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Mustang Shelby GT500 Debuts in Monterey

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On a bright, sunny day in Monterey, California, thousands of car buffs, racers, speculators, restoration hounds, and even locals walked the popular Bayonet Black Horse Golf Course to oogle at hundreds of spectacular cars. With Italian companies providing the majority of the vehicles (via their owners), it was initially a bit surprising to see Tom Dupont, Publisher and Chairman of duPont Publishing beckon an American car onto the stage in front of a throng of eager spectators. And this wasn’t just any American car – it was a Mustang just like the Revology Mustangs. In fact, it wasn’t just any Mustang, either. It was the new 2007 Mustang Shelby GT 500. Ford used the Concorso Italiano as the setting for the car’s official unveiling.

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DuPont spoke with GT 500 chief Hau Thai-Tang on stage about the new car. “The Mustang is a remarkable car,” Tai-Tang remarked. “For around forty thousand dollars, you get a car with five hundred horsepower.” To the cheers of the crowd, Thai-Tang got into the car and drove it off the stage, its powerful motor burbling in the wake of Ferraris, Lamborginis, and Lancias.

VehicleVoice contributor David Barrett caught up with both Thai-Tang and PR Honcho John Clinard to talk about the new car. “It’s not your everyday Mustang,” Thai-Tang said. “I really had a great time guiding this project to fruition. Ford got the best of the best together and this new GT 500 is the result.
Clinard echoed Thai-Tang’s comments. “This Mustang is perhaps as exciting to some people as a Ferrari might be,” he said. “It’s wonderful to drive on a daily basis, but it also puts the power down.” (Barrett spoke with Formula One Test Driver Ricardo Zonta the next morning and when asked what car besides his Formula One Toyota he’s like to drive, he said without hesitation, “The Mustang.” ED)


The Ford website will tell you all about the new Shelby GT 500, but there are some interesting bits that go beyond the specs and building your own car online. As it turns out Carroll Shelby himself has a lot to do with the design of the new car. “Shelby was very involved,” Thai-Tang remarked. “It’s really great to have him back with Ford, creating special cars like this – there will be more to come as well.
Thai-Tang himself is a bit of a story. He joined Ford in 1988 and held posts with Ford Racing as part of the company’s CART (now called Champ Car) program. He worked on the development of Nigel Mansell’s and Mario Andretti’s race cars.
After that, he was the Mustang Vehicle engineering manager, leading development of the 2001 Mustang GT, Cobra, and Bullitt GT models. And now, that experience is being applied to the new Shelby GT 500. Is Thai-Tang proud? “Well,” he says with a grin, “my position has caused some envy among my friends. They can’t believe I get paid for this.
Stay tuned for our next video podcast – it will feature the new Mustang and interviews with Ford’s Clinard and Thai-Tang. You can view a video short-clip at YouTube now.
We thought you might like to see a bit more of the Mustang, so we’ve put together a photo gallery of the Mustang.
In addition, check back over the course of the next few days and check out our Monterey Photo Book.

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