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[power update] 2008 Ford Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500KR

Ford and Shelby Automobiles will soon launch the 2008 Shelby GT500KR -- the most powerful Mustang to date. Inspired by the 1968 Shelby Cobra GT500KR, this "King of the Road" was originally slated to have 540 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque, but today Ford announced that the GT500KR will have 550 horsepower. No reason was given for the power increase.



Power is delivered to the rear wheels through a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission and 3.73:1 rear axle ratio, upgraded from the standard GT500's 3.31:1. Gear selection is courtesy of an all-new Ford Racing short-throw shifter making its debut on the KR. Topped with a white ball, the new shifter is 25 percent shorter than the unit on the GT500 providing for crisper, sharper shifts.

Ford SVT, Ford Racing and Team Shelby worked together to develop the KR's suspension tuning. Based on initial work by Ford Racing and the team at Shelby, often at Shelby's own facility on the grounds of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Ford SVT chassis engineers will apply fine tuning techniques to prepare it for the streets.

"The production Shelby GT500 was maximized to deliver the perfect balance between ride and handling," said Jamal Hameedi, chief nameplate engineer, Ford SVT. "In that same ride versus handling continuum, the KR will lean heavier towards all-out handling while still making it drivable on the street."

40 years later

The original 1968 Shelby Cobra GT500KR was also a mid-year introduction, based on the 1968 Shelby GT500. Ford added "˜Cobr' to the Shelby's moniker to help "usher in the beginning of a new performance era" at the company. The Cobra name referred to the new 428 Cobra Jet V-8 that was planted under the KR's custom fiberglass hood.

Ford conservatively rated the 428 CJ at 335-horsepower, but in reality it made more than 400-horsepower and 440 pounds-feet of torque. The KR model was also equipped with a modified suspension and was offered both in fastback and convertible models. Ford dealers sold 1,570 GT500KR models in 1968, 1053 fastbacks and 517 convertibles.