I also posted this on another forum…so hopefully it’s allowed…
I was driving down the road in my 2017 Mustang GT Premium when I saw a used GT350 sitting in a dealer’s parking lot. Intrigued, I went in, took it for a test drive and was smitten. As much as I liked the car, it just wasn’t the right car for me. But in looking, my decision that it was time for an upgrade was made.
I then looked at the Mach 1’s. It seemed like it offered everything I wanted. My grandfather also owned a Mach 1 years ago so I thought buying one of my own would be a cool way to honor his memory. However, in looking further at the specs, and its lack of availability, I thought perhaps my perceived need for an upgrade should extend further.
In February 2021, I began my research on what has long been my dream car, the GT500. When I was a kid, my grandfather bought me a book on classic cars. I spent more time studying the Shelby Mustangs than any other vehicle. In looking at my pocketbook, the GT 500 was stretch but within reach. I used Ford’s inventory tool to see what was available in my area. One local dealer had a “golden ticket” so I stopped in for a look. I was quickly rebuffed when I realized the golden ticket did not have a rear seat (I have kids). In addition, the dealer wanted a whopping $40K over MSRP…and they weren’t budging. I thought they were insane and walked out.
I then expanded my search to various zip codes throughout the southwest and reaching out to dealers about their inventory. Unfortunately, the vehicles they had on order or in stock weren’t quite what I was looking for, though one Denver dealer had a car that was close. That car had painted stripes (a $10K option I didn’t want) and they still wanted $20K over MSRP.
I continued my search and one day Ford’s website indicated the dealer where I bought my 2017 had a dealer order for a 2021 GT 500: Oxford White, Kona Blue vinyl stripes, tech pack, handling pack, and carbon fiber dash. All the options I wanted, none that I didn’t. The color being a perfect throwback to the Shelby GT350 in the classic car book I used to study.
I called the sales manager. He confirmed the order had been placed but due to shutdowns he had no idea on when he would get the car. The car was supposed to go into production in late March. I told him I wanted to buy the car. He said he would charge me $10K over MSRP. That being the best deal I could find anyway, I said “deal.” I put down a deposit.
The sales manager kept me informed as inevitable delays occurred and we finally got word that the car was produced and on track for delivery at the end of July.
On July 19th I got the call. My car had arrived.
I immediately left work and went to the dealer to see my dream car in real life. It was still covered in plastic and had not been cleaned up. The Ford website shows the Kona Blue being relatively light in color, but it is closer to navy blue. I knew that going in, but the vinyl stripes looked almost black, depending on the angle of the sun. Still, it was an awesome sight.
The sales manager grabbed the keys and we opened it up. I sat in the driver’s seat and was immediately…underwhelmed. Having met my hero, I realized the interior was remarkably like my 2017 GT Premium. To be sure the carbon fiber dash was a nice touch as were the analogue gauges on the center of the console, but I initially thought I had made a huge mistake…paying a huge sum of money for basically the same car on the inside.
My disappointment was immediately set aside as a glanced out the windshield and saw the hood. It concealing the beast of engine hiding underneath. Then I knew…this car would be special.
I started the car and even in delivery mode I could tell a stark difference in the sound. Glorious. The rumble upon start, the revs, the whine…it was all there to let me know I made the right choice. The sales manager walked me through the exhaust modes. Each mode revealing another level of this car’s potential. He said, “It’s okay…give it some gas.” Afraid of getting out of hand, I gently pushed the gas to hear the engine rev. And it was perfect. Even though I only got it to about 3,000 rpm’s before letting up.
The dealer had work to do, and I had a trip to take so I left the car in their capable hands to clean it up, install the handling pack and add the Kona Blue side stripes that I had ordered.
When I got back from my trip, the car was ready for me to pick up. Being that I was already familiar with Mustangs the delivery process didn’t take long. The biggest difference in the 2021 model and my 2017 model was getting the Ford Pass app set up.
After my orientation, I was on my way.
If you’re a parent, you know how perilous your first drive home from the hospital is with your newborn. Driving my new 2021 Shelby GT500 away from the dealer provided a similar feeling. Danger was everywhere. Other cars in the rush hour traffic were getting too close, even if they weren’t. I needed some space. I was soon on the freeway and put 100 miles on it my first drive. I kept the revs down during the initial drive, though I was tempted by all the drive mode options to gun it a few times. In the end I behaved myself.
In the month or so I have had this car I have put just over 500 miles on it. Every single one of the miles have been a complete joy, whether I am stuck in traffic on my commute or being on the freeway with clear space ahead of me.
This car is fast. And it gets fast so quickly and so smoothly you may hardly notice it. The transmission is so quick and smooth that if it weren’t for the exhaust note changing, you wouldn’t know it is cycling through the 7 speed dual clutch transmission. Because the car is so effortless, I being a novice, don’t appreciate how fast this thing accelerates
I haven’t had the opportunity to do much testing of its handling as all my driving has been either a slow roll commute to work or on the relatively straight freeway.
I am still playing with the modes in creating the “my mode” feature. So far, my favorite is sport mode, with normal suspension and track exhaust. I haven’t turned on the stereo yet, and couldn’t tell you if it works as I would rather listen to the engine make its way up and down the gears.
Because I am still in the break in period, I must behave myself, but it is hard not to show off what the car is capable of while taking various family members out for a drive. I have had it up to the red line once and full throttle more than a few times but only briefly. Even as brief as those full throttle instances have been the car gets to triple digits in a hurry.
I’ve only had the car out about a dozen times but have had a few interesting interactions. On my initial drive after taking delivery, I had a guy on a crotch rocket pass me like I was standing still, even though I was going about 80 mph. After he blew past me, he looked back and gave me a big thumbs up. Another guy rolled down his window as I was passing him to give me a big thumbs up.
Some d*ckhead in a Dodge Ram moved over into the fast lane in front of me and slowed way down before he started rolling coal right in front of me.
The best conversation I have had was with a city worker at a park, when I had the car parked near where he was working. He was a big Mustang fan and knew his stuff.
I haven’t been challenged but yesterday I had a guy in a BMW M5 pull along side of me. He bucked his car like he wanted to see me go. We obliged each other in testing just how quick our cars could get up to speed. His being no match at accelerating on a roll. It was fun to see him in my rear-view mirror with ease. When we were done, we each gave each other a friendly waive.
Once while on a joy ride showing the car off to my brother-in-law, we came to stop under a bridge. One of the fun features of the car is that you can pull back on the paddle shifters, putting the car in a neutral mode. Well, I rolled down the windows, having already had the car in track exhaust mode, I pulled back on the paddle shifters and pressed the accelerator. The track exhaust being amplified under the bridge let out an incredible note. All of sudden, I saw a homeless guy pop his head up from behind a concrete barrier and throw his hands in the air, letting me know his displeasure. I yelled an apology at him from across the road and went on my way when the light turned green.
I get the most head turns in the early morning while dropping off my daughter at school. It’s probably the best part of my day.
While I have relatively brief experience driving this super car, it has provided me with some of the most fun I have ever had. This car was and is my dream car and I have not been disappointed. I am looking forward to learning more about the car, and how to handle its horsepower better. I look forward to my track day, but it will probably wait until spring. If you want to know more, give me a shout or follow on IG and/or Reddit (same name as here). Thanks for reading.