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CAMPING IN A 2020 FORD MUSTANG SHELBY GT500, FOR SCIENCE

The GT500 Makes For An Ultimate Grand Touring Car, But Can You Comfortably Sleep In It?

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Photo Credit: Manoli Katakis, Muscle Cars & Trucks

It was 12:30 AM last Friday. Saturday, technically. It was at that time that I just said “screw it, I’m sleeping in the Mustang.” I just didn’t want to put up with setting up my Marmot tent in the dark on the middle of what was once the tarmac of a B-52 bomber base. Not that I haven’t done it a dozen times before. But the curiosity of what it would be like to get 8 hours of sleep in a Race Red 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 took hold.

At first, I just reclined the two-tone Recaro leather seat. It didn’t fold back all that much, and it felt like I was trying to catch a nap on the window seat of an airplane on the way to Europe (hey, remember flying?). That kind of role play isn’t what I’m looking for at this time, however. So, my self-preserving reptilian brain began to think of ways to improve this experiment. I slid the Recaro fronts all the way forward, and spilled myself into the back seats – notoriously small in pony cars, you probably know. I attempted to seek comfort around the confines of the impressively deep rear seat buckets and narrowing walls, but it proved to be too much for my stocky frame. The tent definitely seemed like a better idea than this.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Camping
Might as well be the Four Seasons.

Then I remembered something. The rear seat pass-through! With the rear seats folded down, and the 13.5 cu-ft. trunk empty of stuff it could, maybe, give me the sleeping space I’m looking for. And if it didn’t, well, there’s always the insurance of the Marmot just outside with a pile of camping gear.

Eureka! Coupled with my inflatable sleeping pad along with a couple of pillows, an overnight slumber in the 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 turned out to be one of the better rests I’ve had on an empty airfield. The sound-proofing of the cabin also helped muffle the sound of the C-Mod drivers warming up their engines at the crack of dawn. They’re like roosters, but worse.

My colleagues even made note of my lack of grogginess compared to past autocross events. I suppose that points to the experiment of sleeping in the GT500 a success. Although, I wouldn’t recommend it for anybody taller than 5’9″.

Did this rest help me secure a win in the Super Stock class during Saturday’s double header? Yes, but then again, I was the only entry.

Photo Credit: Neil Britton, Muscle Cars & Trucks

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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