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2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500; photo by Paul Williams. Click image to enlarge

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Ford Motor Company of Canada

By Paul Williams

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2013 Ford Mustang

Los Angeles, California – Legendary motorsports personality Carroll Shelby was on hand to launch the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 at the Los Angeles Auto Show this year, predictably describing the new car as “the best Mustang yet.”

Granted, he has a bias, but you don’t get your name on the flagship Mustang for nothing, so he has a right, too. Over the years the Shelby name has legitimately come to represent horsepower, high performance, and winning, and Ford is lucky to have such a credible ambassador for their ultimate Mustang.

That’s how the GT500 is billed — the ultimate Mustang — and it’s hard to imagine future versions exceeding the 2013 Shelby GT500′s 650-horsepower and top speed of 320 km/h. A colleague tells me that these are the same performance numbers of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Roush Mustang as driven by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., so it’s ironic, exciting and maybe a bit scary that you can drive such a vehicle straight off the showroom floor. At least, you will be able to, next year.

Preview: 2013 Ford Mustang reviews car previews ford
2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Click image to enlarge

The 2013 Shelby GT500 is powered by an aluminum 5.8-litre supercharged V8 engine that combines 600 pound-feet of torque with its 650 hp, and Ford identifies this engine as the most powerful production V8 in the world.

The 2013 engine and drivetrain feature a larger supercharger, cross-drilled block and heads, updated camshaft profiles, a carbon-fibre driveshaft, along with an upgraded clutch, transmission and axle.

It is also fitted with downforce-generating front grilles, a new quad exhaust system and a choice between two new forged aluminum wheels. Also new for 2013 is an optional Performance Package (why not?) with SVT-designed Bilstein electronic adjustable dampers and a Torsen limited slip differential. This option can be combined with a track package that further enhances vehicle dynamics.

Complementing the 2013 Shelby GT500, the 2013 Boss 302 debuted at Los Angeles with mainly appearance changes for this model year. Reflective graphics, new School Bus Yellow paint with Sterling Gray accents on the Boss Laguna Seca, and standard SYNC connectivity are the most obvious changes.

Preview: 2013 Ford Mustang reviews car previews ford
2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302; photo by Paul Williams. Click image to enlarge

The reflective graphics refer to the original 1970 Boss 302 and the yellow paint honours race driver Parnelli Jones’ 1979 Trans-Am championship car developed by Bud Moore.

“Last year, we proved the car had what it takes to perform, and this year we focused on enhancing its eye-catching looks and celebrating its history,” said Dave Pericak, Mustang chief engineer.

As with the full 2013 Mustang line-up, the Boss 302 wears a more prominent grille, although it adds functional hood extractors and signature lighting that includes HID headlamps and LED-surround taillamps. The 2013 Boss also features removable covers in the grille where foglamps would normally be situated. For improved cooling at the track, the covers can be removed with a screwdriver.

At the rear, a high-gloss back panel connects the tail lights, which this year feature a “smoked” appearance.

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