How Much Does Owning a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Actually Cost?

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 29 photos
Photo: Edmunds Cars
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If the only thing you can afford to do in this economy is to dream about owning a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, then maybe a short reality check about how much it costs to upkeep will cure what ails ya.
On the other hand, who are we kiddin'? Waking up in the early morning hours to take a short trip to your garage or driveway, only to see such a magnificent specimen getting caressed by the orange summer glow of the sun, is something poems are made of. But poetry aside, let's see what it takes to maintain a California-plated 2020 Shelby GT500, according to the nice folks from Edmunds Cars that drove this thing to an inch of its life more than a few times.

When they bought it in January 2020, they paid $81,280, although the base MSRP at the time was $71,395. Other cars from its weight class were also on the shopping list, like the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE and Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye Widebody, but the Shelby came out on top.

It has a 5.2-liter V8 that produces 760 hp with 625 lb-ft (847 Nm) of torque. That power is sent to the rear wheels only via the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The Shelby comes with the Technology package which costs an extra $3,000 for things like the upgraded "stereo," blind-spot monitoring, heated mirrors, and all that jazz.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Photo: Edmunds Cars
The Recaro front bucket seats were another $1,595, and the Handling Pack cost an extra $1,500. The insult to injury was the gas-guzzler tax "worth" $2,600. Add all these up and you end up paying a hair more than $81k.

As far as real-world fuel consumption goes, after driving 26,513 miles (42,668 km), the lifetime average rate is 13.6 mpg (17.30 L/100km). Its best was 21.6 mpg, or almost 11 Liters/100km, only because the cruise control was set to 70 mph or 113 kph. The longest range with a full tank was 314.5 miles or 506 kilometers.

At the track, it's an entirely different story. Starting with a full tank, each 30-minute session or 60 miles left the Mustang with only two gallons, meaning the fuel consumption was somewhere around a whopping 4.5 mpg or 52.26 liters per 100 kilometers.

An oil change is north of $200 a pop, but the biggest issue isn't necessarily the price but the downtime. Because some dealer services only have a Shelby GT500 technician available at a time, sometimes you'll forgo your car even for 48 hours for a run-of-the-mill oil change. If you have to change the rear axle fluid after the recommended 500 miles on track, that's 389 bucks. It's $900 to change the transmission fluid filter alone, aside from the $1,327 for the part itself. The last two services put the Ford out of commission for three days.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Photo: Edmunds Cars
Also, if you fancy drag racing, a new set of tires will run you $1,000. In some cases, you can even end up paying $1,500 a wheel, especially if you order them from Galpin Ford in North Hills, California. Oh, and it's an extra 50 bucks to swap them there. This ride spent 40 days out of service, and it's important to clarify that it's not because it's faulty.

After all was said and done, the total cost of routine maintenance was $2,451, with an additional $6,276 for other upkeep costs. Suffice it to say that owning a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 for four years isn't exactly your typical Mustang experience.

Initially, the boys from Edmunds were extremely skeptical about buying this venomous snake, especially in bright Twister Orange with a black-painted roof that together cost $1,190. However, at the cusp of parting with the Shelby after driving it more than once to its absolute limits, they can't praise it enough. You can tell they're not ready to say their goodbyes, but honestly, who would be after so many wonderful experiences?

All the editors spoke with large grins when describing how unique the GT500 feels when it accelerates, grips, shifts gears, brakes, turns, and sounds. From their heartfelt testimony, you can almost feel how much fun you could have with a Shelby on a circuit, not to mention during one of their U-drag races. It's a muscle car at its heart but behaves like a sports car. Ford didn't design it just to keep up with its rivals down the straight quarter-mile but also forged it to be driven properly around corners.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Photo: Edmunds Cars
While it more than holds its own down the quarter-mile, it also lost its fair share of races. Under Edmunds' stewardship, it challenged exemplary opponents like the Mustang Mach 1, Dodge Challenger Hellcat, BMW M4 Competition, Tesla Model Y, BMW M8, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Porsche 911 Carrera, and more.

There's also a great Grand Tour episode (Season 3, Ep. 1) on Amazon's Prime Video streaming service where Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May race muscle cars in an abandoned part of Detroit.

Hammond picked an 840-hp Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, while May drove a 1,000-hp Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 appropriately named the Hennessey Exorcist, to rival the Dodge Demon. Naturally, Jeremy Clarkson went with the 720-hp Ford Mustang RTR Spec 3 equipped with a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 powerplant. In case anyone was wondering, the "RTR" stands for Ready to Rock. The episode is an absolute riot and shouldn't be missed by any muscle car enthusiast.

With a new and hopeful beginning, there's always an ending on the opposite side of the spectrum. In our case, the loud, roaring V8s are slowly but surely fading into the gentle night, but while they're still with us, we should take every opportunity and revel in their glory, especially when we're talking about legendary American muscle cars like the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Charger or, Challenger, and so on.

While the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is still alive and kicking, a newer, more powerful model is coming out of the company's gates. The all-new 2024 Shelby Super Snake (S650) has an astounding Gen 4 Ford Coyote 5.0-liter V8 powerplant aided by a 3.0-liter Whipple supercharger with over 830 hp on tap, as Shelby American claims. All that power comes at a price, starting from $160,000. The catch is that only 250 units will be made in the United States.

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About the author: Codrin Spiridon
Codrin Spiridon profile photo

Codrin just loves American classics, from the 1940s and ‘50s, all the way to the muscle cars of the '60s and '70s. In his perfect world, we'll still see Hudsons and Road Runners roaming the streets for years to come (even in EV form, if that's what it takes to keep the aesthetic alive).
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