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The Shelby GT500 Convertible Didn’t Happen Because It Wouldn’t Be Stiff Enough

As you’re well aware, the S197-generation Shelby GT500 did come as a convertible. The S550, however, wasn’t allowed to because “a convertible doesn’t have the type of stiffness in its chassis and body that it needs to.”
Ford Mustang Shelby 500 in Grabber Lime 79 photos
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Those words come from Dave Pericak by way of Ford Authority, who rebaptized the director of Enterprise Product Line Management at Ford Icons as Pericack. “Could we do it? Sure. Is it something that would be durable over time? No. Nor would it handle the way it would need to handle, because you just don’t have the stiffness that you’d need,” he told the cited publication. Looking at the bigger picture, there are some things left unsaid.

For starters, hacking the roof off the Shelby GT500 wouldn’t be financially sound based on the sales figures of the supercharged V8-engined muscle car. Mustang deliveries in 2021 totaled 52,414 units in the United States, which is a drop in the bucket as opposed to the days of the S197. In 2007, the first year of the S197 Shelby GT500, deliveries totaled 134,626 units.

But most importantly, why would the Ford Motor Company even bother? Look at Dodge and the Challenger, which was never offered as a convertible since its third-generation revival for the 2008 model year on the LX-derived LC platform that integrates a few Mercedes-Benz bits and bobs.

If Dodge is capable of selling so many Challengers with nothing more than powerful V8s from the HEMI family of engines, why would the Dearborn-based automaker pony up millions of dollars to develop a canvas-topped Mustang Shelby GT500 that few people would even consider buying? It simply doesn’t make sense in this SUV- and electric vehicle-driven epoch.

Prior to his current role, Dave Pericak served as global director at Ford Performance (2014 - 2017) and S550 chief engineer (2008 - 2014).

 
 
 
 
 

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