2015-17 Shelby GTE
By Donald Farr
In 2007, Shelby and Ford partnered to produce the Shelby GT. This pre-title Mustang was built at Shelby headquarters in Las Vegas and sold through Ford dealers as a follow-up to the hugely popular 2006 Shelby GT-H for Hertz.
Fast-forward to 2015. With a new and improved S550 Mustang boasting retro styling and independent rear suspension, Shelby American recognized the opportunity to bring back the Shelby GT concept as a post-title Shelby GTE, available not only for the 5.0L-powered GT, but also for the new EcoBoost model with turbocharged 2.3L power. The base GTE package provided an entry-level path to a genuine Shelby Mustang; available options allowed buyers to tailor their performance goals all the way up to more than 750 supercharged horsepower along with track-ready suspension and braking systems.
As a post-title build, owners of GT or EcoBoost Mustangs delivered their cars to the Shelby American factory in Las Vegas for the Shelby GTE upgrade. Externally, the Shelby-designed GTE hood added a muscular “power dome” and four functional NACA-style vents, similar to the 1969-70 Shelbys; the pair of front ducts funnel cooler outside air into the engine compartment while the rear vents extracted warm air. Unique upper and lower grilles contributed to the Shelby look, along with a Ford Performance front splitter, Shelby rocker panels and a rear spoiler. Side and over-the-top LeMans stripes completed the exterior mods. Inside, the GTE received backlit Shelby door sill plates, headrest covers, and floor mats, along with a serialized dash plaque.
Building on the S550 Mustang’s already impressive performance attributes, Shelby American turned to OEM-designed power improvements from Ford Performance’s Power Packs. For the Mustang GT’s 5.0L Coyote V8, a cold-air intake, 87mm throttle body, and special ECM calibration provided 456 horsepower, a 21-horsepower improvement over the factory 435 rating. Likewise, the EcoBoost four-cylinder gained a 25 peak horsepower gain—up to 335 from the factory 310—with a cold-air intake kit and performance calibration. Both 5.0L and EcoBoost GTEs benefitted from a Ford Performance high-flow exhaust system for less back-pressure and a more muscular sound.
To put a little “road race” into the GTE’s handling capabilities, Shelby American technicians installed Ford Performance’s Handling Pack with high-performance front struts and rear shocks, lowering springs, and stiffer sway bars. Ford Performance wheels measuring 19x9-inch at the front and 19x9½-inch at the rear mounted Shelby-spec performance tires.
As Shelby American’s Gary Patterson noted, the Shelby GTE was a great “launching pad” for even more street and track capability. “If you can dream it, we can build it,” he said.
The GTE’s option list proved his point, starting with a pair of available supercharger upgrades for 5.0L-powered cars. A Ford Performance blower pushed horsepower to 670, while a Kenne-Bell version boosted output to over 750.
GTE owners looking for weekend fun on the race track could choose from track-ready brakes, higher performing suspension, improved cooling system, short-throw shifter, twin-disc clutch, one-piece driveshaft, and forged Shelby wheels. Rear axle options included 3.55:1 or 3.73:1 gearing in a Wavetrac differential. All body components—hood, rockers, mirror caps, spoiler, rear diffuser, and splitter—were available in carbon-fiber with either a high-tech raw finish or painted body color. For the GTE interior, Shelby offered upgraded seating upholstery, a multi-gauge cluster, rear seat delete and a light bar for the convertible.
“The Shelby GTE can be tailored for the road or the track,” said Patterson. “Or even both. With our full range of Shelby performance parts, the possibilities are endless.”