Carbon fiber was once limited to the most exotic of supercars. But as the material has become more common over time, its strong and lightweight properties are trickling down into more attainable vehicles and parts. But surprisingly, Ford is one of the only brands to ever use carbon fiber in wheels, first seen on the Mustang Shelby GT350R. Here, they were actually the first mass-produced carbon fiber wheels. Since then, only a few supercars and hypercars have used them, including Ford’s own GT. Ford remains one of the only mainstream manufacturers to use carbon fiber wheels, today on the Mustang Shelby GT500, and their rarity and expense is on full display in replacement costs.
On Ford’s parts website, a replacement Mustang Shelby GT500 carbon fiber front wheel lists at $4,490.74 at dealer costs, and a $6,237.13 MSRP. For a rear wheel, it’s even more with a dealer cost of $5,051.39 at dealer costs, and a whopping $7,015.82 MSRP.
Carbon fiber rims are known to shatter on occasion. In fact, news just broke in the automotive sphere a few days ago of a destroyed GT500 carbon rim. For that unlucky owner, yes, they will need to spend over $7,000 to replace their wheel. Your typical wheel usually retails at a three figure number. Hopefully this astronomical cost helps justify the $18,000 S550 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Carbon Track Pack option, which includes these wheels.
Still, these carbon fiber wheels bring a number of benefits that justify the cost, mainly from weight savings. CarbonRevolution, the Australian manufacturer that produces carbon wheels for Ford, Renault and Ferrari currently, says they weigh between 40 to 60 percent less than a high performance aluminum wheel. Because there is less energy needed to move the wheels, the vehicle can accelerate faster. Furthermore, removing unsprung weight allows for the suspension to react more quickly, improving handling, ride and steering feel. Finally, with less weight, braking is improved.
How tangible those benefits are over the standard Mustang Shelby GT500 wheels are can only be described by someone who has driven both. But no matter what, it’s clear you never want to be in the position of needing to buy a new one. It’s worth mentioning you don’t want to blow your GT500’s Predator engine either, as that’ll cost you about $26,000 to replace.
Considering the out-of-pocket expenses to replace all of these expensive components on the radical muscle car, the ability of the S550 GT500 to surpass $100,000 really isn’t all that surprising.