If there’s one name that’s been synonymous with the Ford Mustang since the original generation, it’s “Shelby.” And with the debut and impending production launch of the 7th-generation model, the S650, there’s expectation that a new Shelby Mustang will show itself one way or the other. But the question remains: will it come from Ford Performance first? Or Shelby American? With the latest spy photos, we may have our first clue.
Published on Motor Trend, the spy photos show Vince LaViolette, Shelby American’s Vice President of Production and Chief Test Driver, under the hood of a heavily camouflaged S650 Ford Mustang prototype. This could indicate that Shelby American is already busy developing a superpowered Mustang with the cooperation of Ford itself – a unique collaboration that Ford has with its authorized performance partners to be sure. Chances are that Shelby has implemented the assistance of forced induction under the hood – likely a supercharger – and bolted it to the top of the fourth-generation 5.0L Coyote V8 engine.
This arrangement doesn’t appear to be that unique to Shelby American, either. Vaughn Gittin Jr.’s RTR Performance also had a visit from the 2024 Ford Mustang recently, too. And you can bet that Roush Performance has had a close-up look to the new muscle car, too.
While there’s some speculation that this S650 Mustang prototype is an upcoming Shelby GT350, Shelby GT500, or another variant such as the revival of the Boss 302 or a new Mach 1, there’s little to assume this. For one, it’s the same bodystyle as the 2024 Ford Mustang GT and Dark Horse. Meaning it’s not the widebody that we tend to see with the next-level variants that come from Ford Performance.
So, when can we expect this new Ford Mustang variant from Shelby American? We at least have to wait until the official version is available in dealerships first. From there, we could see Shelby pull the sheet off this thing by the 2023 SEMA Show in November, or sooner. In the meantime, we’ll be keeping our eyes and ears open for upcoming Ford Performance variants that follow the 2024 Mustang GT and Dark Horse in the coming months.