The Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is one of the most extreme muscle cars ever made, both in performance and design. It’s differentiated from the standard Mustang more than any other Shelby in recent years. Thanks to a recent interview from Motor1 with GT500 designer Chris Stevens, we can see how the design progressed through development.
Stevens’ sketch is clearly the Mustang Shelby GT500, with many of his elements carrying over to the production car, even through the dramatic proportions. First, the characteristic grille with the black panel in between the sections, and slatted hood vent originated in his sketch. You can also see the pre-facelift headlights, central Cobra badge, and lower side air intakes are kept. The rear wing from the carbon track pack is seen in the original sketch, even if it got smaller for production.
In their interview with Stevens, Motor1 uncovered more information on how Ford’s most extreme Mustang goes into production from the design side of things. Stevens said many of the designers were asked to create a sketch, and described the process as, “almost like The Bachelor.” If your ideas were liked, you got to stay on the project. It seems Stevens definitely got the rose quite a few times. A later sketch, pictured below, shows his original design closer to production.
The overall idea for the GT500 was that it needed to look powerful. The team set up an early clay model next to a standard Mustang GT and a Shelby GT350, and the GT500 needed to look more intimidating. Anyone should be able to see it has more power going up the line.
From Stevens’ original sketch to the car’s reveal, six years of hard work went by. Overall, we are very happy with how it turned out. It’s unmistakable as a Mustang, but different to any Mustang in the lineup. It’s a fantastic design, and interesting to see where it all started.