You'd think most sane individuals would be satisfied with 500 hp, especially in the new Shelby GT500. The car already provides exceptional handling, legendary styling, and comfort. For those who desire more, Shelby will offer the '08 GT500KR with 40 more horsepower and a few extras for that needed exclusivity.
Sanity isn't an option for some. Shelby Automobiles has put together a performance package to convert already purchased '07-'08 Shelby GT500s into fire-breathing Super Snakes for those who aren't satisfied with a mere 500-and-something horsepower. If 600 hp from the basic package still isn't enough, Shelby can turn the wick all the way up to 725 hp. It's the wildest thing from the company since Paxton supercharged GT350s and 427-powered GT500s in the '60s.
In fact, the 427-powered GT500 inspired the name for Shelby's Super Snake package. In 1967, Shelby American built a single 427-powered GT500 Super Snake for Mel Burns Ford as a prototype for possible production. Carroll Shelby drove it at the Goodyear test track for a tire promotion, and the car reached a top speed of 170 mph. Unfortunately, the anticipated retail price of $7,500-about the same as a 427 Cobra-was deemed too expensive.
The new package is also pricey, coming in at $27,995, about the same as a well-equipped '07 Mustang GT. For the money, owners of limited edition GT500s get more exclusivity and performance, up to 725 hp. Beginning in late summer this year, Shelby Automobiles began updating a limited number of post-title GT500s to Super Snake status at the company's Las Vegas facility. Each car is documented and receives a special serial number.
Working with Ford Racing, Team Shelby developed the Super Snake package with an aggressive suspension and engine package. Tuning options range from 600 to 725 hp, although the top tweaking option isn't warranted. Handling is enhanced with Ford Racing's Handling Pack, including lowering springs, revised struts and shocks, and tuned stabilizer bars. Braking is also upgraded with Baer six-piston calipers and cross-drilled, vented rotors, which are visible through the 20-inch Shelby-design Alcoa wheels. Round openings in the lower grille duct cool air to the front brakes, while scoops underneath the car cool the rear brakes.
There's also plenty of Super Snake identification, from the striping and badges to the carbon-composite hood with KR-like scoops and hot-air extractor vents. The prototype, which debuted during the Mid-America Ford Performance and Shelby Meet last June, didn't have functional ram-air. Shelby Automobiles Vice-President of Operations Gary Patterson pointed out that the production Super Snake hood will funnel cooler outside air to the air cleaner box through a channel in the hood.
Although the full Super Snake package (see sidebar) is available exclusively through Shelby Automobiles, many of the components that make up the package are available separately from Shelby Automobiles and Ford Racing.
Shelby summed up the car: "The Shelby GT500 is fast, but hardcore enthusiasts asked us for a way to make their Shelbys a more aggressive, balanced track car. Our Super Snake package turns a stock GT500 into one of the fastest, most balanced, and most fearsome musclecars in the world. I'm going to hunt Vipers and Corvettes with mine."