DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. will ratchet up both the horsepower and the 1960s vibe of the redesigned Mustang when it brings out its next Cobra model in 2006.
The 2007 Ford Shelby Cobra GT500 will go on sale next summer. Engineered by Ford's Special Vehicle Team, it is powered by a supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 producing at least 450 hp. That horsepower number may be tweaked upward as the GT500 approaches launch, Ford product chief Phil Martens said.
The new Mustang will mark the return of SVT products to the market after a two-year absence. Ford last sold an SVT Cobra during the 2004 model year.
"We've never abandoned our spirit of SVT," said Martens, Ford group vice president of product creation. "And we've got something now built on the backbone of Mustang."
Ford unveiled the Shelby Cobra GT500 last week at the New York auto show.
Though the next Cobra will carry SVT badges on the car, Ford is dropping SVT from its official name. Instead, the automaker will pay homage to the redesigned Mustang's 1960s styling by reviving the Shelby name. Ford sold 14,559 high-performance Shelby Mustangs during the car's early days before ending production in 1970.
Ford has sold around 7,500 Cobras annually in recent years. Officials expect volume of the Shelby Cobra GT500 to remain near that level. Pricing will be around $40,000, Martens said. He said the SVT Mustangs deliver a significant profit margin to Ford.
Unlike recent SVT Cobras boasting independent rear suspensions, the 2007 Shelby Cobra GT500 retains the solid rear axle of the base Mustang. Martens said independent rear suspension would have weighed the car down with an extra 180 pounds.
The GT500 will be the first in a series of specialty Mustangs to be engineered by SVT. Subsequent special editions are likely to use other Mustang heritage names such as Bullitt and Mach.
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