993 SVT Mustang Cobra and SVT F-150 Lightning. Times have changed in the performance-car world since then. The 1993 SVT Mustang Cobra had a 235-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 engine, which was serious muscle back then.

The 5.8-liter aluminum-block V8 in the latest GT500 is supercharged to generate a tire-spinning 600 lb.-ft. of torque in addition to 650 horses. Ford says the new engine is the most powerful production V8 in the world.

While special Performance and Track packages are available to sharpen the GT500’s handling and make the most of its power on a racing track, an adjustable suspension is designed to keep the ride comfortable enough for everyday driving.

Ford will build the 2013 Shelby GT500 at its AutoAlliance International factory in Flat Rock, Mich.