I remember sitting in my backyard with a bunch of friends, waiting for another friend to join us and hearing a deep hum coming from front yard. My first thought was my neighbor must be moving because it sounded like a moving truck idling in front of my house. At that point my phone chirps and it’s the friend I was waiting on telling me to come to the front of the house. Confused I walked to the front and saw a beautiful black 2008 Mustang, which looked different than any Mustang I had ever seen. There was a slight hood scoop, it had locking hood pins, the wheels were 20″ Alcoa wheels with gigantic brake rotors and cool looking red calipers (everyone has red calipers now-a-days) and it sounded like a sleeping tiger purring in my driveway.
I’m a car guy and I knew what this car was. In 1967 Carol Shelby took it upon himself to make the Mustang GT500 more powerful and better handling. So the Super Snake was born. Shelby inserted the insanely powerful 650hp engine from the GT40 that he had raced. That year Shelby demo’ed the car and showed people that a Mustang could hit 170mph. (I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable going that fast in an old ‘Stang) The 2008 version is a tad-bit different. First off lets talk about the engine, a 5.4L V8 with a twin-screw Kenne Bell supercharger cranking out over 724hp and over 600lb/ft of torque. (Take that Dodge with your measly 707hp Hellcat). The engine…is…beautiful. It’s attached to a 6 speed manual with fairly short throw and a fairly heavy clutch. The suspension is track-tuned at Shelby and could rattle your fillings out…that is if you are like me and hate going to the dentist. The final gear ratio is 3.73 which adds to the torque’yness of the car (which you don’t need more of) and the exhaust is a Borla catback exhaust that at idle would put your 4 year-old with ADHD to bed in 3.2seconds. The car also has random moments of carbon fiber. The side mirrors are wrapped in it, there is a front splitter that is carbon and a few other things on the car.
Next you have to get in the car and it’s clearly a Mustang. It’s not luxury but function. The seats and dash have Shelby’s name on them stitched in or in the case of the dash a silver plaque with the production number of the car and Shelby’s signature. The seats themselves are decent, just like a car that could outrun the bats leaving hell (in a straight line) might feel. The steering wheel has a nice feel, however it was a little loose feeling for a car with so much performance. The rest of the interior is pretty much the same as the former GT500 that it once was. There is a back seat…and yes you could put a car seat in the middle of it, if you so desired, not sure I would consider this the safest means of getting your child to daycare though.
OK enough about that, lets talk about the drive. My friend said get in, although I’m pretty sure I was sitting in the passenger seat, or at least in my mind I was waiting for him to ask. We drove around and all I could think was “This is the most powerful car I’ve ever been in”. All in all this car is worth close to $100,000 so I didn’t feel ok about asking my friend if I could drive it, instead he asked me and I’m sure I answered before the question finished exiting his mouth. So we pulled over and I got in the drivers seat.
The clutch was hefty and I had to work not to stall the car. There didn’t feel like there was any flywheel so as I was getting familiar with the car, each gear change our heads would bob forward and back, forward and back, like a gentle whip-lash over and over again. The car then began seducing me with it’s subtle super charged whine and deep bass growl. I looked over at my friend and asked if it was ok, he nodded so I went for it. First gear, petal down, clutch out, rev-limiter hit and I swear someone was swinging a cat under the hood. The super-charger is all you hear! First and second gear in this car is a joke, they are short and with the 3.73 ratio the wheels make what you might call a smokescreen. Third gear the car connected and I’m pretty sure I felt my brain telling my eyeballs (like siblings in the back seat) to stay on their side. I struggled to hold on to the steering wheel as we rocketed down the road. Each gear change brought more and more of the “cat-under-the-hood” sound and I’m not comfortable saying how fast we were going in mere seconds. I’ve driven powerful cars, I’ve driven fast and fun cars but I’ve never felt fear driving a car until this day. The power of this car is barely containable. The tires, although sticky Pirelli’s were no match for the torque of this power-plant. Just to give you context the car is capable of 0-60 times in 3.6-3.7 second range with 1/4mile times approaching 10seconds. I’m not sure how they got numbers like that, apparently they had the Stig driving to get the car connecting with the pavement, because I sure couldn’t approach those times from first or second gear.
Typically Mustangs aren’t known for their cornering and braking prowess. There are notable exceptions like the Mustang Laguna Seca but outside some serious enhancements you should be content to scream forward in a straight line. However this car could corner. You know that handle right above the door…there is a name for it…lets just call it the O’shi handle. Well apparently Carol Shelby has a sense of humor because this car didn’t have one, so as I raced around corners my friend desperately tried to find a way to steady himself in the seat and I was enjoying making it hard on him. There is no denying the car was heavy, so even with the larger slotted and cross drilled rotors and bigger calipers you felt the weight of the car, but it did stop fairly quickly. (A lot faster than my Toyota Corolla).
With all that said I had so much fun and I’m so grateful to my friend for letting me drive it. I think if you had $100,000 to drop on a car you might get more for your money buying something else but honestly this car was bonkers. I would venture a guess that if you threw four racing slicks on, it might be even more fun, that or the scariest car ever invented. To this day I haven’t been in, or driven another car that scared me and I don’t scare easily, especially when it comes to cars. The sad news was that the car was sold not long after I drove it, the good news was that eventually the car was replaced by a 2013 Mercedes SLS AMG…but that’s another post.
Here’s my summary:
Pros: If you need a smoke machine for your next halloween first gear in this car can provide although I think the tires might not last long enough for more then a couple kids getting candy at your door, it fits a car seat…one, very tightly, 0-60 in less then 4 seconds, .93g skid pad, 725+HP!!!, the details of the exterior are beautiful especially the small amount of carbon fiber.
Cons: gas milage, spine destroying suspension, seats can’t compete with the cornering forces, inside the car at speed the only thing you hear is the whine of the super-charger (which some of you might love but honestly I wanted to hear more growls from the 5.4L V8 I did include a sound bite though), no chance of cleaning vomit off these seats so momma make sure your kids have a bib on…scratch that just strap a bowl under their chin every time you go out in this car.
Now about that SLS AMG…
Here is a soundbyte of the super charger